Indian, Pakistani troops exchange fire in Kashmir
GUN battles raged on the disputed border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, two days after a deadly raid on an army base that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
Eighteen soldiers died in the September 18 attack, which was the worst of its kind to hit the divided Himalayan region in more than a decade and has increased hostility between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Pakistan has rejected claims as “unfounded”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern over the violence in Kashmir, urging both sides to reduce tensions.
“The secretary reiterated the need for Pakistan to prevent terrorists from using Pakistani territory as safe havens,” the State Department said after Mr Kerry met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York.
Colonel Rajesh Kalia of the Indian army said there had been a “ceasefire violation” near Uri, where the September 18 attack took place, but gave no further details. Uri is near the India’s Line of Control (LoC) which divides the disputed territory.
Colonel Kalia said troops in the same area had blocked an attempt by suspected militants to cross the LoC into Indian-administered Kashmir.
“A group of 10 to 12 terrorists attempted to infiltrate the Uri sector. They were intercepted and the infiltration bid was foiled,” he told AFP.
The Press Trust of India said 10 suspected militants had been killed in the incident but this could not immediately be confirmed.
Another army spokesperson said they were battling an unknown number of militants in Nowgam sector, south of Uri, who were trying to sneak into the Indian side on the heavily militarised border.
“This second infiltration bid has also been foiled and the operation is ongoing. Unfortunately we lost one soldier there,” Colonel Manish Kumar said, adding there was no information about any other casualties.
The exchange on September 20 was the first since the army base raid by suspected Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Several rebel groups have fought an estimated 500,000 Indian forces deployed in the territory, demanding independence for the Muslimmajority region or its merger with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the fighting, most of them civilians. –
Indian Muslims shout anti-Pakistan slogans while protesting in Mumbai on September 20 following a militant attack on the Uri army base in Indianadministered Kashmir that killed 18 Indian soldiers.