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Firing flares across LoC

Srinagar, Jan. 6: A deadly exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistan troops along the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Uri sector today ratcheted up tension between the two countries.

Northern Command defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia said Pakistan troops resorted to unprovoked firing on the Indian forward posts in south Jhelum sector, with some shells landing in Churunda village and damaging a few civilian houses.

He denied a claim by Pakistani soldiers that Indian troops had crossed the LoC and attacked the Sawan Patra checkpost, killing a soldier and injuring another.

A Pakistan military spokesperson in Islamabad claimed its troops had “effectively responded and repulsed the attack successfully”.

The defence spokesperson in Jammu said Pakistan Army posts opened unprovoked heavy machine gun and mortar fire on Indian posts in Uri sector at 3.30am to push terrorists into Kashmir.

“The Indian Army gave a calibrated response and foiled their attempt to sneak through. The firing continued till about 8am. Some civilian houses were damaged (in Churunda) because of Pakistani firing,” the spokesperson added.

He said the Pakistan Army had been trying to push in a large number of infiltrators across the LoC under the cover of heavy firing and poor weather conditions.

“In the last month, the Pakistan Army has violated the ceasefire agreement nearly a dozen times. Most of these firing incidents were in Rajouri, Uri and Keran sectors to assist infiltration attempts by terrorists. The Pakistan Army has also been sending terrorists across the Line of Control to plant mines on the tracks in hinterland,” Lt Col Kalia said.

Another army officer said the Pakistan Army lit up the area after firing illumination rounds, apparently to distract the ambush parties of Indian troops.

“Heavy mortar fire followed and it was done to give cover to infiltrators,” he said.