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Pak targets 15 posts in Jammu, seeks UN intervention

NEW DELHI, Oct 13: Pakistan heavily shelled 15 border outposts and hamlets in Arnia sector of Jammu and Kashmir early Sunday even as it wrote to UN chief Ban Ki-moon blaming India for the escalation in border clashes and sought UN intervention on Kashmir.

The shelling, the first since Thursday, injured three people and ends a pause in fighting that has already killed 19 civilians in the two countries in the worst skirmishes in a decade. The Pakistan foreign ministry has claimed that Indian firing over the past month has killed 12 and injured 52 of its civilians.

In the letter to Ban, foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz, accused India of ‘deliberate and unprovoked violations of the ceasefire agreement and cross-border firing’. He also appealed for UN’s assistance in resolving the dispute with India over the status of Kashmir.

Though there was no formal reaction from New Delhi, India has long maintained that disputes between it and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally under the framework of the Shimla agreement and Lahore declaration.

India also considers the UN observer group on Kashmir to have outlived its utility and has criticised Pakistan for depending on a ‘tool of a bygone era’ to address the problems of the present.

The latest round of shelling by Pakistan comes a week after five people were killed in Arnia.

“Flat trajectory weaponry fire started at 8.10pm (Saturday) on three border posts in Arnia and continued till early morning,” a BSF spokesperson said.

The fresh firing has forced authorities to drop any moves to allow the nearly 30,000 people living in government relief camps to return to their homes.

India to test N-capable missile on Oct 17

NEW DELHI, Oct 13: India will test-fire the nuclear-capable Nirbhay cruise missile from the integrated test range at Balasore in Odisha on October 17, the second launch of the indigenous weapon developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

All eyes will be on the upcoming launch as the Nirbhay’s much-hyped maiden launch last March had failed to hit the pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal. When ready, the missile will be able to deliver nuclear warheads at ranges of up to 1,000 km.

The DRDO had to terminate the Nirbhay flight mid-way in March 2013 after the long-range missile deviated from its intended course, leading to some delays in the programme. A senior DRDO official said glitches in the missile’s inertial navigation system had been ironed out.

“The first test was a partial success as several mission objectives were met. The upcoming test is crucial as we have to demonstrate the capability of the missile,” he added. It will require a few more successful tests before being declared ready for induction.

Low-flying cruise missiles such as the Nirbhay can easily slip past enemy air-defence systems due to small radar cross section. The Nirbhay will be configured to be launched from multiple platforms such as land, air and sea.

India retaliates to Pak firing at Poonch

JAMMU, Oct 11: India and Pakistan exchanged gunfire across the Kashmir border on Saturday, ending a pause in fighting that has already killed 17 civilians in the two countries in the worst skirmishes in a decade.

Army sources said Pakistan fired at Kerni area in Poonch district along the Line of Control, the first instance of firing after Thursday evening when guns fell silent after nine days of heavy firing and shelling. There were no reports of firing along the 192-km international border (IB).

“Our troops retaliated. Heavy firing is going on,” an army official said.

The government abandoned plans to move about 2,000 people in relief camps in Kathua district back to their homes after firing resumed.

More than 10,000 people are staying in relief camps and nearly 30,000 have left their homes along the border since the start of the firing, the worst since the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 2003.

Analysts say the violence comes at a time when Pakistan’s army is taking a more assertive role in the country’s politics while India has toughened its stance ahead of assembly elections this month.

India and Pakistan exchange fire on the border sporadically but this year has been particularly volatile as Jammu and Kashmir is due for assembly polls and Pakistan typically ratchets up border tensions every time the state holds elections.

The two sides agreed a ceasefire in 2003 which has frayed over the past two years.

India hits back with vengeance at Pak posts

NEW DELHI, Oct 8: BJP-led NDA Government has decided to hit back at Pakistan with full vengence after unprovoked firing at the borders since October 1. India has also decided not to seek flag meeting with Pakistan. On Tuesday, the Indian security forces unleashed “massive retaliation” all along the 200-kilometre long International Border (IB) in Jammu.

