SRINAGAR: At least a dozen people have been wounded as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged gunfire over the border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, officials said Friday.
An Indian official claimed at least 10 civilians were wounded as Pakistani troops allegedly fired guns and mortar shells at more than a dozen Indian border posts overnight in the disputed region.
An Indian paramilitary officer speaking on the customary condition of anonymity said Indian guards retaliated and an exchange of gunfire lasted several hours. He said the fighting continued till Friday morning at some places in southern Jammu region.
The wounded included four children in three villages, said local civil administrator Shantmanu, who uses only one name.
Meanwhile, Pakistani military officials in Islamabad said Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing and mortar shelling in a village near Sialkot early Friday, wounding two civilians.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military policy.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry called the ceasefire violations “a matter of great concern,” and reiterated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to improving relations with India.
Chaudhary told reporters that Pakistani troops do not fire indiscriminately and emphasised that Pakistan has no interest in creating problems along the border.
“Our troops have a policy. We will not indulge in firing first. But if we are fired upon we will give a responsible and effective response,” he said.
India on Wednesday accused Pakistani troops of firing on at least 50 Indian border posts, calling it the most serious violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord.
However, Pakistan said Indian troops targeted 27 Pakistani posts near Sialkot with machine guns and mortar shells.
The gunfire resumed Thursday night after a lull during the day.
While the ceasefire has largely held for the past decade, sporadic violations are not uncommon. Since January this year the two nuclear-armed neighbors have regularly accused each other of initiating the fighting by firing mortar shells or gunshots across the frontier.
The latest incidents come even though the Pakistani and Indian prime ministers meet last month in New York and agreed on the need to reduce tensions.