SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian and Pakistani soldiers barraged each other with mortar shells and gunfire along the highly militarized frontier in Kashmir, killing an Indian soldier and wounding two others, an official said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesperson, said three soldiers were injured when Pakistani soldiers used gunfire and mortar shells to attack border posts along the Line of Control in southern Rajouri district Tuesday evening. He said one of the injured later died.
Anand called the incident “an unprovoked violation” of the 2003 cease-fire accord between the rivals and said the Indian troops “befittingly retaliated,” remarks given after almost every such incident along the volatile de facto border.
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan. In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in the Himalayan region, which is divided between the two nations but claimed by both in its entirety. The countries have fought two wars over their claims to Kashmir.
India and Pakistan have been on maximum alert since February 2019, when Pakistan shot down an Indian warplane in Kashmir and captured a pilot in response to an airstrike by Indian aircraft targeting militants inside Pakistan. India said the strikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for a suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.
Relations between the two countries have been further strained over Kashmir since August last year, when New Delhi revoked the Muslim-majority region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger on both sides of the frontier.
Since then, there has been almost daily fighting between soldiers from the two countries along the rugged and mountainous frontier, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides.