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Communication channels open amid intensified firing at LoC: DG ISPR

ISLAMABAD: Despite severe ceasefire violation by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC), communication channels including the hotline between the two militaries were open, said Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa.

Bajwa told a foreign news agency at the ISPR headquarters in Rawalpindi that it was Indian troops who initially violated the 2003 ceasefire along the LoC, which divide the nuclear neighbours in the disputed Kashmir region.

“The Indian forces violated the Line of Control by fire and then a few hours later they made a false claim about surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control. We did check everything on the ground and we found the claim was absolutely false,” the DG ISPR said.

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He said there was a rise in firing incident along the LoC by Indian forces, adding that only on Wednesday they fired over 25,000 rounds with small arms, reaching the maximum so far.

“What we see is that there is more intensified firing along the LoC, and of course, when there is more fire, the situation does escalate. The environment also escalates when there are more rhetoric and more statements and more pronouncements” by the Indian side, Bajwa said.

Meanwhile, the army spokesman emphasised the importance of resolving current tension through dialogue and confirmed that contacts between Pakistani and Indian armies were maintained.

“All communication channels including the hotline between the two militaries are open,” he said, adding that the UN Military Observer Group in Pakistan and India also monitor the situation and report to its headquarters.

“Pakistan wants peacefully neighbourly relations with all countries in the region and that is the policy of the state of Pakistan and that is the policy of the political government and every element of power in the country follows the same policy,” said Bajwa.


Tensed ties

Tensions between Pakistan and India spiked since New Delhi claimed last week it had launched “surgical strikes” on militant posts across the disputed border that divides the Kashmir region between the two countries.

Islamabad denied the strikes, saying two of its soldiers were killed in the cross-border firing.

Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across their Kashmir border known as the Line of Control (LoC) but rarely send ground troops over the line.

Relations have been strained since gunmen raided an Indian army base in held Kashmir on September 18, killing 19 soldiers, the worst such attack in over a decade.

New Delhi blamed the attack on Pakistan saying militants from its soil attacked the base. However, Pakistan has denied the allegations.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but both claim it in full. Armed separatist groups in the Indian-held part of the territory have for decades been fighting to break free from New Delhi.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the LoC to launch attacks on its forces. Islamabad denies the claims.



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