India, Pakistan in Kashmir clash

India says that the Pakistani troops have now retreated

An Indian soldier has been killed by Pakistani troops who crossed the Line of Control dividing the disputed territory of Kashmir, India says.

A spokesman for the Indian army, Anil Kumar Mathur, told the BBC that 10 to 12 Pakistani soldiers had entered Indian territory.

He said that shots were exchanged after an argument, and that firing had continued until Monday evening.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Lt Col Mathur said that the Pakistani troops were protesting over an Indian post set up on the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowgam sector.

Indian and Pakistani troops have observed a ceasefire since 2003

He said that one Indian soldier was wounded before the Pakistani soldiers retreated to their side of the LoC, firing at Indian soldiers as they did so. Indian troops returned fire and clashes are reported to be continuing.

Pakistan’s army spokesman said he had no information on the clash.

It is not yet clear whether any Pakistani troops were killed or injured.

The BBC’s Altaf Hussain in Srinagar – the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir – says that that two sides have on several occasions accused each other of violating the ceasefire along the LoC since it was declared in November 2003.

Our correspondent says that despite the alleged violations, the ceasefire has so far held after months of relative peace.

Bus blast

But the Kashmir Valley has seen a number of attacks in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, police said that at least nine Indian soldiers were killed in an explosion triggered by suspected militants.

More than 20 others were hurt in that attack, which happened when a bus carrying troops about to go on leave was caught in the blast in the Narbal area, close to Srinagar.

The Hizbul Mujahideen militant group called the BBC office in Srinagar to claim responsibility for the bus blast.

Last week, police said that at least five people were killed in another attack blamed on militants – either caused by a bomb or a hand grenade.

Correspondents say that firing incidents across the LoC are rare, but allegations of ceasefire breaches underline how fragile the peace is.

In May, the Indian army said there had been “unprovoked” firing on two ocassions from Pakistani troops, killing an Indian soldier.

The latest violence comes after talks between senior officials from India and Pakistan to step up confidence-building measures in divided Kashmir.

The two countries both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.Monday, 28 July 2008

Source: BBC News

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