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Indian troops stage cross-border raid
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani soldier was martyred and another injured in a gunfight erupting after Indian troops crossed into Pakistani territory and attacked a checkpost in Bagh area of Azad Kashmir on Sunday.But Indian military denied its soldiers had attacked Pakistani position, and instead accused Pakistani troops of violating the Line of Control (LoC), an internationally recognised line separating Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir patrolled by troops from both countries.The checkpost skirmish was followed by heavy exchange of fire across the volatile border heightening tensions between the nuclear neighbours after a consider period of calm and rapprochement.A spokesman of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the Indian soldiers violated the LoC early in the day by crossing into the Haji Pir sector, just about 80 kilometres north of capital Islamabad. They “physically raided” Sawan Patra checkpost and critically injured two Pakistani soldiers, one of whom - Naik Muhammad Aslam - succumbed to his wounds later, he added.The spokesman in his statement said, “Pakistan army troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack.” He said the Indian soldiers fled back while leaving behind a gun and a dagger when Pakistani troops retaliated against their attack. The two sides then exchanged fire across the border, he added.Indian army spokesman Colonel Jagadish Dahiya said Indian troops had not crossed the LoC, according to foreign news agency report. “However, there was a ceasefire violation by Pakistan. Our troops retaliated by firing,” he said. Dahiya added that they did not suffer any casualties or injuries.Another spokesman for the Indian army Colonel Rajesh Kalia said its post at Churuda, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of major city Srinagar, came under “unprovoked” heavy mortar and automatic gun fire for about five hours early on Sunday. “We did retaliate,” he said.Yet another Indian army spokesman in Srinagar, the summer capital of the Indian-held Kashmir, came with another twist to the story by accusing the Pakistani military of firing mortar bombs into a village in the Uri district, which faces Haji Pir sector of Pakistan.“At 3:15am today (Sunday) Pakistani troops resorted to heavy mortar firing, targeting a village in Uri sector,” Colonel Brijesh Pandey told a foreign news agency, adding that the homes of some villagers were damaged. “We retaliated with small arms and the exchange continued for over an hour,” he said.The two countries have been slowly repairing relations in recent months. In November, India executed a Pakistani man who it said was the last surviving perpetrator of the Mumbai attack. Last month the two countries signed a deal designed to ease visa restrictions for some citizens to travel between the two countries.And this conflagration comes days after Pakistan Army published its new ‘Army Doctrine’ acknowledging militants at home as the gravest danger to state instead of India, which traditionally has been the ‘enemy number one’. Obviously, this new doctrine was based on the belief that rapprochement with India had gained such strength that it could thin its troop presence on the eastern border to shift the soldiers to north-western border with Afghanistan to crush the Taliban and their associates there.The entrenched tensions between the two countries also extend to Afghanistan, where India has been giving military and economic aid – viewed by Pakistan an attempt to lessen its influence. Also, some US officials had previously been saying that Pakistan was unwilling to move against some factions of militants in its tribal belt because it’s security forces would prefer to be able to use them to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan after most foreign combat troops have pulled out by the end of 2014.The two countries share many similarities in language and culture, but most of Pakistani citizens as well as Kashmiris are Muslim while India is a Hindu majority state. It is this difference which led to creation of a separate Muslim state, Pakistan. Therefore, Kashmir and the human rights abuses committed there by Indian troops, is a politically explosive issue in Pakistan.Muslim-majority Kashmir is a Himalayan region which India and Pakistan both claim in full but rule in part. Month after the creation of Pakistan and present India state when British left subcontinent in August 1947, India seized Kashmir by force violating the principal of partition according to which Kashmiris had to decide about their future.Pakistani troops and armed tribal Muslims from north-western territories waged an armed struggle to liberate their Kashmiri brethren that resulted into creation of Azad Kashmir — which is a self-governing state provided protection and support by Pakistan. The two countries later fought two wars, in 1965 and 1971 but later established the LoC to restore peace.But occasional violations of this de facto border continued and the last round of major conflagration was ended by a 2003 ceasefire. However, infrequent but relatively small-scale violations persist.

 
 
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