Srinagar, India/Islamabad Nov 13 (efe-epa).- Three Indian soldiers and three civilians were killed by cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani armies in the disputed Kashmir region on Friday, officials said, amid rising tensions between the nuclear-armed rival neighbors.
Pakistan claimed that unprovoked shelling from the Indian forces killed a soldier and four civilians along the border in the part of Kashmir under its rule.
The two sides blamed each other, like they often do, for triggering the latest border clash in violation of an agreement signed in 2003 for no firing along the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border that divides the idyllic Himalayan territory between them.
Defense spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia told EFE in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, that Pakistan troops resorted to “unprovoked ceasefire violations” at Uri, Keran, and Karnah sectors in the valley.
Police officer Mohammed Ashraf in Uri, some 100 km (or over 60 miles) from here, told EFE that three civilians, including a woman, were killed by the Pakistani firing in the border sector.
He said one civilian in critical condition at a hospital.
Witnesses told EFE that at least three residential houses were damaged by the mortar shelling, while border clashes continued in the Karnah and Keran sectors.
Kalia claimed that Indian soldiers in retaliation to the latest border truce violation caused casualties and damaged parts of military infrastructure on the Pakistani side of the LoC.
He said the Indian had foiled a suspected infiltration bid in the Keran sector as the Pakistani military tried to give cover to militants trying to cross over into the Indian territory.
A Pakistan foreign office statement said they summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register Islamabad’s “strong protest over ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the LoC.”
“The Indian occupation forces along the LoC have been continuously targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars and automatic weapons,” the statement said.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistani army’s communications office, said in a statement that one soldier died and five others were wounded in the “unprovoked and indiscriminate fire of all calibers, including Artillery and heavy mortars,” along the LoC.
Four civilians were reportedly killed and 28 others injured by Indian shelling on the Pakistan side.
“In the Indian firing, four civilians are martyred and 28 are injured, including women and children. Because the firing and shelling is still continuing so its hard for us to assess the damage,” local disaster management authority official Saeed ur Rehman told EFE.
Pakistan and India have fought two wars over Kashmir since the two nations were born after independence from Britain in 1947.
Tensions between the two countries escalated in 2019 after a suicide bombing on a military convoy in India-administered Kashmir killed 40 soldiers.
India blamed Pakistan for plotting and sponsoring the attack, the deadliest in the 30 years of armed rebellion in Kashmir against the Indian rule.
Days later, India claimed to have launched cross-border aerial strikes against militant launch pads inside Pakistan.
Pakistan also flew its warplanes and shot down an Indian jet, and captured a fighter pilot who was later released. EFE-EPA