5 Indian soldiers, 5 suspected militants killed in gun battle in India's disputed Kashmir region

SRINAGAR (REUTERS) - Five Indian soldiers and five suspected militants were killed in a gun battle near the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday (March 21), a senior police official said.

The militants attacked security forces carrying out a search operation in forests around Kupwara, 95km north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, said Kupwara senior superintendent of police Shamsher Hussain.

"They are all Pakistanis and have probably infiltrated a few days ago," Sr Supt Hussain said.

The fighting had ended and the search operation was continuing, he said.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming militants and helping them infiltrate across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir. Pakistan denies those allegations.

The South Asian neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.