Kashmir border forces clash again
Published 08/01/2013 | 15:40
Fighting has broken out between Indian and Pakistani troops in disputed Kashmir for the second time in three days.
Pakistani forces crossed the cease-fire line and attacked an army patrol, killing two Indian soldiers before retreating, India said.
An army spokesman said the soldiers crossed into Indian-controlled Kashmir near the town of Mendhar taking advantage of thick fog. There was a brief gun battle with Indian forces.
A Pakistan army spokesman denied that its soldiers had been involved in an unprovoked shooting.
Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan but divided between them.
A ceasefire between the two countries has largely held for a decade. Deaths in military exchanges are now uncommon compared to earlier years. But while diplomatic nervousness over the disputed region is never far from the surface, the earlier incident created no signs of escalating tensions in either New Delhi or Islamabad, and received relatively little media attention in either country.
The countries have fought two full-scale wars over Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in largely Hindu India. While the two nations remain rivals, relations between them have improved dramatically since the 2008 Mumbai siege, in which 10 Pakistani gunmen killed 166 people and effectively shut down the city for days. India claims the terrorists had ties to Pakistani intelligence officials - an accusation Islamabad denies.
Signs of their improving ties include new visa rules announced in December designed to make cross-border travel easier. They have also been taking steps to improve cross-border trade.
A 2003 cease-fire ended the most recent round of Kashmir fighting, although each side occasionally accuses the other of violating it by firing mortars or gunshots across the line of control.
While deaths are now relatively rare, a number of Pakistani civilians were wounded by Indian shelling in November. In October, the Indian army said Pakistani troops killed three civilians when they fired across the frontier.