Pakistan and India accused each other on Tuesday of breaking a February cease-fire deal along the disputed Line of Control (LoC), as the two countries' armed forces exchanged fire after a two-and-a-half-month lull.
On Feb. 24 military leaders of the nuclear-armed neighbors agreed to the cease-fire along the LoC, the de facto border that divides the disputed Himalayan region between the two, but now they are accusing each other of breaking the deal.
“The Indian BSF (Border Security Force) troops displayed aggressive behavior by crossing the Working Boundary and blatantly using mortars with intent to sabotage the peace along Line of Control and Working Boundary,” English-language daily Dawn quoted Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s note verbale addressed to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Indian troops fired approximately 30 rounds of small arms and four bombs of 60-millimeter mortars at Pakistan’s post in Charwa Sector, the daily said, adding that the incident happened when 15 BSF troops with three tractors crossed the working boundary and started plowing on the Pakistani side.
The BSF in the disputed Jammu region, on the other hand, accused Pakistan’s paramilitary border force of resorting to unprovoked firing and violating the cease-fire on Monday.
"Pakistan Rangers started firing on a BSF patrolling party ahead of fencing at 0615 (GMT) in Ramgarh sector," a BSF spokesman told Anadolu Agency. "Our troops have suffered no loss of life or injury," he added.
The BSF statement came after Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Indian charge d'affaires to protest the incident.
Since August 2019, when India scrapped the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, dozens of people have been killed and scores have been injured in the most intense cross-border fire in 17 years.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
On Aug. 5, 2019, India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status and divided it into two centrally ruled territories – creating fresh tensions in the restive region.
*Ahmad Adil contributed to this report from New Delhi