Indian soldier killed in Pakistani firing

An Indian Army soldier was killed and three injured in firing by Pakistani troops on positions along the Line of Control (LoC) Wednesday afternoon in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, an official said Thursday.

According to the army spokesman, Pakistani troops started firing at Indian positions in Krishna Ghati sector on LoC in Poonch district, about 240 km north-west of Jammu Wednesday afternoon. "It was unprovoked small arms firing that hit a soldier on patrol, critically injuring him," he said.

The spokesman revealed: "Pakistani firing intensified when our soldiers went ahead to evacuate the injured soldier who died later of grievous wounds in the neck."

The Indian side retaliated to the fire later and three more soldiers got injured in the exchange of fire. They were shifted to the army hospital where the condition of one of them is described as serious.

The Pakistani side started firing small arms first. "But they fired mortars too in the night. The firing from Pakistani side (small arms) is still continuing, though Indian side has stopped in a bid to de-escalate the situation," the spokesperson said, adding that India has asked for a flag meeting with Pakistan through hotline.

The spokesperson underlined, "The Indian response to Pakistani firing was measured and calibrated."

This is the longest and severest ceasefire violation leading to exchange of firing between Indian and Pakistani side this year. The Indian side believes that the fire was aimed at providing cover to infiltrators from Pakistan across the LoC.

There have been more than 250 'ceasefire violations' by Pakistan since 2006 and 15th this year, in which about two score security personnel were killed on the Indian side and over 65 got injured. Guns were silent on LoC from 2003 to 2006 "except for an aberration here and there". Majority of these 'violations' were in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region besides Kupwara and Baramulla in Kashmir valley.

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