Zee Media Bureau
Jammu/New Delhi: A day ahead of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley`s visit to Jammu and Kashmir for the first time after taking over, Pakistan troops violated ceasefire once again on Friday morning and targetted Indian posts in Poonch sector here.
The attack from across the border was done with heavy weaponary like mortar shells, prompting India to remind it that maintenance of peace on border is a "pre-condition" for normalisation of relations.
Indian troops retaliated effectively to the provocation by Pakistan.
The heavy exchange of fire between the Indian and Pak soldiers triggered panic among the residents of the border areas as some of the mortar shells landed in civilian areas. Some of the villagers lost their livestock in the heavy exchange of fire.
Pakistan troops fired 81-mm mortar shells and directed automatic and small-arms fire at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar-BhimberGali-Keri forward areas of Poonch district at around 0730 hours today, said a senior Army officer.
No casualty or damage has been reported on this side of the LoC due to the firing, he said.
Indian troops guarding the border effectively replied with similar calibre weapons, he said, adding that the "exchanges occurred in three forward areas".
In the wake of the incident, fourth since Narendra Modi government took over, India reminded Pakistan that maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border is a "pre-condition" for having a normal relationship between the two countries.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said it has been India`s endeavour to establish peaceful and friendly relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.
"On firing, I will like to reiterate that peace and tranquility on the border is of the highest importance in establishing the pre-condition for such peaceful and normal relationship," she told reporters.
"Maintenance of peace and tranquility on LoC is one of the most important CBMs between India and Pakistan. That remains and will remain the case," she said.
Ceasefire violation: Omar questions timing
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today questioned the timing of ceasefire violation along the LoC a day ahead of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley`s visit to Jammu and Kashmir and appealed for maintaining truce along Indo-Pak border.
"Is it just a coincidence that the Defence Minister is visiting J&K, for his 1st visit, to review the security situation tomorrow?" Omar tweeted.
Later, talking to reporters here, he appealed for maintaining ceasefire along Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir.
"To what extent this is an effort to test the resolve of this new government -- to what extent this is time primarily because the Defence Minister is visiting Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow and is also visiting some forward areas -- that will be a matter of speculation," he said.
"On my side, I can only appeal that calm be maintained along LoC," he said.
The Chief Minister said, "This ceasefire is one of the biggest Confidence Building Measure (CBMs) that has been given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by both the governments of India and Pakistan. We will appeal that this ceasefire is maintained."
Maintaining that ceasefire has been a continuous affair, Omar said, "Ceasefire violations, unfortunately, are not new phenomenon. They have regularly occurred along the International Border (IB), more so, along the Line of Control (LoC)".
Pakistan troops today targeted Indian posts with heavy firing and mortar shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir in yet another violation of the ceasefire, prompting retaliation by Indian forces.
Omar said the ceasefire violations in the Rajouri and Poonch areas were significant as some of shells had landed in civilian areas.
"Significant ceasefire violation in Rajouri and Poonch with reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas. Some livestock loss," he tweeted.
With PTI inputs