India readies troops as Pakistan rattles arms across the border

India border
Tension today prevailed along the India, Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir where Army was on alert after repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops.

Reportedly, Pakistan is mobilising its troops along the border as well as cancelling all leave of its soldiers, indicating almost the highest level of war preparedness.

"The borderline with Pakistan is tense. But the situation is under control (along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir)", an Army official said today.

The level of tension has increased after Pakistani troops violated ceasefire continuously and also closed the gates for cross-LoC trade yesterday. The Army is maintaining utmost vigilance along the borderline with Pakistan, he said, adding troops have been asked to remain alert round-the-clock.

"There was no ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border this morning," Defence spokesman Col R K Palta said.

However, Pakistan troops had violated ceasefire and fired mortars shells and small arms on Indian posts along LoC in Krishnagati sector of Poonch district from 5 pm to 9.30 pm yesterday, the spokesman said.

Indian troops guarding the borderline effectively retaliated resulting in exchanges, he said, adding that there was no casualty or injury to any one in the firing on the Indian side.

Pakistani troops had fired at nine posts -- Chatri, Atma, Helmet, Prakash, Chatyal, Khera-I, Khera-II, Roshni and Gunhill posts in the sector from its posts Kanal, Barmoch, Jungle-1, Jungle-2, Dhamas, Prench, New post, Daruchiymia, Teer, LP-1, LP-2 and LP-3. Yesterday's ceasefire was the third ceasefire violation by Pakistan troops along Poonch sector after they intruded into Indian territory and killed two jawans.

On January 8, Pakistan troops had violated the ceasefire twice after brutally killings Lance Naiks, Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh. In the wake of the incident, Army and BSF have reviewed the security set up along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir.

The security situation has been reviewed at a high-level meeting at Rajouri-based headquarters of 25 Infantry Division headed by 16 Corps Commander, Lt Gen D S Hooda. Gen Hooda has visited the forward areas and met field commanders, who briefed him about the situation and security set up along Indo-Pak border.

Security review has been made and vigilance has been mounted (along Indo-Pak border), Deputy GOC, 25 Infantry Div, Brig J K Tiwari had said. Northern Command Chief Lt Gen K T Parnaik had visited the forward areas and was briefed about the incident during his visit to Poonch sector on January 8.

"We face challenging situation along the border-- the area is difficult and we are always cautious and vigilant" Brig Tiwari had said.

BSF had put in place a winter strategy to deal with infiltration and Poonch-like raids by the Pakistani troops along the International Border (IB) in Jammu-Kathua sector.

"After taking into consideration the incidents that have taken place in the last 5-6 months, we have put in place a winter strategy to deal with such a situation", IG, BSF, Jammu frontier, Rajeev Krishna had said on Wednesday.

"We have activated the strategy after taking into all account all such incidents", he had said, adding vulnerable and strategic points have been identified including border outposts and security strengthen.

"We have put in place anti-fog devices and surveillance devices apart from manual patrolling in this difficult weather conditions along the border", he said.

Lt General Parnaik has briefed Governor N N Vohra over the killings. It is likely that a further meeting in this regard will take place between the Governor and the Army Commander in the next few days.

Hold sanctity of LoC, India tells Pakistan

New Delhi: India today told Pakistan that it had only resorted to "controlled response" to the "unprovoked" firing by Pakistani army yesterday along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

This was conveyed by Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, who was called in by the Pakistan Foreign Office and served a demarche by Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani over yesterday's incident in Battal sector of the LoC, which the Pakistan Army said had resulted in the death of a soldier.

"The Indian High Commissioner was called to the Foreign Office where he met Jilani and issued a note verbale on an incident which is said to have occurred on January 10," official spokesperson in Ministry of External Affairs said. He also said Pakistan is claiming that one of their soldiers was killed in the incident.

The High Commissioner told Jilani that there was "unprovoked firing from Pakistan (along the LoC) in Mendhar sector and there was a controlled response from our side," the spokesperson said.

The Indian envoy also stressed the need for holding the sanctity of LoC and adherence of the Simla Agreement to sort out bilateral issues, he said.

On Pakistan refusing to allow trucks from India carrying goods to cross LoC trade point in Poonch district, the spokesperson said "our officials are in talks."

As many as 25 trucks carrying goods, mostly vegetables, from India were not allowed to cross the LoC and enter Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir at Chakan-Da-Bagh, according to officials of the Trade Facilitation Center (TFC) at Poonch yesterday.

The spokesperson also reiterated India's position that it was "capable" of resolving the issue bilaterally and rejected role of the UN or any third party.

He also noted that DGMO's of both the countries were in "regular touch".

There have been three violations of the nine-year-old ceasefire along the LoC in the past five days.

The Indian Army said two of its soldiers were killed in a cross-border raid by Pakistani troops on Tuesday while another Pakistani soldier died on Sunday.

The clashes were among the most serious violations of the truce that was put in place in late 2003.

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