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India, Pakistan border guards trade fire in Kashmir

SRINAGAR (AP) – Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged gunfire and shelling along their highly militarized frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing an Indian border guard, officials said yesterday.

Authorities in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir said Pakistani soldiers fired mortars and machine guns at border posts in the southern Jammu area on Wednesday night, calling it “unprovoked”.

India’s Border Security Force said in a statement that its soldiers “befittingly responded” and that one of its border guards was killed.

The fighting ended early yesterday. There was no immediate comment from Pakistan.

Each side often accuses the other of starting border skirmishes in the Himalayan region, which both claim in its entirety. Last month, two Indian border guards and three civilians were injured in fighting along the fronter with Pakistan.

Indian Border Security Force new recruits stand in formation during a passing out parade in Humhama on the outskirts of Srinagar, India. PHOTO: AFP

India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir.

They have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over their competing claims to the region.

In the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, militants have fought against Indian rule since 1989.

In 2003, the two nations agreed on a cease-fire that has largely held despite regular skirmishes.

The nuclear-armed countries’ contended frontier includes a 740-kilometre (km) rugged and mountainous stretch called the Line of Control that is guarded by their armies.

Both countries also have separate paramilitary border forces guarding their somewhat defined, lower-altitude 200km boundary separating Indian-controlled Kashmir and the Pakistani province of Punjab.

In 2021, the two nations reaffirmed their 2003 cease-fire accord after months of near-daily fighting that killed scores on both sides in Kashmir.