Pakistan: Indian Forces Kill 3 Pakistani Soldiers in Kashmir

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani army officials say Indian forces fired across the de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir early Wednesday, killing three Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan's army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told reporters Thursday that the shooting was “unprovoked.” He said the soldiers had been moving between posts in the Neelam valley before the gunfire erupted.

However, Indian army spokesman J.S. Brar said Indian forces only opened fire across the contentious border after incoming fire killed an Indian soldier. Brar said the army was trying to repel an infiltration attempt by Pakistani militants.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Cross-border clashes occur occasionally across the so-called Line of Control that splits the region, with both sides often blaming each other for exchanges of gunfire.

This latest exchange of gunfire comes after Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, met in the Indian capital last month. The foreign ministers vowed to fight militancy, boost trade and sustain the peace process between the longtime rival nations.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.