There have been a series of high-level meetings in Delhi as India monitors the tension along the LoC in Kashmir. Defence Minister AK Antony has met the national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and Army chief Gen Bikram Singh in Delhi to review the situation.
In Islamabad, the Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal was summoned by the Pakistan government to protest against the death of a Pakistani soldier last evening allegedly in firing by Indian troops. A statement released after the meeting said Pakistan had protested against "the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian army." (Read full statement)
Pakistan has also suspended cross-border trade and a bus service between the Poonch sector in India and Rawalakot on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control (LoC). Indian authorities say they have been informed by the Pakistani side that trade and travel has been suspended in that sector because of the tension in the region and the possibility of crossfire.
Border trade is unaffected between Uri and Chakan-da-Badh in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and across the Wagah-Attari border, with about 500 trucks crossing over today. Cross-border trade and bus services were both introduced to build confidence and trust between the two countries. Vegetables and fruits are bartered every week at designated trade centres along the LoC.
Defence Minister AK Antony said today that the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in Kashmir are "a major cause of concern". He also said, "We will take every step to protect our interest and the Indian armed forces."
India has also said that if Pakistan targets its posts again, it will respond "appropriately". Both sides have accused the other's troops of violating the ceasefire and crossing the LoC to kill jawans.
Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in 2008, was quoted by Reuters today as denying Indian press reports that he had been inciting action against India in PoK region just before the outbreak of tension this week. "We do not want any force to be used or any military operation for this. But the Indians are opting for the other alternative," Saeed told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Despite the hostility that has peaked since Tuesday when two Indian soldiers were killed and one of them was beheaded, both sides have cautioned against an escalation of the crisis. J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said, "We want the ceasefire between the two countries to continue because its violation affects the J and K population."
Pakistan has denied that its soldiers crossed the LoC and killed the jawans, and has offered a United Nations inquiry, which India has flatly rejected. The External Affairs Ministry summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir on Wednesday to ask for an investigation into the "barbaric and inhuman mutilation" of its soldiers' dead bodies.
The tension began on Sunday when the Pakistani army accused India of killing one of its soldiers and wounding another in a cross-border attack. India said its troops had opened fire following a Pakistani mortar attack, but denied they crossed the border. Four soldiers have been killed in the last five days. This week marks a peak in hostility since 2003, when the ceasefire was agreed upon.
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