Fire exchanged across India-Pakistan border in Kashmir

Pakistani and Indian forces trade fire along LoC in disputed Kashmir region, killing at least nine over past two days.

Unified separatist leaders meeting in Kashmir
Kashmiris have stepped up their calls for independence from Indian rule as they accuse Indian forces of severe abuses [EPA]

India and Pakistan have accused each other of violating a ceasefire along the Line of Control – the de facto border – separating the two South Asian rivals.

The Indian army said on Wednesday that one of its soldiers was killed by Pakistani sniper fire in the Machil sector of Indian-administered Kashmir. The Indian army said two of its soldiers were killed in a separate Pakistani attack a day earlier in Naushera sector.

Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told the AFP news agency that the Indian soldiers retaliated by targeting the Pakistan army posts across the Line of Control, or LoC, that divides the disputed Kashmir region between the two nations.

On Wednesday, Pakistan accused India of a ceasefire violation after at least four of its civilians were killed in cross-border firing.

The dead included a 10-year-old girl and her mother, according to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, which said that a senior Indian diplomat was summoned for the “unprovoked ceasefire violation on November 8”.

Seven others were also injured in the incident, which occurred in the Khuirata and Battal sectors of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

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In a separate incident, Indian troops shot dead two suspected fighters in a gun battle in the Sopore area of Indian-administered Kashmir after receiving a tip-off.

“Two terrorists were killed and two weapons were recovered from their bodies,” Colonel Kalia said.

The latest exchanges of fire come as ties worsen between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tensions between the two countries have soared since September when fighters attacked an Indian army base in Kashmir, leaving 19 soldiers dead.

Since then the two sides have engaged in cross-border fire almost daily leading to the deaths of soldiers and civilians on both sides.

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New Delhi blamed the September attack on Pakistan-based armed groups and attacked what it called “terrorist launching pads” along LoC in retaliatory strike.

Pakistan denied the strikes took place and the two sides have since expelled diplomats from their countries in a tit-for-tat row.

The border attacks come against the backdrop of months of protests against Indian rule in Kashmir, sparked by the killing of a popular rebel leader in July.

Nearly 90 people, most of them young protesters, have been killed in clashes with security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir since then.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

Source: News Agencies