New Delhi/Abu Dhabi: India today summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and conveyed its strong protest and anger over “unprovoked” firing by Pakistani troops and “systematic targeting” of civilian population along the LoC as shelling has left six persons dead in two days.
Basit was firmly told that Pakistan Government needed to take necessary steps to ensure that the Pakistan military does not undermine peace and tranquility along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC). “The High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs today.
“Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) lodged a protest, and conveyed our anger, at the unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops since August 8, particularly with regard to the incidents of yesterday and today in Poonch that saw the systematic targeting of our civilian populations and the use of high calibre weapons including artillery,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in Abu Dhabi.
A defiant Basit, however, accused India of 70 ceasefire violations along the LoC and International Boundary in the months of July and August and called for a more effective mechanism to determine who indulges in the unprovoked firing. The MEA Spokesperson said the issue of “continued unprovoked firing” by Pakistani troops since August 8 had been raised on several occasions at the DGMO level.
“Assurances were also received from the Pakistan military authorities that the firing would stop and their troops would be instructed accordingly.
“But in fact the firings have continued up until today. Secretary (East) conveyed that the Pakistan Government needed to take necessary steps to ensure that the Pakistan military does not undermine peace and tranquility along the IB and Line of Control,” he said.
Swarup is accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his two-day UAE visit and the reaction about Pakistan's ceasefire violations assumed significance.
Basit, who was in South Block for around 15 minutes, said, “We are concerned about ceasefire violations. In the months of July and August, there have been close to 70 ceasefire violations from this side of the LoC and the working boundary.
“We are obviously very concerned about it. Our side would like to have a more effective mechanism in place as to determine who indulges in these unprovoked firing,” he said.
Six people have been killed in heavy firing and mortar bomb shelling by Pakistani troops at several Indian posts and civilian areas since yesterday.
On Independence Day yesterday, five civilians, including a sarpanch were killed and five others injured in heavy firing and mortar bomb shelling.
A woman was killed today in heavy mortar shelling from the Pakistani side.
There has been escalation of tension between the two countries following terror attacks in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and incidents of ceasefire violations ahead of talks between their National Security Advisers (NSAs).
Ties further soured recently with Pakistan refusing to invite Jammu and Kashmir Assembly speaker to a conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and in protest India decided to boycott the meet to be held in Islamabad from September 30 to October 8.
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Sartaz Aziz here for talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23, as decided in a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif last month in Ufa in Russia.
During the talks, India is expected to present evidence of terrorism emanating from Pakistan highlighted further by recent attacks in Gurdaspur in Punjab and near Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
India's case is bolstered by the capture of Mohammed Naved Yakub, a Pakistani national and a LeT operative, who carried out an attack on a BSF bus last week near Udhampur.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday had greeted his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Independence Day and hoped that bilateral issues will be settled through sustained and comprehensive talks.
Ahead of NSA-level talks, Basit on Friday had said his country will not “abandon” the Kashmiris' “legitimate struggle for freedom”, stressing that to have normal and cooperative relationship with India it was necessary to settle the decades-old dispute.
Reacting sharply to the comments, India said, “The only struggle in J&K is against Pakistani-sponsored terrorism. This will be the subject of the upcoming NSA-level talks.”