After IAF airstrike, India-Pakistan trade heavy fire on LoC

While heavy fire exchange continues in Akhnoor, Nowshera and Poonch sectors, the movement of soldiers has reportedly increased on the Indian side amid reports of heavy troops buildup across the border

Getty images
Getty images

Ashutosh Sharma

The pre-dawn Indian Air Force (IAF) strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot led to multiple ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Amid rising tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack that have seen a sudden spurt in ceasefire violations, the residents along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu region are living under constant fear. According to them, the movement of soldiers have also increased in the areas amid reports of heavy troops buildup across the border.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said Pakistan violated ceasefire in Akhnoor, Nowshera and Krishna Ghati sectors of the LoC around 5.30 p.m. using heavy mortars and small arms to target Indian positions.

Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively, he said.

Pakistani forces started shelling forward areas in Akhnoor, Pallanwala in Jammu district, Nowshera, Laam and Jhangar in Rajouri district besides Mendhar, Balakote, Khari Karmara and partly in Keerni and Kalsian areas of Haveli tehsil in Poonch district early in the morning.

Heavy exchange of fire continued till filing of the report. However, no one has been reportedly hurt on the Indian side during shelling and firing so far.

Last year saw the highest number of ceasefire violations, nearly 3,000, by Pakistani troops in the last 15 years along the Indo-Pak border since the 2003 agreement came into force.

The heightened tensions at the LoC in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, the Poonch-Rawalkot cross LoC bus service—which is the sole means of contact for displaced families across the border—has also become a casualty. The bus, connecting Poonch on the Indian side with Rawalakot in PoK, plies on Monday every week.

After remaining suspended for a week following the Pulwama terror attack, the weekly cross-LoC bus service “Karvan-e-Aman” resumed on Monday in Poonch district, with only 17 passengers availing the facility.

The officials said, while 13 passengers, including 11 PoK residents crossed over to the other side from the Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch district, only four Indian residents walked into this side after the gates were opened.

The passengers on either side reached the LoC by bus and then exchanged sides by foot to meet their relatives, according to officials. “No fresh PoK residents came here, apparently in view of the ongoing tension between the two countries.”

However, the cross-LoC trade, which takes place between the divided sides from Tuesday to Friday, took place as usual.

On the other side, it was business as usual on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road on Tuesday as 70 trucks crossed the LoC between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir at Kaman Post, hours after IAF pounded Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan.

As many as 35 trucks carrying goods from Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre at Uri entered PoK as part of the cross-Line of Control trade between the divided parts of the state, officials said.

Billed as the biggest confidence-building measure, the bus service was started on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route in the Kashmir on April 7, 2005 and the Poonch-Rawalakot route in the Jammu region on June 20, 2006, to facilitate easier trade and travel between the divided families of J&K and the PoK. The trade, which works on the barter system between the divided parts started in October 2008.

Also read: Tanks make their way to Intl Border as IAF jets strike Pakistan based terror camps

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