SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir,The border guards of India and Pakistan Thursday exchanged heavy fire for the second straight day on International Border (IB) in Kashmir, officials said.
The firing was reported along forward posts and civilian areas in Samba sector, about 53 km south of Jammu city, the winter capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“Heavy firing and shelling broke out along the Indo-Pak border last night which continued until today morning,” an official of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) said.
According to the BSF official, the firing was started by Pakistan Rangers and adequately retaliated by Indian side.
“The BSF troops guarding the border gave a befitting reply to the firing from other side and exchange of fire lasted until this morning,” the official said.
However, there were no reports of any damage to Indian side in the fresh exchange.
On Wednesday, a BSF trooper was killed and another wounded, while as two personnel of Pakistan Rangers were killed in the exchange that lasted for several hours.
The troops of India and Pakistan intermittently exchange fire on 720 km-long Line of Control (LoC) and 198 km IB in Kashmir, despite an agreement in 2003 to observe cease-fire. Though some violations have been reported on both sides, the cease-fire however remains in effect.
Both New Delhi and Islamabad accuse each other of resorting to unprovoked firings and violating cease-fire agreements and both sides maintain their troops gave befitting reply to the other side.
A senior BSF official Rakesh Sharma told media they have instructions to retaliate to fire from Pakistan.
Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday said Indian military must retaliate with “double the force” to cease-fire violations from Pakistan.
Thursday’s exchange marked New Year’s Eve in the disputed region, claimed by both India and Pakistan.
Indian officials said 564 cease-fire violations, — 411 along IB and 153 violations along LoC — were recorded in 2014, the highest since the agreement was signed in 2003 between the two nuclear neighbors, killing 20 Indians including six Indian troopers, and wounding 150. Pakistani side according to reports also suffered causalities in the stand-off.
LoC is a de facto border that divides Kashmir into India and Pakistan controlled parts. The LoC on both sides is guarded by army, while IB is guarded by Border Security Force (BSF) on Indian side and Pakistan Rangers on the other side.