Pakistani forces allegedly violated the ceasefire across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and later in Rajouri district, PTI reported. Both countries exchanged heavy fire, Defence Ministry spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand told reporters in Jammu.

“At around 6 am today, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling mortars and firing small arms along the Krishna Ghati sector [in Poonch district],” said Anand, adding that the Indian army retaliated strongly and effectively. The firing exchanges stopped after an hour, he said.

Mendhar and Balakote sectors in the state also witnessed heavy shelling through Wednesday night, NDTV reported. Pakistan Rangers had allegedly violated ceasefire in Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors in Rajouri on Wednesday.

A defence public relations officer said the Indian Army retaliated to all ceasefire violations effectively. “At about 2.14 pm, the Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms firing along the Line of Control in Nowshera sector in Rajouri, violating the ceasefire,” the official said.

Authorities have shut down all educational institutions within five kilometres of the Line of Control and the International Border in the districts of Rajouri, Poonch and Samba. The authorities have also asked locals to refrain from stepping outside their homes amid the shelling.

The exchange of fire took place a day after Pakistani jets allegedly violated Indian airspace, and claimed to have shot down two Indian Air Force aircraft. Pakistan also claimed that it captured an IAF pilot. India has refuted the claim of its jet being downed and said it downed a Pakistani F-16 jet.

The Pakistani violation on Wednesday was in retaliation to an IAF strike in Balakote, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on Tuesday, to eliminate a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp.