Pakistan accuses India of hampering its terror fight

Indian youth Rahul Kumar, injured in cross border firing between Indian and Pakistan troops, being taken to hospital in Jammu on Jan 3, 2015. Pakistan on Tuesday took aim at arch-rival India accusing it of hampering its military operation agains
Indian youth Rahul Kumar, injured in cross border firing between Indian and Pakistan troops, being taken to hospital in Jammu on Jan 3, 2015. Pakistan on Tuesday took aim at arch-rival India accusing it of hampering its military operation against militants by escalating tensions along the Kashmir border. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan on Tuesday took aim at arch-rival India accusing it of hampering its military operation against militants by escalating tensions along the Kashmir border.

Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire along their tense border on Monday, killing four civilians including a teenage boy and a soldier, the latest in a series of deadly clashes.

"The People of Pakistan see the escalation of tension by India on the Line of Control and Working Boundary, through continuous unprovoked firing and targeting of civilians, as an attempt to distract our armed forces from its valiant mission against all terrorists," foreign ministry spokesman Tasnim Aslam said in a statement.

The Pakistani military launched a major offensive against militant hideouts in the north-western tribal areas bordering Afghanistan in June and says it has killed more than 1,700 militants so far, while 126 soldiers have lost their lives.

"The baseless and preposterous Indian allegations regarding the so called "terror boat" from Pakistan are also in the same vein," Ms Aslam added, referring to a Pakistani fishing boat that blew up and sank after a high-speed chase at sea on New Year's eve.

All four people on board the vessel are believed to have been killed in the dramatic episode in the Arabian Sea as the crew tried to evade capture at the hands of the Indian navy, according to the Indian defence ministry.

Ms Aslam said that India was also trying to create a wedge between Pakistan and Afghanistan by creating "misunderstanding", echoing a commonly traded accusation between that each other is using proxy forces to try to gain influence in that country.

Tensions between South Asia's arch rivals escalated last week when an Indian border guard and two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers were killed during exchanges of heavy fire.

Recent exchanges of fire across the de facto border, known as the Line of Control (LoC) have killed more than two dozen civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes on both sides.

Pakistan and India, who have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, have traded blame for the upsurge in firing and shelling which started on Oct 6 last year.

India called off peace talks last August after Pakistan first consulted Kashmiri separatists, a move some saw as a sign of a tougher stance by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new right-wing government.