Pakistan says seven soldiers killed by Indian shelling in Kashmir

Tensions between the two South Asian neighbours have soared since an attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers in September.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Kashmir is at the centre of a decades-old rivalry between the two South Asian neighbours, with both countries staking a claim over the territory since the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

Pakistani military said on Monday seven of its soldiers were killed in cross-border shelling by India in the disputed Kashmir region overnight.

"Seven (Pakistani) soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom) at the Line of Control (LoC) in Bhimber sector in a crossfire LoC violation by Indian troops late last night," the military said in a statement. 

Tensions across the de facto Himalayan border soared in September, when India blamed Pakistani militants for a raid on an army base that killed 19 soldiers. The attack occurred at the height of street protests in Indian-administered Kashmir following the killing of a separatist commander Burhan Wani in July.

"Pakistani troops while responding to Indian unprovoked firing targeted Indian posts effectively," the statement added.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accused India of carrying out the latest cross-border skirmishes in an effort to distract the world's attention from the violent protests. 

"We are fully capable of defending our soil against any aggression," he added in a statement.

India, on the other hand, said its soldiers had responded to Pakistani firing on Sunday night.

"There was a brief ceasefire violation initiated by Pakistani in Noushera sector which was effectively retaliated last night," a spokesman said, declining to comment on any Indian casualties.

He also said there was ongoing firing between the two countries' forces on Monday along another part of the frontier.

Indian media has reported that at least eight of its soldiers have also been killed in the cross-border fire during the past month.

Kashmir is at the centre of a decades-old rivalry between the two South Asian neighbours, with both countries staking a claim over the territory since the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies