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Indian troops cross LoC to back up relief efforts

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SRINAGAR, Oct 12: Indian soldiers on Wednesday crossed LoC to rebuild a quake-destroyed bunker, an Indian army spokesman said. “It is unprecedented in the manner that our soldiers have gone across the border to extend help,” Lieutenant Colonel K. Seghal said in Srinagar.

The soldiers crossed a bridge that spans the Line of Control, Col Seghal said.

“A few soldiers from the Pakistani side shouted for help to our boys to clear the debris and in adverse weather conditions our soldiers went across to re-do their flattened bunkers so that they could sleep at night,” he said.

“If they (the Pakistani soldiers) want our help and if we want their help it is no problem,” said an Indian army commander as helicopters from the two sides crisscrossed the usually heavily militarised LoC — something that would usually involve being shot down.

An Indian cargo plane delivered relief supplies for earthquake victims in Pakistan on Wednesday, the first such airlift between the neighbours in decades.

The llyushin-76 flew seven truck loads of army medicines, 15,000 blankets and 50 tents to Pakistan and returned to New Delhi.

A senior Indian airforce official S. C. Mukul said the military had been “asked by the government to be ready to fly out another consignment.”

Mr Mukul’s comment came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India was willing to send Pakistan whatever aid it needs.

“We are willing to supply to Pakistan whatever is on their priority list,” Dr Singh said on Tuesday in Srinagar.—AFP

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