The Indian attack targeted 37 Pakistani border posts, resulting in around 15 deaths, more than 30 injured and serious damage to outposts manned by the Pakistani Rangers, according to intelligence sources.

India has lost six people and sustained 13 injuries in Pakistani firing in the Jammu sector, part of a five-fold increase in ceasefire violations on the IB this year to 41. The incidents have perplexed military analysts who are more accustomed to firing across the Line of Control (LoC) to facilitate infiltration of terrorists.

The IB is the formal border between India and Pakistan and the 700-km LoC is a line demarcated in 1972 across which troops of either side are ranged.

A terse eight-minute phone conversation between the Indian and Pakistani deputy directors of the directorate general of military operations (DDDGMO) ended with brigadiers from both sides trading accusations.

There were some reports of the Rangers holding their fire in the wake of the strong Indian response but by and large the Pakistanis responded in kind to Indian action in Arnia, Raghubir Singh Pura, Ramgarh, Samba, Akhnoor and Pargwal.

“While India has no intention of escalating situation on the Jammu border, there is no question that the Pakistanis will be allowed to go without punishment,” said a senior South Block official.

South Block sources said the Indian side was forced to open up after the Pakistan Army first violated the Line of Control in Poonch followed by their Rangers, who let loose with heavy machine guns and mortars in the Jammu sector.

The first incident happened on October 1, when the Pakistan Army targeted an Indian Army border outpost (BoP) under Mandi sub-division of Poonch sector. On October 3, the Pakistanis again fired at a BoP in Mandi, killing a 17-year-old girl and injuring four Indian civilians.

On October 3-4 night, the Pakistan Rangers decided to escalate firing to the IB and targeted an Indian BoP in Arnia sector. A Pakistani mortar shell landed in a house in Kaku de Kothey village in Arnia as a result of which two civilians sustained serious injuries. This was just the beginning.

On October 4, an Indian Army jawan was killed in an improvised explosive device blast and two others were badly hurt. The border action team of Pakistan-based terrorists had planted the device near Tiba forward post in Mendhar in Poonch sector.

Two days later, the Pakistan Rangers again opened up at the IB and targeted Indian BoPs in Arnia with heavy mortars, killing five civilians including a minor, and injuring 30 others. Since October 1, Indian BoPs in Mandi, Mendhar, Arnia, Khour, Ramgarh and Rajouri sector have been targeted by the Pakistani forces.

Jaitley warns Pak over ceasefire violations

NEW DELHI, Oct 6: Defence minister Arun Jaitley on Monday deplored the ceasefire violations by Pakistan and said the Indian armed forces were "fully ready" and are responding to each of these provocations from across the border.

He told Pakistan that it should realise that the kind of environment it was generating between the two countries was certainly not going to help in normalising relations.

Reacting to the continuous ceasefire violations, the minister said Pakistan has been trying to create tension in both the international border and Line of Control (LoC).

"This is resulting in a series of ceasefire violations as a result of which innocent civilians have lost their lives.

Pakistan must realise that the kind of environment it is generating between the two countries is certainly not going to help in normalising relations. The onus of creating a positive environment is on Pakistan which is utterly failing to do so.

"Let everybody be assured that our armed forces and para-military forces are fully ready and they are responding to each of these provacations from Pakistan," Jaitley said.

Condemning the shelling, union home minsiter Rajnath Singh said “Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations now and should realise that the situation in India has changed”.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said the targeting of civilian areas exposed the frustration of the Pakistani government after its failure to gain international attention on the Kashmir issue.

"They (the Pakistani leadership) have nothing else to speak, but only Kashmir. Whenever they go abroad, they try to raise only Kashmir issue, but every time they miserably fail to get international attention. The cross-border shelling is an indication of their frustration," he told reporters after meeting civilians injured in the shelling at the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has given instructions to the army to reply to the ceasefire violations.

