Photo by AFP/Tauseef Mustafa
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan Sunday, August 11, accused Indian forces of firing on its border posts in disputed Kashmir and in neighboring Punjab province, where it sparked an "intermittent exchange of fire" between the two sides.
The fighting is the latest in a spate of recent cross-border skirmishes between the 2 nuclear-armed neighbors who have fought 3 wars since independence from the British rule in 1947, 2 over the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.
Tensions have recently flared up in the heavily militarized Kashmir valley with both sides accusing each other of cross-border firings.
But the first of Sunday's incident's took place near the border close to the eastern city of Sialkot in neighboring Punjab province.
"Indian Border Security Forces resorted to unprovoked firing on Pakistani Rangers posts near Pukhlian, Head Marala area, in Sialkot sector," a senior military official, told AFP.
"Intermittent exchange of fire continues. No loss reported so far," added the official on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media.
The official said that after the exchange of fire in Punjab, the Indian troops also fired at the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed Kashmir region.
"Indian troops also resorted to unprovoked firing at LOC in Nakial sector near Kotli," he said.
Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Thursday hinted at stronger military action along the LoC after Delhi accused Pakistan's army of involvement in a deadly overnight ambush on Monday that killed five Indian soldiers.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to ease tensions with India by urging both sides to work swiftly to shore up a 10-year ceasefire threatened by the recent attacks.
But Pakistani military officials Thursday made fresh allegations of their own, accusing Indian troops of opening fire and seriously wounding a male civilian in the Tatta Pani sector along the LoC.
The picturesque Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by the UN-monitored LoC, the de facto border, but is claimed in full by both countries.
A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought peace talks to a halt. They had only just resumed after a three-year hiatus sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. India blamed Pakistani militants for the attack.
More than a dozen armed rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989, demanding independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan. - Rappler.com