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Central & South Asia

Indian envoy summoned over Kashmir clash

Indian High Commissioner told latest incident, in which Pakistan says one of its soldiers was killed, is 'unacceptable'.
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2013 11:16

Pakistan has summoned the Indian ambassador to Islamabad to protest against the death of another Pakistani soldier in what it said was a second cross-border attack by Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir.

A Pakistani spokesperson  said that the soldier was killed on Thursday - the third deadly incident and fourth death reported in five days in the disputed Himalayan region, which is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan but ruled in part by each.

The Indian envoy was told that the attacks were "unacceptable", Pakistan's foreign ministry said.

Pakistan said the soldier died as a result of "unprovoked" fire from India.

The Pakistani government called on India to investigate the "repeated" violations of a ceasefire that has largely held since 2003. It also repeated its offer for an independent inquiry to be held under the auspices of the United Nations, an offer India has rejected.

On the ground, more than 300 people demonstrated in Pakistani-administered Kashmir on Friday, condemning Indian aggression and accusing Indian troops of ceasefire violations, police said.

The crowd condemned the killings of Pakistan soldiers in the state capital Muzaffarabad and dispersed peacefully, local police chief Raja Shafqat told AFP.

Earlier tensions

India had earlier summoned Pakistan's envoy in New Delhi to lodge a "strong protest", accusing a group of Pakistani soldiers it said had crossed the heavily militarised LoC in Kashmir of "barbaric and inhuman" behaviour.

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An Indian army spokesman said Pakistan opened fire and Indian soldiers retaliated.

The US has urged the nuclear-armed rivals to cool tensions along the heavily militarised de facto border in divided Kashmir.

On Tuesday, India said two of its soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops and one of them was beheaded. Pakistan denied any responsibility, terming that report "propaganda".

Last week the Pakistani army accused India of killing one of its soldiers and wounding another in a cross-border attack. India said its troops had opened fire following a Pakistani mortar attack, but denied they crossed the border.

Cross-border trade stalled 

While the two sides traded accusations, the situation on the border continued to escalate, affecting cross-border trade, according to Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javid. 

"Pakistan has recently granted India most-favoured status with regard to trade," Bin Javid said. "And the tension in Kashmir is already affecting those who were benefiting from good ties." 

Alongside the disputed border area, Indian traders remain stranded after Pakistan refused to allow Indian trucks to cross the border following the ceasefire violation controversy.

Talking to reporters in Poonch district of the state on Friday, traders said that they would incur huge losses if they were not allowed to trade.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory, has been the cause of two of their three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

A ceasefire has been in force along the Line of Control since 2003 despite sporadic violations on both sides.

Despite the recent killings, both countries have appeared determined to prevent the violence from wrecking a fragile peace process, which resumed in 2011.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, two of them over Kashmir, and both are now nuclear-armed powers.

India considers the entire Kashmir region of snow-capped mountains and fertile valleys an integral part of its territory.

Muslim Pakistan contests that and demands implementation of a 1948 UN Security Council resolution for a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the mostly Muslim people of Kashmir.

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