The armies of India and Pakistan fired on each other’s position on the line-of-control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region, Indian officials said on Saturday.

The incident took place Friday evening in Mendhar sector of frontier Poonch district, around 185 km southwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-occupied Kashmir.

“Pakistani army violated ceasefire last evening and fired small arms and mortars on our positions in Mendhar area,” said S N Acharya, Indian army spokesman in Jammu. “Our side also retaliated in an effective manner to Pakistani firing.”

Intermittent firing from both sides lasted for more than two hours, Indian media reported.

The fresh exchange of fire between armies of the two nuclear neighbors came after three days of calm. Since Tuesday no such violation was reported anywhere along the 720 km-long LoC dividing Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani controlled parts.

Skirmishes between the two sides have happened almost daily since Aug. 10. Majority of them took place on LoC in Poonch.

Both India and Pakistan blamed each other for resorting to unprovoked firing that triggered skirmishes resulting in civilian and troop casualties on either side.

On Aug. 6, five Indian troops were killed and another wounded in a deadly ambush near Sarla in Poonch. India accused Pakistani troops of entering into its territory and carrying out the attack, a charge Pakistan denied.

Following the incident reports said so far three Pakistani troops including an officer were killed in Indian firing on LoC.

The confrontation has heightened tension between New Delhi and Islamabad and overshadowed resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue process.

Reports said both countries are making efforts for a meeting between Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

New Delhi and Islamabad in 2003 agreed to observe ceasefire along the international border and LoC in Kashmir. Though some violations have been reported on both sides, the ceasefire remains in effect.

 

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