New Delhi: Hours after Pakistani troops opened fire in Jammu and Kashmir in what was the first major ceasefire violation since the Narendra Modi government came to power, New Delhi today made it clear that "peace on the border is a pre-condition for normal relationship" with Islamabad.
Heavy firing and mortar shelling from across the border began at around 7 am today with Pakistani troops targeting Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar sector in J&K, drawing retaliation by the Indian Army.
"On firing, I will like to reiterate that peace and tranquility on the border is of the highest importance in establishing the pre-condition for such peaceful and normal relationship," Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told reporters.
"Maintenance of peace and tranquility on LoC is one of the most important CBMs between India and Pakistan. That remains and will remain the case," she added.
Earlier in the day, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Significant ceasefire violation in Rajouri & Poonch with reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas. Some livestock loss."
"Is it just a coincidence that the Defence Minister is visiting J&K, for his 1st visit, to review the security situation tomorrow? #ceasefire (sic)," the chief minister added.
The ceasefire violation came on a day when the Prime Minister was briefed on the security situation along the LoC and the Line of Actual Control or LAC, the de-factor border with China. The Army Chief briefed Mr Modi on the Army's immediate and medium-term requirements as well as security challenges in J&K.
On Thursday, an Army jawan was killed and three others were injured in an IED blast in the Bhimber Gali sector. In another incident in the same area, two jawans were injured after the stepped over a landmine.