Adhere to ceasefire violation mechanism: Antony to Islamabad

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New Delhi, Jul 29 (UNI) India today asked Pakistan to adhere to existing mechanisms of dealing with ceasefire violations, including flag meetings and Director General Military Operations level talks.

In a strong statement issued here, Defence Minister A K Antony said the increase in ceasefire violations and firings across the LoC was a matter of concern to India and said Islamabad should respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two neighbours. He also attributed the large number of violations with attempts to infiltrate militants.

Since January this year, there had been as many as 19 violations of the Line of Control.

The Defence Minister's statement comes a day after troops repulsed a Pakistani incursion in the Nowgam sector of northern Kashmir which left one Indian soldier (Rifleman Mahesh from 22 Rajput Regiment) dead.

He said the situation along the 742-km LoC was being constantly reviewed. ''Keeping in view the increased attempts to infiltrate, the counter-infiltration grid in the state has been suitably strengthened by our troops to check such incidents,'' he said.

He also asked Islamabad to strictly adhere to the existing mechanism for dealing with violations by holding local flag meetings and Director General of Military Operations (DGMO)-level talks.

India and Pakistan held battalion-level flag meeting at the intrusion site. New Delhi also lodged a protest when DGMO Lt Gen A S Sekhon got in touch with his Pakistani counterpart through the hotline.

The Minister said while India maintained adequate restraint to prevent escalation of tensions, India was fully prepared to deal with any such instances 'firmly.

Most of the 19 ceasefire violations have taken place in Poonch and Rajouri areas of Jammu. There have also been violations in Uri, Kupwara, Tanghdar, Machail and Gurez sectors. Army sources said most of these violations were in June and July.

The statement did not mention about the Pakistani casulties, Army sources confirmed four Pakistani soldiers were killed. ''One body was found on the Indian side of LoC,'' sources maintained.

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