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Pak agrees to flag meeting today

Srinagar/New Delhi, Jan 13, 2013, DHNS 1:56 IST

Fresh firing violates ceasefire in Poonch

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier patrols near the fenced border with Pakistan in Suchetgarh, southwest of Jammu January 11, 2013. A flare-up in fighting on the Line of Control dividing India and Pakistan in Kashmir this week has cast a rare light on the low-level manoeuvring by both armies, highlighting the extent to which the nuclear-armed old enemies remain on a knife edge. REUTERS
Pakistani troops violated ceasefire yet again, firing at Indian posts in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, even as Islamabad agreed to a flag meeting with the commanders of the Indian Army on Monday to defuse tension along the Line of Control (LoC).

The fresh firing and shelling along the LoC on Sunday in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district came after overnight attacks that continued till midnight on Saturday.

Confirming that Pakistan has finally accepted India’s proposal for a brigade commander- level talks between the two armies, Indian Army spokesman Col J Dahiya on Sunday said that a flag meeting would be held on the LoC at Chakan-Da-Bagh in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir at noon on Monday.

This is the first time that Pakistan agreed to a bilateral mechanism with India to defuse the tension along the LoC. Islamabad earlier sought a probe by the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, which New Delhi believes lost its mandate in 1972. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani on Friday also had meetings with US and European envoys in Islamabad in an apparent bid to launch a diplomatic campaign against India and internationalise the issue.

New Delhi, however, has been maintaining that India and Pakistan had established mechanism to resolve issues, like alleged ceasefire violations, bilaterally.

The Indian Army on Friday sent a message to Pakistan Army seeking a flag meeting at the level of brigade commanders. India’s Director-General Military Operation Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia has also been in touch with his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem.

Tension along the LoC reached a flashpoint on January 6, when the soldiers of the Pakistan Army allegedly opened fire at Indian soldiers near Rampur in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian troops undertook controlled retaliation in response. Islamabad later claimed that Indian troopers’ retaliatory firing resulted in the death of a soldier of the Pakistan Army.

Two days later, Pakistan Army personnel crossed the LoC and killed two Indian soldiers before brutally beheading one of them. This was followed by exchange of fire on Thursday leading to the death of another soldier of Pakistan Army.

Meanwhile, Chief of the Staff of Valley-based 15-Corps, Major General Rajesh Arya, on Sunday said troops guarding the LoC or in the hinterland are ready to face any challenge.
“Our soldiers have always displayed outstanding courage, valour discipline and highest moral while braving the harsh weather, enemy firing or fighting terrorists,” he said while speaking at 98th raising day of the Corps at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar.

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