New Delhi: At 1 pm today, the Indian and Pakistan armies held a flag meeting at Chakan da Bagh in Poonch district along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. The 35-minute meeting was the first on-ground contact between the two Armies since tension built up at the border last week; Pakistan agreed to the meeting after four days of India asking for one. The Indian Army reportedly voiced concern at the violation of the ceasefire by Pakistani troops and the mutilation of the bodies of two jawans killed in Pakistani firing on December 8; one of the bodies was beheaded. The Indian Army also reportedly asked for the severed head to be returned.
Here are the 10 latest developments:
- According to sources, in today's meeting, India warned Pakistan against the repetition of such an incident. The meeting holds significance because after the incident there had been no contact on the ground between the two armies. (Watch)
- The Army Chief today said, "What the Pakistani side did was unpardonable and gruesome." He also said that there were no operations from the Indian side on January 6th as claimed by Pakistan. (Read what the Army Chief said)
- General Singh also said that the possibility that Pakistan uses terrorists can't be ruled out. "Home Minister made a statement, that must have been based on intelligence inputs available... we have known them to use that," said the Army Chief.
- Meanwhile, fresh firing by Pakistan troops on Indian posts in Nangitikri forward area in Poonch district was reported at around 1630 hours on Sunday, after heavy overnight firing in Krishnagati, also in Poonch, an Army officer said. "We will retaliate if provoked and fired upon, and let me tell you we have fired back," Army Chief General Bikram Singh said today.
- There are inputs that Pakistan has been pushing in infiltrators into India in the garb of the ceasefire violations. The police are on a high alert across the region to block any Pakistani attempts to escalate militancy. Defence Spokesman Colonel RK Palta said Indian troops opened fire on the suspected infiltrators on Saturday and thereafter there was exchange of heavy fire. There was no immediate report of any casualty or injury on the Indian side.
- Pakistani troops had continued intermittent firing across the LoC at five posts in the Krishna Ghati and Sona Gali sectors of Jammu and Kashmir all through Friday night, sources in the Indian Army said. They added that the firing first began from the Pakistani side at around 4.30 pm on Friday after which India retaliated.
- Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne had reiterated India's stand that the LoC is sacrosanct. He said that while Pakistan's repeated violations of the 2003 ceasefire agreement are unacceptable, India will explore all options available. (Watch)
- The stand-off has impacted the 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, however, unaffected between Uri and Chakan-da-Bagh in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and across the Wagah-Attari border.
- Both sides have accused the other's troops of violating the ceasefire and crossing the LoC to kill jawans. Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal was summoned by the Pakistan government on Friday in protest against the death of a Pakistani soldier who died on Thursday 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."
- The tension began last 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.