Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Pakistan Accused of Killing 2 Kashmir Indian Soldiers

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Pakistan Accused of Killing 2 Kashmir Indian Soldiers

Article excerpt

Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded gunfire on Tuesday in Kashmir for the second time in three days, this time leading to Indian claims that the Pakistanis had killed two Indian soldiers.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded gunfire on Tuesday in the disputed territory of Kashmir for the second time in three days, this time leading to Indian claims that the Pakistanis had killed two Indian soldiers.

The sudden surge in fatal combat is a troubling development in Kashmir, a disputed mountainous area that has been a focus of bitter tensions between the neighbors over six decades. A cease-fire has been in place for almost 10 years.

While both sides have exchanged angry allegations of cross- border infiltration, the episodes have received muted news coverage and showed few signs of escalating into a diplomatic crisis.

The Indian military said fighting erupted on Tuesday on its side of the de facto border, the Line of Control, when an Indian patrol clashed with Pakistani troops who had crept across under the cover of fog.

The Pakistanis retreated after a brief firefight in which two Indian soldiers were killed, an Indian Army officer said.

"The government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it," the Indian Defense Ministry said in a statement. "The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honor the cease-fire agreement strictly."

Pakistan's military quickly rejected that version of events. A military official, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, called it "Indian propaganda" to divert attention from a clash on Sunday in which a Pakistani soldier was reported to have died.

"Pakistan military officials deny Indian allegation of unprovoked firing," the official said in a text message sent to journalists. The official military spokesman was not available for further comment.

It is difficult to discern the truth about clashes in the heights of Kashmir, partly because the terrain is so rugged and remote, but mostly because the area is tightly militarized on both sides and largely out of bounds to reporters. …

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