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3 Pakistani soldiers killed in firing by India at LoC, claims Islamabad

Pakistan on Thursday summoned India’s deputy high commissioner, Gaurav Ahluwalia, to protest the alleged ceasefire violations by Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC) that it said killed three of its soldiers.

Director general (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal, who is also the foreign ministry spokesperson, summoned Ahluwalia and “condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces on 15th August in Lipa and Battal Sectors”, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

The firing killed three Pakistani soldiers, it said.

Faisal claimed the Indian forces along the LoC and working boundary have “continuously been violating the 2003 ceasefire arrangement, which needs to be respected”. “The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” he said.

Faisal urged the Indian side to instruct its forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.

He also urged the Indian side to permit United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

India has maintained that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the LoC.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Army called as “fictitious” the Pakistan military’s claim of killing five Indian soldiers during a cross-border firing along the LoC.

The response by the Indian Army came after Pakistan military’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor claimed that three of its soldiers and five Indian personnel were killed in the cross-border firing.

In a tweet, Ghafoor also alleged that the Indian Army has increased firing along the LoC in an effort to divert attention from the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He claimed that a number of bunkers were damaged and “intermittent exchange of fire continues”.

When asked about Pakistan’s claim, a senior Indian Army official told PTI: “The claim made by Pakistan’s military is fictitious.”

There have been reports of the Pakistan army increasing its deployment along the LoC after India’s decision to withdraw special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian Army has also strengthened its vigil along the LoC and kept its personnel on high alert to effectively deal with any “misadventure” by Pakistan, a senior military official said.

First Published:
Aug 16, 2019 09:21 IST

Source: HindustanTimes