Armed forces free to respond as appropriate: Antony

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LOCJammu August 12;Even as the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir remains tense in the wake of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Monday said that armed forces were free to respond to the situation “appropriately”.

Refusing to answer questions on politics by journalists in Kochi after the launch ceremony of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, Mr. Antony said that Parliament was in session and he would not reply to any question about his two statements In Parliament on the killing of five Indian soldiers at the LoC in Poonch sector that had created a storm.

He was asked about the situation on the LoC and his directions to the Army after the incident on the LoC. “Armed forces are free to respond to developing situation there (on the LoC) appropriately”,’ Mr. Antony said.

PTI adds:

Pakistani troops on Monday violated the ceasefire for the fifth time in the last three days by targeting forward Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch district with mortar shells, rockets and small arms firing.

The Indian troops, guarding the borderline, took positions and retaliated resulting in heavy exchanges.

“Pakistan troops opened heavy firing with small arms, mortar shells and rockets on Indian forward posts along LoC in Poonch and Durga Battalion areas around 0150 hours”, Defence Spokesman S.N. Acharya said on Monday.

“It was yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan”, the Spokesman said, adding the firing took place from 0150 hours till 0600 hours.

There was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the Pakistani firing, Mr. Acharya said.

Pakistani troops fired at 11 posts in Digwar, Mankote and Durga Battalion areas along the LoC in Poonch.

This is fifth ceasefire violation by Pakistan troops in the past three days.

Pakistani troops had fired at Durga Battalion area with small arms firing and mortars along LoC in Poonch around 2150 hours on Sunday night. The firing continued for three hours and Army troops from this side retaliated, he said.

There have been 57 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops this year from January 1 to August 5, which is 80 per cent more than the corresponding period last year.

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