The Indian Army on Thursday denied Pakistan’s claim that five Indian soldiers were killed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in cross-border firing, PTI reported. India called the claim fictitious after the Pakistan Army said that at least three of its soldiers and five from the Indian side had died in the firing in Lipa and Battal sectors.
“The claim by Pakistan is totally baseless and fictitious,” said Indian Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand, according to PTI. “We strongly reject the claim.”
The spokesperson of Pakistan’s Armed Forces, Major General Asif Gharoor, alleged that to divert attention from the “precarious situation” in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Army had increased firing along the Line of Control. “Three Pakistani soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom],” the spokesperson tweeted. “Pakistan Army responded effectively. Five Indian soldiers killed, many injured, bunkers damaged. Intermittent exchange of fire continues.”
Two civilians were also killed in the cross-border violations, Al Jazeera quoted unidentified local police in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as saying.
Pakistan said Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal, who is also the foreign ministry spokesperson, summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to “condemn the unprovoked ceasefire violations”.
Faisal reportedly asked India to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit, and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary. “The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” he said.
The developments come amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status. The central government, on August 5, declared that the region would be split into two Union Territories.
India has repeatedly described the developments in Jammu and Kashmir as its internal matter. However Pakistan has raised the matter in the United Nations Security Council. The international authority is expected to discuss India’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir on Friday in a closed-door meeting.