India and Pakistan exchange fire in Kashmir
NEW DELHI — Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire over the border that divides the disputed province of Kashmir late Wednesday night, military officials in both countries said Thursday.
Each accused the other of starting the shooting. Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the Pakistani army spokesman, said that Indian soldiers had killed three Pakistani soldiers in a volley of gunfire that was “totally unprovoked.”
But Col. J.S. Brar, a spokesman for the Indian army in Kashmir, said that the shooting began over an infiltration attempt by Pakistani militants on Tuesday night and that Indian troops had fired across the contentious border only after incoming fire wounded one of their soldiers. An Indian officer was killed, he added.
“The Indian army has never violated the cease-fire,” Brar said.
Abbas said that Indian soldiers fired on three Pakistani paramilitary soldiers who were moving from one post to another in the Neelum Valley.
“They were engaged by fire from across the Line of Control,” Abbas said, referring to√Ç¬†the line that divides the disputed territory between the two estranged neighbors. “Subsequently, they lost their way, and later on their bodies were recovered yesterday.”
Brar described the episode as an “infiltration attempt,” adding that if “anybody tries to infiltrate to our side, whether a soldier or a terrorist, we will try to stop it.”
For more than six years, the two countries have maintained a cease-fire along the Line of Control. Brar insisted that the cease-fire had not been violated, but Abbas said that it had.
“We strongly protest this unprovoked violation of the cease-fire,” he said. “Three troops lost their lives. This is serious business. We would like to know why it happened, and why our troops were fired upon.”