India, Pakistan trade gunfire across LoC
16 August, 2013
SRINAGAR: Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire across their frontier in Kashmir, as six civilians, including two young girls, were injured in Pakistan and three villagers on the Indian side in Thursday's tit-for-tat shelling across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), police and military officials said.
Shelling and firing has flared along the disputed region's de-facto border since August 6, when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed in a remote Himalayan district. India blamed the Pakistan Army for the attack. Islamabad has denied any involvement.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee sounded a stern note in an Independence Day speech on Wednesday night, warning Pakistan, "Our commitment to peace is unfailing but even our patience has limits."
Infiltration and cross-border ambushes had become rare in recent years and, although artillery fire frequently rattles the LoC, the intense shelling of recent days has strained a ceasefire that had largely held for nearly a decade.
"There was no exchange of sweets at Aman Setu (Peace Bridge) today," said Indian Army officer Brigadier RK Singh, referring to a custom that soldiers from the two sides have observed on India's Independence Day since a road between the Indian town of Srinagar and Pakistan's Muzaffarabad was reopened in 2005.
The renewed bitterness has cast doubt over preparations for what both sides see as a potentially breakthrough meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, in New York in September.