At least four people, including two Pakistani and an Indian soldier, have been killed in an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops in the disputed region of Kashmir, officials on both sides said.
The Pakistani soldiers were killed in the Dewa area of the mountainous region, Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday. He claimed three Indian soldiers were killed in the exchange.
However, Indian army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia on Thursday said one Indian officer and a civilian were killed in firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Rampur sector of Indian-administered Kashmir.
LoC is the de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir region between the two countries.
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi condemned the latest ceasefire violation and paid tributes to the two soldiers killed, accusing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of looking to disrupt peace in the region, The Associated Press news agency reported on Thursday.
Tensions over Kashmir
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three full-scale wars over the mountainous territory of Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of, divided by the LoC.
Since 2003, a ceasefire has been in place along the LoC, but violations by both sides are frequent, particularly at times of high tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Since February, shelling and mortar fire across the LoC has become more frequent, after a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir killed more than 40 soldiers, prompting India to blame Pakistan.
The resulting military conflict saw India launch air attacks on Pakistani soil, with Pakistan retaliating and shooting down an Indian fighter jet.
Tensions eased when Pakistan returned the pilot of the aircraft days later but violence at the LoC has continued unabated.
It escalated again in August after India revoked a special constitutional status for Indian-administered Kashmir that allowed it limited autonomy, a move accompanied by a widespread security crackdown to quell protests against it.
Large parts of the territory remain under a security lockdown and curfew, including communications blockades.
Earlier this month, Qureshi wrote a letter to the UN Security Council, claiming India was deploying cruise missiles and other armaments to forward positions near the LoC, escalating both sides’ military posture.
With inputs from Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent Asad Hashim in Islamabad