India protests Pakistani rangers firing

New Delhi, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:30am hrs
India on Thursday lodged a protest with Pakistan after two of its soldiers were wounded on Wednesday in a shooting incident near the international border in Kashmir. This time, it was the Pakistan rangers in the Akhnoor sector and not the Army which violated the ceasefire between the two countries.

We have underlined the need for urgent flag meeting of border forces of the two countries to prevent recurrence of such incidents and have already taken up the matter with Pakistan, external affairs ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told mediapersons. The Indian protest was conveyed by external affairs ministry to Pakistan High Commission, here, and by Indian High Commission to Pakistan Foreign Ministry in Islamabad. Responding to a query, Sarna said Pakistan government was asked to direct the Rangers to accept BSF's request for Flag meeting at an early date to resolve the issue and prevent recurrence.

However, the Pakistan military later issued a statement saying Indian accusations about the incident were ludicrous and fabricated and that there was firing from the Indian side. A truce has been working well since it came into effect in November 2003, as part of peace efforts between the two nuclear-armed rivals, and violations have been a rarity. The Indian official said the two armymen were wounded when their patrol was fired at after challenging suspected separatist militants.