Indian, Pakistani troops clash on Kashmir border

Indian and Pak troops were locked early Wednesday in a 45-minute battle on the int`l border in J&K.

Jammu/Srinagar: Indian and Pakistani troops were locked early Wednesday in a 45-minute battle on the international border in Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistanis opened unprovoked fire, officials said.

It was the second violation by Pakistan of the bilateral ceasefire in less than 24 hours on the Kashmir frontier.

The Border Security Force (BSF) said its post at Balad, about 45 km southwest of Jammu, came under fire from Pakistani forces well before dawn at 4.30 am.

The BSF retaliated, triggering a battle involving small and heavy arms that lasted till 5.15 am There were no injuries on the Indian side, and calm has since returned to the international border, an official said.

"The fire was returned. After around an hour of intermittent exchange of fire, calm was restored," a military spokesman said.

Military sources, however, said it was not clear if the Pakistanis were trying to facilitate the infiltration of terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir to escalate tensions in the state.

"The visibility at that time was bad due to thick fog and darkness," a senior official said. "We are trying to ascertain if it was an attempt by militants to infiltrate."

Pakistani security forces routinely resort to firing to bog down their Indian counterparts so that Islamist militants based in Pakistan can sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.

On Tuesday too, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire at the Line of Control (LOC) when they fired at Indian positions in Poonch district of Jammu region.

"Then also the army returned the fire," a police official said.

According to the defence ministry, there have been over 150 ceasefire violations on the Kashmir border since 2006.

Over 50 of these happened this year. India and Pakistan had agreed to observe a truce along their border in 2003 as part of confidence building measures.