New Delhi: Border tensions between India and Pakistan continued to escalate on Tuesday, with Pakistan violating the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri districts.

“The Pakistan Army initiated an unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortar bombs from 8.50 am today in the Bhimbher Gali (BG) sector along the LoC (in Poonch district)," the Indian Army said.

The Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively, it added.

Pakistan also resorted to mortar shelling along the LoC in the Tarkundi Gali, Lambi Bari, Khorinar, Dhar and Panjgrain areas of the Manjakote sector in Rajouri on Tuesday morning.

Ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops have increased sharply over the past few years.

According to the Union home ministry, there were a total of 583 cases of ceasefire violations along the International Border (IB) and the LoC in 2014, 405 in 2015, 449 in 2017, and 840 in 2017.

With Pakistani mortar shelling displacing more than 500 villagers, defence experts said that Pakistan was strategically targeting areas based on religious lines.

“Pakistan targets villages in Kathua, Naushera and Poonch near the Jammu sector with a predominant Hindu population because they avoid targeting the Muslim population closer to the valley. By default or design these villages get targeted because of their proximity to the LoC," said Lt. Gen. (retd) H.S. Panag, a defence expert.

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