Escalating the tension between India and Pakistan over the killing of five Indian soldiers at the Line of Control in Kashmir earlier this week, the Pakistani army violated the ceasefire yet again on Friday.
According to reports, Pakistani troops opened fire on several posts of the Indian army in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir around midnight, forcing the Indian side to retaliate.
Heavy exchange of fire continued for over seven hours. "Pakistan fired over 7000 rounds of heavy ammunition besides mortar shells on Indian posts during the seven-and-a-half-hour firing in Poonch," a Defence spokesperson said adding that it was "biggest ceasefire violation" in recent times. No causalities were however reported.
The sound of heavy firing and mortar blasts was heard in Poonch town. The exchange of fire triggered panic among the people living in the area.
Three days ago, heavy exchange of fire was reported from the Uri sector of Kashmir.
On Tuesday, five Indian soldiers patrolling the Line of Control in Poonch were ambushed by terrorists backed by the Pakistani Army. They had entered the Indian territory after crossing the border in Poonch, 200 km from Srinagar.
Following the killing of the soldiers, India had warned Pakistan that "our restraint should not be taken for granted". The incident has cast a shadow on a meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries scheduled for next month. Though the Indian government has not yet officially commented on whether the assault on the jawans will alter the meeting plan, sources say it is clear that "business as usual" will not continue with Pakistan and that the neighbour will have to effectively demonstrate its commitment to curbing attacks in India. (Defence Minister AK Antony blames Pakistan Army for attack, issues strong warning)
On Thursday, newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to ease tensions by urging both sides to work swiftly to shore up a 10-year ceasefire. Mr Sharif expressed his sadness over the loss of life and said it was "imperative" for India and Pakistan to take "effective steps to ensure and restore" the truce.
But the latest ceasefire violation, despite Mr Nawaz Sharif's statement, is bound to further strain the ties.