Indian and Pakistani troops have exchanged fire at the restive border region known as Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday (20 September), within days of an attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir. The onslaught, which New Delhi blames on Pakistan, on the army base in Uri on Sunday left 18 Indian soldiers dead.
Indian media reports say Pakistani troops were the first to violate the fragile ceasefire agreement prevailing on the border and fired on the Indian army positions. The Pakistani side is yet to comment on the incident as sporadic firing is being reported. The ceasefire has been in place between the two countries as per an agreement signed in 2003.
"Pakistani troopers resorted to heavy gunfire with small and automatic firearms from across the Line of Control . No damage was caused to Indian posts. The fire was returned," an Indian defence source told broadcaster NDTV. As many as 20 rounds were fired during the brief encounter.
India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh is thought to have spoken to top military authorities giving them full freedom to come up with an appropriate response to the situation.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals have been at a high and the extremist attack in Kashmir on Sunday has worsened the situation. There has been a constant war of words between New Delhi and Islamabad over the incident.
Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif is the latest to issue a strong warning to India, saying his country's army is keeping a close watch for any provocation from the Indian side. "Pakistan's armed forces together with their resilient nation have surmounted every challenge and will thwart any sinister design against integrity and sovereignty of the country in future as well," said Sharif in a statement released by the army's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).