LoC Tension: No response from Pakistan to India's demand for flag meeting

Jammu, Jan.12 (ANI): Tension continued to simmer and prevail along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan on Saturday, a day after cross-LoC firing was reported on at least eight border posts.

There are also reports of a troop build-up on both sides of the border.

Pakistan has so far not responded to requests from India and its army for a flag meeting at the brigade level to de-escalate tension along the LoC.

Indian intelligence intercepts reveal that the Pakistani Army has cancelled all leaves and ordered its troops to report for duty.

According to sources, Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and the three service chiefs are likely to brief Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Saturday on the latest situation prevailing along the LoC.

The Indian side has been bolstered with the presence of additional Border Action Task Force personnel. Surveillance has been heightened with both the Army and Air Force deploying unmanned aerial vehicles in areas over Poonch and Rajouri sectors.

Sources said Pakistani troops fired intermittently at eight Indian border posts on the LoC in Krishna Ghati and Sonagali around Mendhar sector and Poonch on Friday.

The firing lasted for 20 minutes.

On Friday, India confirmed that Pakistan has suspended cross-border trade.

"As per our understanding, because of some circumstances in one sector, neither trucks nor buses could go," said Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.

Also, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani summoned India's High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to protest against "repeated", "unacceptable" and "unprovoked" attacks by the Indian Army which led to the death of a Pakistani soldier on Thursday.

Jilani asked India to "investigate violations of ceasefire by Indian troops" and "emphasised that such unprovoked attacks were against the spirit of the ongoing peace process".

Sabharwal said India's troops undertook "controlled retaliation" in the face of "unprovoked firing".

Akbaruddin emphasised on the sanctity of the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, established after the Shimla agreement of 1972, and said this was the most important confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan also reiterated its demand for a United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) probe, but India maintains that that following the Shimla agreement in 1972 and the establishment of the LoC, the UNMOGIP has no relevance or role to play whatsoever.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also been briefed on the tense border situation by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon. (ANI)

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