Indian troops attacked near border with Pakistan

Other News Materials 21 August 2008 13:58 (UTC +04:00)

Indian troops posted along the Line of Control, which divides the disputed Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, were shelled from across the border Thursday, officials said.

Six mortar shells were fired on Indian forward positions in the Jahangarh area of the Nowshera sector, 80 kilometres north-west of the state's winter capital, Jammu. There were no injuries, dpa reported.

"The firing went on intermittently for 45 minutes from 6:40 am local time [0110 GMT]," Lieutenant Colonel SD Goswami told reporters. "The Indian Army exercised restraint and did not retaliate."

Goswami did not comment on whether the firing was from militants or Pakistani troops, but official sources told Indian media outlets that it was the latter.

"There was no loss of life or damage to property in the shelling," Goswami said, adding Indian troops were maintaining a high alert along the border.

The Line of Control is a de-facto border dividing Kashmir into two parts, one administered by India and the other by Pakistan. India and Pakistan entered a ceasefire on the line in Kashmir in November 2003.

The Indian Army claims, however, that there have been more than 20 violations of the ceasefire by Pakistani troops since January this year.

Last month, India lodged a protest against an unprovoked firing by Pakistani forces along the Line of Control, and Defence Minister AK Antony urged Islamabad to respect the 2003 ceasefire.

An Indian soldier was killed after a dozen Pakistani troopers intruded into Indian territory in the Nowgam sector in northern Kashmir on July 29. The incident was the most serious truce violation in the past five years.

Nuclear-capable South Asian neighbours India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir. More than 40,000 people have been killed in a violent separatist militant movement in India-administered Kashmir since the late 1980s.

India accuses Pakistan of aiding Kashmiri militants, a charge Islamabad denies, calling them freedom fighters. India and Pakistan are currently engaged in a dialogue to resolve differences, including those over Kashmir.