GEN SHARIF’S COMMENTS ON KASHMIR ‘HIGHLY PROVOCATIVE’ SAYS BJP LEADER
JAMMU/NEW DELHI — Indian and Pakistani troops traded gunfire overnight after Pakistanis opened fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, the military said Sunday, reports IANS.
The fighting erupted when Pakistani troops reportedly violated the ceasefire in the region and “resorted to unprovoked firing” at Indian positions in Mendhar sector, a defense ministry official told IANS.
“The Pakistani firing stated at 11.30 p.m. Saturday,” spokesman Col. Manish Mehta said. “The Pakistanis used small arms and automatics. We responded.”
Indian officials alleged that Pakistani troops normally open fire along the LoC to give cover to separatist guerrillas trying to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian Army meanwhile foiled an infiltration bid in Poonch district. It was the second such attempt in less than two days along the winding LoC that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
“A group of five to six militants tried to sneak into our side of the LoC in Dera Dabsi area at night,” a defence ministry spokesman told IANS.
“Our troops fired at the infiltrators who withdrew. No casualty occurred on our side although the militants fired at our men after being challenged.”
Meanwhile BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has termed the comments on Kashmir by the Pakistani Army chief as “highly provocative” and wished the outgoing UPA government took a “stronger stand on this uninvited interference”.
He said the reported statement was tantamount to “interference in the internal affairs of our country”.
Asked to respond to Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s claim that Kashmir was a “jugular vein” for Islamabad, Modi told IANS in an e-mailed response: “I see these comments as highly provocative and I think they amount to interference in the internal affairs of our country. I wish the government of India takes a stronger stand on this uninvited interference.”
Modi also dismissed the perceived worries of some countries in the region of his rise to power.
“I can only say that all such perceptions are either misguided or arising out of malafide intent on the part of certain vested interest groups inimical to the progress of India. Apparently there are several people who cannot reconcile themselves to the emergence of a strong and resilient India,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, in its Lok Sabha election manifesto, has promised to “reboot and reorient the foreign policy goals, content and process, in a manner that locates India’s global strategic engagement in a new paradigm and on a wider canvas”.