"The Army has been instructed to reply to the ceasefire violations and it is acting on the issue," Prasad told reporters.

Condemning Pakistan's actions, former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said it is despicable that such incidents have occurred on Eid. "There cannot be anything worse than this," the Congress leader said.

Five civilians were killed and 29 wounded in firing by Pakistani forces along a stretch of the border in Jammu district on Monday, the heaviest firing between the two countries since India called off bilateral talks last month.

The latest firing is the eleventh time Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire since October 1, a Border Security Forces (BSF) official said. This is probably the highest number of civilian deaths in a single day in shelling. Even when firing was at its highest between July and August, two people died in the 45 days shells rained down on the border.

Rajnath warns Pak on ceasefire violations

NEW DELHI, Oct 6: India on Monday asked Pakistan to stop ceasefire violations after heavy shelling and firing from across the border left five villagers dead and 29 injured.

“Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations now and understand the reality that times have changed in India,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

He said the Centre is monitoring the situation and Jammu and Kashmir government is taking steps to provide relief to the residents of border areas affected by Pakistani firing.

Congress said the ceasefire violations by Pakistan were a “serious issue” and it should desist from such activities.

“Whatever Pakistan is doing is certainly a serious matter. And we want to tell Pakistan that indulging in such activities is not good for that country,” Congress leader Rashid Alvi said.

Condemning Pakistan’s actions, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said it is despicable that such incidents have occurred on Eid. “There cannot be anything worse than this,” the Congress leader said.

Five villagers were killed and 29 injured in heavy mortar shelling and firing by Pakistani troops targeting hamlets and outposts along the International Border in Jammu district since last night in one of the worst ceasefire violations.

This was the 11th ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir during last four days.

On October 3, Pakistani troops and Rangers violated ceasefire in Gulmarg sector of Kashmir Valley and in Poonch and Jammu sectors in which a girl was killed and six persons were injured.

Army foils infiltration bid along LoC, 3 militants killed

JAMMU, Oct 6: Three militants were killed as Army foiled an infiltration bid along Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

“There was movement of a group of militants entering Indian side along LoC in Tangdhar belt of North Kashmir during the intervening night of October 5 and 6.

They were challenged by Army troops,” a senior Army officer said.

In the ensuing gun-battle, three militants were killed, he said, adding that the infiltration bid was foiled.

Three AK rifles were seized from the site, he said.

'Timing of Chinese incursion with Xi visit a mystery'

The Chinese incursion into LadakhNEW DELHI, Oct 4: The Chinese incursion into Ladakh and the way the episode had coincided with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India was a "mystery", IAF chief Arup Raha said on Saturday even as he stressed that Indian forces were not yielding any ground at the border.

"It's been always a mystery the way incursions take place and the way they get timed with various visits... It's nothing new, it remains a mystery for all of us.

"You all know that in diplomacy a lot of signalling is done, especially so with our northern neighbour. It could be part of some signalling to my mind. But I am not going to guess what it really means," he told reporters at an interaction ahead of Indian Air Force's 82nd anniversary celebrations on Oct. 8.

However, making it clear that India was "not giving ground to anyone", Raha blamed the frequent face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control on differences of perception between the two countries over the actual position.

"There are differences in perception as to where is the LAC... This is leading to face-offs. However, our security forces are following policies... We are not giving ground to anyone," he said.

Meanwhile, referring to the measures being taken to build military infrastructure along the border with China, Raha said that a fighter aircraft base is coming up at Nyoma in Ladakh, but added that the project would take about five years to be completed.

Another base would come up in Kargil, he said, adding that the funds will be released soon for it.

"These bases are strategically important for us and will improve our capabilities," he said.

Upgrade of six airfields in the northeast is also being carried out and the work will be completed by the end of 2015.

That would allow air force to operate fixed wing aircraft from there for swifter force mobilisation, Raha said.


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