India, Pakistan Continue Trading Gunfire.
Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged gunfire across the Line of Control (LoC) in Bhimber sector near the border early Saturday as both neighbors accused each other of violating a ceasefire, a statement from Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. The fresh exchange of fire comes two days after India carried out surgical strikes on "terror launch pads along the LoC" in Pakistan.
"Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing which started at 0400 and continued till 0800 at LoC in Bhimber sector," the ISPR said, but did not mention if there were any casualties, Pakistani newspaper (http://www.dawn.com/news/1287310) the Dawn reported.
(http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-violates-ceasefire-in-jks-akhnoor-sector/article9171433.ece) Indian media reports said that Pakistan began provocative actions Saturday with firing at Indian positions in Jammu and Kashmir's Akhnoor sector of the International Border.
"Pakistan Rangers targeted Border Security Force positions on the International Border in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district today (Saturday) morning. Rangers used small arms and automatics," police sources told local news agency IANS. "BSF (India's Border Security Force) has retaliated Pakistan firing using same calibre weapons. Intermittent firing exchanges are still going on in the area."
On Saturday, Indian media reported that Army units under Western Command have been directed to maintain a high level of preparedness to respond to any level of threat. The Chief of Army Staff Gen. Dalbir Singh is expected to visit the Western Command headquarters to review the operational situation.
Ongoing tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations escalated after India carried out the surgical strikes against Pakistan days after 19 Indian soldiers were killed during an attack at a military base in Uri on Sept. 18. Pakistan said it had nothing to do with the militant attack.
On Wednesday, India pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit scheduled to be held in November in Islamabad. The summit was postponed after Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Japan also pulled out.
After Pakistan announced postponement, Maldives backed out of the summit, seeking a "conducive environment" for the eight-nation bloc's gathering.
"The Government of Maldives has urged the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to create an environment conducive for holding the 19th Saarc Summit," the Maldives Foreign Ministry (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/live-updates-on-india-surgical-strikes-on-pak-rajnath-chairs-high-level-security-meet/liveblog/54580305.cms) said in a statement late Friday.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai backed India's surgical strikes against Pakistan.
"Indian Army's surgical strikes on terrorist sanctuaries is a justified step in order to defend their land," Karzai said. "Afghanistan has been a victim of terrorism and fundamentalism for years. We feel need of such military ops more than anyone else."