The Pakistani army said an officer was killed by Indian troops as growing violence across a disputed border threatens to jeopardize new efforts to normalize relations between the nuclear-armed countries.
A Pakistani Army captain was killed near Skardu in the disputed Kashmir region and another soldier seriously wounded, said a Pakistani military official, who asked not be identified because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Indian troops began firing at 11:15 p.m. last night and the two sides exchanged fire for three hours, the official said.
India and Pakistan have been trading fire and counter accusations since the deaths of five Indian soldiers on the Kashmir border earlier this month. Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony told parliament yesterday that Pakistani troops carried out that attack. Pakistan has denied involvement and accused India of breaking their cease-fire agreement.
The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over the Kashmir, which is divided between the the countries and claimed by both. Violence peaked after an anti-India insurgency erupted in 1989, with India accusing Pakistan of aiding guerrillas groups in their attacks. Pakistan rejects the charges. Violence has ebbed in recent years.
Sitanshu Kar, spokesman for the Indian Defense Ministry, referred calls to the army today. Messages left with the army spokesman in New Delhi were not immediately returned.
Ready to Respond
Defense Minister Antony said yesterday that the government was ready to respond if Pakistan continued with attacks. He called for Pakistan to take action against its own troops that he accused of carrying out this month’s attack and one in January when one of three soldiers killed was beheaded.
“Our restraint should not be taken for granted,” Antony told parliament. “This incident will have consequences on our behavior.”
In the first seven months of this year, there have been 57 cease-fire violations along the border, 80 percent more than in the same period last year, Antony said in parliament Aug. 8. India had successfully foiled 17 infiltration attempts this year and killed 19 militants in the last two months, Antony said.
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