Indian troops shelling across LOC kills Pakistan army’s captain

August 21, 2013 | By | Reply More

Aug 21, ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani military accused Indian troops on Wednesday of shelling across the disputed Kashmir border and killing an army captain, the latest in a series of alleged attacks over the past two weeks that have sparked tension between the nuclear-armed rivals.

hromedia Indian troops shelling across LOC kills Pakistan army intl. news1The violence along the border threatens to derail an expressed desire from the leaders of both countries to improve relations after decades of war and animosity. A Pakistani military official accused Indian troops of “unprovoked” shelling starting at 11:15 p.m. local time Tuesday night in Shakma sector near the town of Skardu. An army captain was killed and another soldier was seriously wounded, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with military policy.

Pakistani troops responded to the shelling, and the exchange of fire continued for three hours, said the official. There was no immediate response from the Indian army. Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed in its entirety by both. The countries have fought two major wars over the disputed territory since they both gained independence from Britain in 1947.

A 2003 cease-fire agreement has largely calmed the Kashmir border relative to earlier bouts of fighting. The two sides occasionally accuse each other of violating it by firing mortars or gunshots, and several soldiers were killed on each side in January in cross-border attacks.

The latest round of violence began about two weeks ago when, according to the Indian military, 20 heavily armed militants and Pakistani soldiers crossed the Kashmir border and killed five Indian troops.

The Pakistani military has denied that its soldiers killed any Indian troops and accused Indian soldiers of killing a pair of civilians and now an army captain. It has said eight civilians and five soldiers have also been wounded.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his hope that the recent violence wouldn’t derail efforts to improve relations between the two countries. He is especially interested in increasing cross-border trade to jumpstart Pakistan’s economy.

But his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, has said in the wake of the recent attacks that ties with Pakistan could only improve once it prevented Islamic militants from using its territory to target India.

India feels that Islamabad is not doing enough to rein in the militants. It says the Pakistani military has nurtured the militants to fight a covert war over Kashmir, though Pakistan denies the claim.

The militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has strong historical ties to Pakistani intelligence, is widely blamed for carrying out an attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.

Sharif has shown little inclination to crack down on the group, which is based in his party’s stronghold of Punjab province.

Press Journalist for HRO media – Dawar Shah contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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