ISLAMABAD: Intermittent exchange of fire between Pakistani Rangers personnel and those from the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) took place along the Working Boundary in the Shakargarh sector on Wednesday, sources in the Chenab Rangers said.
The latest exchange of fire came two days after four Pakistani civilians were killed in Indian shelling in the Shakargarh/Sialkot sectors along the Working Boundary.
Pakistan and India have been exchanging accusations — with the latest volley coming from Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam who said “ceasefire violations by India along the Working Boundary and Line of Control were causing distraction” in the fight against terrorism.
Aslam was responding to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman’s comments on US aid certification for Pakistan which said that New Delhi did not believe that Pakistan was showing ‘sustained commitment’ or making ‘significant effort’ or ceasing support or dismantling ‘bases of operations’ of the Laskhar-i-Taiba, Jaish-i-Muhammad, the Haqqani network and quite possibly the Al Qaeda.
Tensions between the South Asian rivals escalated last week when an Indian border guard and two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers were killed during exchanges of heavy fire.
Recent exchanges of fire across the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, known as the Line of Control (LoC), have killed more than two dozen civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes on both sides.
Pakistan and India, who have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, have traded blame for the upsurge in firing and shelling which started on October 6 last year.
India called off peace talks last August after Pakistan first consulted Kashmiri separatists, a move some saw as a sign of a tougher stance by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Analysts believe that the latest escalation and exchange of barbs between the two sides is related to the upcoming Pak-US strategic dialogue and visit of US President Barack Obama to India for attending the Republic Day ceremony on Jan 26.