PM directs due compensation to people displaced by Pak firing

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed payment of suitable compensation to people displaced from the border villages of Jammu and Kashmir due to dastardly acts of shelling by Pakistan over the last few days.

Details of the compensation will be announced in due course, according to an official announcement made today.

Almost 20,000 civilians in India have fled their homes in the border lowlands around the Jammu region to escape the fighting, taking refuge in schools and relief camps.

India and Pakistan exchanged more gun and mortar fire across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on Thursday, injuring five civilians, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted an end could be in sight for the worst cross-border violence in a decade.

A total of nine Pakistani and eight Indian civilians have been killed since fighting erupted more than week ago along a 200-km stretch of border in the Valley.

"Everything will be fine soon," Modi told reporters after a meeting with the country's air chief late on Wednesday.

India and Pakistan accuse each other of targeting civilians and unprovoked violations of a border truce that has largely held since 2003.

Indian forces retaliated to gunfire and mortar shells on about 50 border security posts overnight, a senior border security official said. The firing was still going on intermittently in some areas on Thursday morning, the official said.

India held a meeting on Wednesday of its top security officials to discuss how to handle the conflict. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called a similar meeting on Friday.

Despite Modi's suggestion of a quick resolution, there have been few moves to lower tensions.

Since heavy fighting broke out four days ago there has only been one phone call between the two militaries. The usual way of de-escalating clashes is to call a meeting of senior officials at the border, but no such meeting has been held this time.

One senior Indian Army officer in Kashmir said the ongoing violence suits both nations with Pakistan's army taking a more assertive role in politics and India's new nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi promising a more robust foreign policy.

"You need a strict discipline to be imposed by both sides and that only happens if there is a commitment from the leadership to do that," said Talat Masood, a retired lieutenant general in the Pakistan army. "It seems right now there is a lack of commitment on both sides to rein it."