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India says fired at by Pakistan guards ahead of talks

India says fired at by Pakistan guards ahead of talks
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First Published: Wed, Feb 24 2010. 02 01 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Feb 24 2010. 02 01 PM IST
Srinagar: Border Security Force (BSF) guards said their troops came under fire from Pakistan on Wednesday, a day before the two nuclear-armed neighbours are set for the first official talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“The firing from across the border started early morning. A BSF personnel was injured,” Vinod Sharma, a spokesman for the border guards, told Reuters.
Pakistan denied any shooting by its troops.
“Our troops were not involved in any firing. There may be some problem on their own side,” said Nadeem Raza, a spokesman for Pakistan’s paramilitary Rangers.
Area commanders from the two sides were due to meet later in the day to settle the matter, Raza said.
The shooting took place in the Samba area of south Kashmir, the Himalayan region at the core of decades of hostility between India and Pakistan and the cause of two of their three wars since independence from British rule in 1947.
The foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet on Thursday for talks that could eventually pave the way for the resumption of the formal peace process broken off after the 2008 Mumbai strike that killed 166 people.
There has been a spate of clashes in the past few months along the Line of Control, the de facto border dividing mostly Muslim Kashmir between Hindu-majority India and Pakistan, an Islamic nation.
But the clashes are not expected to blow up into a major conflict.
India accuses Pakistani troops of cross-border firing to help militants cross the disputed border to join a 20-year revolt in Kashmir and violate a 2003 ceasefire agreement reached between the two armies.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir since the revolt against New Delhi’s rule broke out in 1989.
Both claim the region in full but rule it in part. Tension ran high on the Indian side in February as a series of civilian deaths — blamed on the heavy-handedness of Indian security forces — sparked renewed protests against New Delhi’s rule.
In the latest violence related to the revolt, three Indian soldiers and three militants were killed in a 24-hour gunbattle in the Sopore area of north Kashmir that ended on Wednesday, police said.
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First Published: Wed, Feb 24 2010. 02 01 PM IST
More Topics: India | Pakistan | Peace Talks | Mumbai Attacks | BSF |