Pakistan, India exchange more shots across border

Indian soldiers standing guard at the army camp in Baramulla in Indian Kashmir that was attacked in an overnight militant raid.
Indian soldiers standing guard at the army camp in Baramulla in Indian Kashmir that was attacked in an overnight militant raid.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Skirmish in Kashmir follows militant raid on Indian army camp in which soldier was killed

ISLAMABAD • Pakistani and Indian troops 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 yesterday, which came five days after India said its troops had crossed the border to carry out "surgical strikes" across the Line of Control (LoC), which separates the disputed territory. Pakistan has denied the claim.

"Indian troops yet again resorted to unprovoked firing after midnight at the Line of Control in the Iftikharabad sector and Pakistani troops befittingly responded," the Pakistani military said in a statement yesterday, adding that the exchange ended in the morning.

It said troops also responded to unprovoked Indian firing in the Nezapir and Kailer sectors.

The latest exchange came after suspected militants fired on an army camp in the Indian Kashmir town of Baramulla late on Sunday, killing one trooper, before they were repelled.

Senior local police official Imtiyaz Hussain Mir told the media yesterday that between two and four militants were involved in the attack, which also injured a trooper.

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 Sept 18, 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on the Uri army base, which India blamed on Pakistan-backed militants.

India launched retaliatory "surgical strikes" in the early hours of last Thursday against militant camps on the Pakistani side of the LoC. Pakistan denied that any such attack had taken place.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have been at odds over Kashmir ever since independence nearly 70 years ago, fighting two of their three wars - the most recent one in 1971 - over the territory that they each rule in part but claim in full.

India's announcement that it had conducted the cross-border raid was the first in decades and raised international fears that its campaign to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and punish it militarily could lead to an armed escalation.

Meanwhile, Indian police said yesterday that they have taken a pigeon into custody after it was found carrying a warning note to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Pathankot, near the border with Pakistan.

The note was apparently signed by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, "so we are investigating the matter very seriously", Pathankot police inspector Rakesh Kumar told Agence France-Presse by telephone.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Pakistan, India exchange more shots across border'. Print Edition | Subscribe