Army chief General Bikram Singh, along with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Army chief-designate Lt-Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, briefed Prime Minister Modi on the national security situation for three hours on Friday. The briefing touched upon the situation on the Line of Control, as well as on possible Indian military responses to provocation, sources told The Hindu.

“The briefing was broad-based. It was a detailed review of the security situation, including the internal security situation. The status of operational readiness was also discussed besides the future challenges that need to be attended to,” a defence spokesperson said. Union Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled for Saturday even as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire along the Line of Control through Friday.

The fighting, military sources said, was most intense in the frontline villages of Tarkundi and Kanga, both abandoned by their residents in 1999 in the midst of India-Pakistan artillery exchanges. Indian forces, the sources said, targeted troops at a Pakistani forward position that the military believes facilitated the ambush. Sepoy Shankar Singh of 20 Jat Regiment was killed on Thursday and three other soldiers injured when an improvised explosive device placed on the path between the villages exploded as they passed by.

The barbed wire and electronic fencing, which guards against infiltration, runs roughly a kilometre and a half behind the Line of Control, leaving troops relatively vulnerable to ambushes by insurgents and irregulars fighting alongside Pakistani troops.

Neither government reported casualties in the exchanges, though Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted that there were “reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas,” killing livestock.

Keywords: LoC firing

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