India says officer killed in fresh firing on Kashmir border

Oct 28 2013

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A farmer works in a paddy field near the fenced border between Indian and Pakistan.   — File Photo by Reuters
A farmer works in a paddy field near the fenced border between Indian and Pakistan. — File Photo by Reuters

SRINAGAR: India claimed that one of its army officers was killed early Monday due to gunfire from the Pakistani side of the border in Kashmir, the latest in a series of deadly flareups in the disputed Himalayan region.

The officer was killed just after midnight at an army post along the northern part of the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarised border that divides the two countries in Kashmir, an Indian army spokesman said.

India did not fire back and instead lodged a protest with the Pakistani army over a hotline, said the army's spokesman in Srinagar, Naresh Vig.

“It is a ceasefire violation. A junior commissioned officer was killed as Pakistani soldiers fired at an Indian army post in Uri sector at 12:15am,” Vig told AFP.

The incident came hours after senior officials of the two armies held scheduled phone talks on Sunday aimed at easing tensions in the region, that has recently seen some of the worst firing since a ceasefire agreement a decade ago.

Both sides have accused each other of violating the truce agreed in 2003.

India's Border Security Force said last week that 50 frontier posts had been targeted in an escalation of small arms firing and shelling over the last month, despite public pledges to reduce tensions there.

Pakistan, in turn, accused India of killing a Rangers soldier and two civilians last Wednesday during firing and injuring 26 civilians.

There has been sporadic shooting since 2003 along the border called the Line of Control that separates Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani sectors.

But the recent rise in incidents has caused alarm.

The subject was raised up by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the United Nations in New York last month, when they pledged to improve conditions to build trust.

The Muslim-majority region of Kashmir is divided and administered separately by India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels who have been fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989 for independence or a merger with Pakistan.

An estimated 68,000 people have been killed in the militant uprising and Indian crackdown, though most resistance is now shown through street protests.

Pakistan denies giving any backing to the rebels beyond moral and diplomatic support.