Indian and Pakistani troops today engaged in exchange of fire in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the scene of beheading of Indian soldiers, in fresh tensions as Pakistan closed the gates for cross-border trade at Chakan-Da-Bagh.
In the midst of the skirmishes, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the liberalised Indo-Pak visa agreement would be implemented while Finance Minister P Chidambaram rejected Islamabad's demand for a UN probe into the brutal killing of the two Indian soldiers on Tuesday by Pakistani troops.
Pakistan said it lost one soldier in today's exchange of fire, while claiming that the provocation took place from Indian side which was rejected by Army Headquarters in Delhi.
The Pakistani troops' firing started in the Battal area in Poonch sector at 1630 hours after which Indian troops gave a measured response. The firing ceased at 1810 hours, Army headquarters said here.
The firing took place in the area guarded by the 13 Rajputana Rifles, whose two soldiers Lance Naiks Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj were killed and their bodies were mutilated by Pakistani troops, it said.
India also dismissed Pakistan's allegations that its Army transgressed the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector on Sunday.
In fact, Pakistan had carried out a ceasefire violation on the night of January 5-6 and "controlled retaliation" was carried out by the Indian Army on January 6, an Army press release said today.
These developments came on a day the Pakistani army refused to allow trucks from India carrying goods at cross-Line of Control trade point in Poonch district.
25 trucks carrying goods, mostly vegetables, from India were not allowed to cross the LoC and enter Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir at Chakan-Da-Bagh, officials of the Trade Facilitation Center (TFC) at Poonch said.
Responding to questions, Shinde ruled out putting the new India-Pakistan relaxed visa regime on hold, saying the government was not considering that option despite tension along the Indo-Pak border.
"Whatever agreement has been entered into, it will be carried on. There is no rethinking on visa agreement," he said.
Pakistan's proposal for UN probe into Tuesday's incident in Poonch was rejected by India which made it clear that it does not want to internationalise the issue.
The unprovoked attack by Pakistani troops in Poonch sector on January eight in which the two jawans were killed and subsequent developments figured at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which was briefed about the incident by Defence Minister A K Antony.
"We are certainly not going to agree to internationalise the issue or allow the United Nations to hold an enquiry. That demand is obviously rejected out of hand," Chidambaram told a press conference after the meetings of the Union Cabinet and CCS presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Reacting to Pakistan's proposal, National Security Advisor Shivshanker Menon asserted that the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has no role. "They don't have a role," he said.
Menon rejected reports that the government was rethinking or revisiting the decision to operationalise liberalised Indo-Pak visa pact.
He also said the January 8 incident which can be termed as "reprehensible, barbaric and dastardly" has not happened for the first time but hoped it never happens again. The bodies of the two slain jawans were found in a mutilated condition.
"We take a serious view of what happened...Whatever has to be done will be done," Chidambaram said while describing the incident as brutal. He also asserted that Indian troops had committed no violation of the ceasefire agreement as claimed in a media report.
In a bid to defuse the tension, Army is planning to seek a flag meeting between the formation commanders of India and Pakistan deployed along the Poonch sector of LoC, official sources said tonight.