Srinagar: Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Wednesday, killing a woman and wounding at least four other people on the Indian side, officials said.
D. Parekh, a senior officer with India’s Border Security Force, said Pakistani soldiers first fired at a paramilitary soldier guarding a border post in the Pargwal area. As troops tried to evacuate the seriously injured soldier, they came under heavy fire and retaliated, he said.
Pakistani troops also fired heavy mortar shells, and one woman was killed and three other civilians injured when one of the shells exploded near a border village, Parekh said, calling it “a blatant, unprovoked cease-fire violation by Pakistan.”
Pakistan, however, accused India of resorting to ‘unprovoked firing’ in the incident, which took place near the city of Sialkot.
The Pakistan Rangers, a border security paramilitary force, said in a statement that border guards ‘befittingly’ responded to the Indian firing.
Both sides said the skirmishes were ongoing as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Indian and Pakistani troops often exchange fire along the border with Kashmir, with both sides routinely blaming the other for initiating the violence. Last week, India said two of its paramilitary soldiers were killed by Pakistani fire in separate incidents.
Wednesday’s incident came days after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of a summit in the Russian city of Ufa in an effort to ease tensions with New Delhi.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over their competing claims to Kashmir, which is divided among the two rivals, though a 2003 cease-fire has largely held despite small but regular skirmishes.