Massive Escalation Along LoC As Pak Fires Artillery, India Responds
Pakistani troops have been firing artillery guns across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday and the Indian Army said it is responding, in dramatic escalation of hostilities on a day three Indian soldiers lost their lives in shelling.
The ceasefire violation started last night as Pakistan launched unprovoked firing in the Mankote and Krishna Ghati sectors, a defence spokesperson said.
In the afternoon, Pakistan fired along the LoC in the Keran and Machhal sectors of the Kupwara district with artillery guns, mortars and other weapons, the army said.
Two soldiers were killed in firing by Pakistan in the Nowgam sector of Kupwara district in North Kashmir early Thursday morning.
A third soldier was killed in overnight firing in Poonch. The injured soldiers were evacuated, the spokesperson said.
The use of artillery guns marks a sharp rise in tensions along the Line of Control that usually sees various levels of machine gun fire and mortars before the long-ranged weapons are used.
Over the last few days, Pakistan has been targeting villages in Poonch.
On September 5, a soldier was killed and two others, including an officer, were injured in firing and shelling by Pakistan along the Line of Control in the Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district, officials said.
On September 2, a JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) was killed in yet another ceasefire violation by the Pakistan Army in the Keri sector of Rajouri.
Over the last eight months, more than 3,000 ceasefire violations by Pakistan have been reported, the most in 17 years. In September, there were 47 violations by Pakistan of the ceasefire agreed upon by both sides in 2003.
India says Pakistani troops often open fire to help terrorists sneak into Jammu and Kashmir. The latest rise in tension comes as India is separately locked in a serious military face-off with China along the de-facto border that the two countries dispute.