New Delhi/Jammu: India on Tuesday lodged a protest with Pakistan over escalating border ceasefire violations in the "heaviest" cross-border firing since the 1971 Indo-Pak war even as the two countries agreed to hold flag meetings to defuse the situation.
The protest was lodged during the telephonic talks between the DGMOs (Director General Military Operations) of the two countries, Army sources said in Delhi, adding it was held around 12 PM for about 10 minutes during which "all relevant issues" were raised,
During the talks, the Indian side is understood to have raised the issue of increasing ceasefire violations and lodged a protest over the issue, the sources said.
There have been 95 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) and it has also breached the ceasefire pact 25 times on the International Border (IB). "The two sides have agreed to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation," the sources said.
The DGMOs -- Lieutenant General PR Kumar from India and Major General Amir Riaz from Pakistan -- discussed the border situation during their talks on hotline which takes place every Tuesday.
The DGMOs hold talks every week during which they discuss issues related to the LoC and other areas.
The BSF said the firing by Pakistani forces in the last 45 days was possibly the "heaviest" since the 1971 war. "Yes it is (the heaviest firing) for last so many years -- I think may be after the 1971 war. 45 days is a very long period for this kind of thing to happen", BSF Director General DK Pathak told reporters in Jammu.
Giving details of the pattern of the firing, Pathak said "as you are aware the firing took place for the last 45 days, to be more precise since the first incident of sniper took place on July 17 when a jawan died in the incident. It lasted for about 10 days or so. Then, there was a brief lull. This month, there was firing through out the nights and some times during day time also".
The firing from across the border on all posts is going on, he said, adding firing is also targeting civilian areas.
Asked about the decision to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation, Pathak said, "I hope peace prevails. We have made so many efforts..."
"We have made all possible efforts to stop it (ceasefire violations and firing). We tried four to five times to hold flag meetings. But they (the Pakistani side) did not respond to it... They never turned up," Pathak said after a whirlwind visit to the forward areas along the IB.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley also held a meeting with the three Services chiefs during which they discussed the ceasefire violations by Pakistan and the Indian response.