Soldier and girl, 7, killed in Pak firing in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar: A soldier and a seven-year-old girl were killed in firing this morning by Pakistani troops along the border at Jammu and Kashmir. India put out a strong warning to Pakistan, with its top military commander making it clear that the army “reserved the right to retaliate appropriately” to ceasefire violations.

Two civilians were also injured in the firing at Poonch where the little girl was killed. The girl, identified as Saida of Balakote in Poonch district, died when she was hit by a Pakistani shell, news agency IANS reported.

A jawan was killed in firing at Rajouri. The army said soldier Mudasir Ahmad was hit when mortar shells landed on his bunker at around 7:30 am. The 37-year-old father of two was a brave and sincere soldier and “loved his job to the core”, the army said.

According to an official statement, India’s Director General of Military Operations Lt General AK Bhatt, in an exchange over the hotline with his Pakistani counterpart, “Made it implicit that Indian Army reserved the right to retaliate appropriately to any incident of violation of ceasefire but is sincere in its effort of maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Control provided there was reciprocity.”

The officer also emphasized that all cease-fire violations had been were initiated by Pakistan. He said that the “trend of infiltration along the LoC continued with the active support of Pakistan forward posts”.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Manish Mehta said the firing exchanges are still ongoing. The Indian Army was retaliating strongly and effectively, he added.

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