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India Says Pakistani Shelling Kills Three Soldiers In Kashmir

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard at check post along a highway in India-administered Kashmir. (file photo)
Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard at check post along a highway in India-administered Kashmir. (file photo)

At least three Indian soldiers were killed and five others wounded by Pakistani shelling along the highly militarized frontier dividing Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals, the Indian Army said on October 1.

Indian Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said two soldiers died and four were wounded on October 1 when Pakistani soldiers fired mortar rounds and other weapons in the northwestern Nowgam sector along the Line of Control in the Kupwara district.

Kalia called the incident “an unprovoked violation” of a 2003 cease-fire accord and said Indian troops gave a “befitting response.”

Separately, one soldier was killed and another wounded in Pakistani shelling and firing in southern Poonch district along the frontier on September 30, said Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, another Indian military spokesman.

Pakistan did not directly comment on the deaths. In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in the disputed Himalayan region, which both claim in its entirety.

However, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri accused New Delhi of escalating tension along the Line of Control “to divert world attention from its human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir.”

Chaudhri said at a weekly media briefing on October 1 that India has committed 2,404 cease-fire violations since January in which 19 people were killed and 192 others were wounded in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

On September 29, Pakistan’s military said Indian troops opened fire across the border in the region, killing a 15-year-old boy and a soldier and wounding four villagers.

The Indian government says Pakistan has committed more than 3,000 cease-fire violations so far this year.

The two neighbors have fought two wars over the territory, and India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or unification with Pakistan. Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.

Tensions soared in February 2019, when a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, and India retaliated with airstrikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan shot down one of the warplanes in Kashmir and captured a pilot who was quickly released. India said the strikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for the suicide bombing.

Relations have been further strained since August last year, when India revoked the Muslim-majority region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger on both sides of the frontier.

Since then, rival troops have traded fire almost daily along the rugged and mountainous frontier, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides.