Deadly cross-border firing over Kashmir | News | DW | 29.09.2016
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Deadly cross-border firing over Kashmir

Cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops has claimed the lives of at least two Pakistani soldiers in the disputed region of Kashmir. Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors are rising.

Two Pakistani soldiers were killed and nine wounded Thursday in an exchange of fire with Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir, the Pakistani army said on Thursday.

Pakistani forces "befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing" at several points along the de facto border, the army said in a statement.

The two nuclear-armed countries blame each other for starting the flare up.

India said its special forces carried out "surgical strikes" across the heavily militarized line-of-control dividing Kashmir on Thursday to thwart a series of militant attacks being planned against major cities.

"Some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the line-of-control," Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, the army's director-general of military operations told reporters in New Delhi. "The Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads. Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them."

Singh said the Pakistani military had been informed of the operation against the militants.

Pakistan's military denied the attack that killed two of its soldiers was the result of an incursion into its area of control in Kashmir.

"There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India," a Pakistani military statement said.

Neither side's version of events could be independently verified.

India said the cross border operation left two of its soldiers wounded - one after stepping on a landmine and another by gunfire.  An Indian soldier was also captured by Pakistan in another area, both countries confirmed.  

The cross-border skirmishes come as tensions are rising in Indian-administered Kashmir as security forces struggle to contain widening unrest among the Muslim-majority population that has left nearly 80 civilians dead.

The renewed protests erupted in Kashmir after security forces killed a separatist leader on July 8.

Indien Protesten in Kashmir (picture-alliance/Pacific Press/F. Khan)

Indian security forces have struggled to control months of protests despite a curfew.

Words and bullets fly over frontier

Both New Delhi and Islamabad have used the Kashmir unrest to their political advantage.

Pakistan recently warned that India would "disintegrate" after Kashmir gained independence.

India is trying to isolate Pakistan diplomatically following a cross-border militant attack that killed 18 Indian soldiers on September 18. India accuses Pakistan of arming rebels fighting for independence or union with Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the attack "would not go unpunished."

Pakistan denies involvement in what New Delhi insists was a violation of a 2003 ceasefire agreement.

India accuses Pakistan of arming rebels fighting for independence or union with Pakistan.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the predominantly Muslim region. More than 50,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

cw/jar/blc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

 

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