Indian army major, soldier killed in LoC fire exchange

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India has stressed that any collateral damage in the cross-border firings is due to the Pakistan army's "unacceptable" support to cross-border terrorism and infiltration as well as its strategy to deploy civilians at forward posts to gain intelligence and act as guides to terrorists crossing the LoC. "The Indian Army has retaliated strongly and effectively on the Pakistan Army posts".

A defence spokesman said Pakistani troops targeted the Army patrol at Brat Galla in Keri sector at around 1215 hours.

But a police officer said later that the soldiers seemed to have died in an attack by the Border Action Team, manned by Pakistani commandos and militants, that appeared to have crossed the LoC.

There was no immediate comment from Pakistani authorities.

According to reports, the deceased major has been identified as Prafool Kumar of 120 Infantry Brigade. "It happened around 12.15 pm", a source said. Two other personnel also sustained injuries and are under medical treatment.

Sepoy Pargat Singh (30) belonged to Karnal district in Haryana and is survived by wife Ramanpreet Kaur and a son, the Army said. "Pakistan will have to pay a heavy price for it", said Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowshera.

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Tensions between Pakistan and India have been running high in the Himalayan territory for a long time. They have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Earlier this week, junior home minister Hansraj Ahir informed the Lok Sabha that 881 ceasefire violations took place along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir this year, killing at least 30 people including soldiers.

"Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti paid rich tributes to the Army Major and three jawans who were killed in an incident of cross-border shelling at Keri sector in Rajouri district", an official spokesperson said.

She has conveyed her heartfelt sympathies to the families of slain troopers.

Singh while expressing condolences with the bereaved families, prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.

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