Three Pakistani soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian forces across the de facto border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Thursday, the Pakistani army said, as tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors remains high.
The exchange of fire took place in the Bhimber, Hot Spring, Kel and Lipa sectors in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and lasted about six hours, the Pakistani military’s press wing said in a statement.
An Indian army officer said that there had been shelling from the Pakistani side of the border into the Nowgam district of Indian-administered Kashmir.
“Pakistan troops fired at Indian posts in Nowgam sector of North Kashmir at midnight. They also fired mortars. Army at the LoC fired back and intermittent firing is going on,” the army officer said on condition of anonymity, referring to the Line of Control, or heavily militaries de facto border.
There were no casualties or damage reported on the Indian side of the LoC.
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full, but govern separate parts, and have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
Tension between the South Asian rivals has been high since an Indian crackdown on dissent in Kashmir following the killing by security forces of Burgan Wani, a young separatist leader, in July.
They rose even further when New Delhi blamed a September 18 attack on an Indian army camp in Indian-controlled Kashmir, which killed 18 soldiers, on Pakistan.
A senior Indian police officer said that the army had begun searching for possible infiltration of militants in the Nowgam area after Thursday’s firing.