ISLAMABAD - The recent firing incidents along the Line of Control have heightened tensions between Pakistan and India at a time when Pakistan's new government is trying to improve relations with the neighbouring country.

There had been a lull earlier this year. But reports about LoC confrontations started surfacing in July when Nawaz Sharif reiterated to develop friendly ties with India after assuming the office of prime minister for the third time.

A senior defence analyst holds the extremist mindset at the either side responsible for the border hostilities. "There are hawkish elements here and there; they are averse to every positive move,” says Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi. “We have religious parties and banned outfits that think their survival lies in India bashing. On the other hand, hardliners in India are trying to cash in on anti-Pakistani sentiments in a bid to rope in the electorate ahead of Indian parliamentary elections."

Nevertheless, top military commanders of the two countries headed into talks on Wednesday on hotline to reduce tension along the LoC in the wake of unprovoked firing by Indian troops in Pando sector that wounded two Pakistani soldiers a day earlier.

The two directors general of military operations (DGMOs) established a special hotline contact in the morning and discussed the situation arising out of the recent Indian allegations on the LoC. Hours before Pakistan lodged protest with India over the border incident, India accused Pakistani military of killing five Indian soldiers in Poonch sector.  Hassan Rizvi opines that the subject of improvement in Pak-India relations needed to be taken up at the policy level, both militarily and diplomatically. "Extensive and intensive policy formulation and implementation would greatly help iron out the differences," he adds.  Few days back, the army said unprovoked firing from Indian side at the LoC near Rawlakot killed a Pakistani soldier, Asim Iqbal, and injured another, Muhammad Khan.

After the incident, Indian army allegedly resorted to unprovoked firing at Pak-India border near Silakot. No loss was reported. Pakistan's military then alleged that an Indian drone violated Pakistan's airspace in Sialkot.

Soon after this episode, Indian army accused Pakistani forces of killing five soldiers in Poonch sector in Indian-held Kashmir, which, Pakistani side refuted. The latest episode to this hostility was added during pre-dawn hours of Wednesday with Pakistan accusing Indian troops of opening fire at Pando Sector near Muzaffarabad leaving two Pakistani soldiers Faisal Shehzad and Azhar Abbas fatally wounded.

"This is extremely unfortunate but this has been the legacy of the security establishments of both the states since these two countries emerged on the world map. There have been radical elements in the security apparatuses of the two neighbours that don't want normalcy," commented a retired base commander Manzoor Hussain. He urged the orthodox and hawkish elements to change their way of thinking. "War-mongering, hatred and violence don't serve anybody for good. Including Kargil, we've fought four wars with India and have seen the result. That's not the right approach. Times have changed and so should be the way of our thinking. Democratic governments must be let play their roles for creating positive Indo-Pak ties. Cooperation and cordiality of relations are the only way forward," added the retired air commodore.

The directors general of military operations had last officially spoke in February this year when the LoC hostility was on an upward trajectory. Analysts however believe the discourse between the two commanders is crucial since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his counterpart Manmohan Singh are slated to meet in New York next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. Dates are also being worked out for their meeting this September.

In November last year Indian bunker construction at the forward posts along the LoC prompted deadly skirmishes that culminated to intense hostility by the start of this year.