Islamabad, (AFP): Pakistani and Indian troops on Monday exchanged fresh fire across their de facto border in Kashmir, Pakistan’s military said, following an overnight militant raid on an Indian army camp in which one trooper was killed.
No casualties were reported in the latest skirmish, which came five days after India said its troops had crossed the border to carry out “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control which separates the disputed territory — a claim Pakistan has flatly denied.
“Indian troops yet again resorted to unprovoked firing after midnight at the Line of Control (LoC) in Iftikharabad sector and Pakistani troops befittingly responded,” Pakistan’s military said in a statement Monday, adding the exchange ended in the morning.
It said troops also responded to unprovoked Indian firing in Nezapir and Kailer sectors.
The latest exchange came after suspected militants fired on an army camp in the Indian Kashmir town of Baramulla late Sunday killing one trooper, before being repelled.
Senior local police official Imtiyaz Hussain Mir on Monday told media between two and four militants were involved in the attack, which also injured one trooper.
“There is a big civilian population around the camp because of which we could not go all out. Otherwise there would have been civilian casualties. They took advantage of the darkness and used civilian houses as a shield to escape,” he said.
Tensions have been high in the region since the killing of a young Kashmiri separatist in July, which was followed by weeks of imposed curfew and deadly protests in the Indian-controlled portion.
On September 18, 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on the Uri army base, which India blamed on Pakistan-backed militants.
Last week India launched what it termed “surgical strikes” across the LoC in what would be a significant blow to Pakistan, which prides itself on its military prowess. Pakistan said troops had not crossed and two of its soldiers had been killed in small arms fire.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain seven decades ago, two of them over Kashmir. Both claim the region in full.
A number of armed separatist groups in the Indian-controlled part of the picturesque territory have for decades been fighting to break free from New Delhi.