7 killed in Indian Kashmir clashes
SRINAGAR: India’s Army clashed with suspected militants in Indian Kashmir near the disputed border with Pakistan, leaving two soldiers and four rebels dead, a military official said Sunday.
Soldiers encountered the militants, who are believed to have crossed the de facto border into Indian Kashmir’s Keran sector, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of the main city of Srinagar on Saturday night, the official said.
“In the resultant exchange of fire between army and terrorists, one soldier was injured who succumbed later (to his injuries),” defense spokesman Col. N.N. Joshi said.
Another soldier and four suspected militants were killed early on Sunday in a separate counter-insurgency operation in a nearby forested area of Kalaroos, Joshi said.
“Fighting is over in the area and identification of the four killed militants was not ascertained yet,” Joshi told AFP, confirming the soldier died in the firing. The violence comes after India last week called off high-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Islamabad, angry that Pakistani officials had met with Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi.
Pakistan described the cancelation of the talks between the foreign secretaries as a “setback” for closer relations with India’s new right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s military says it has stepped up operations to flush out suspected Pakistani militants moving across the heavily militarised de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC).
On Saturday, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the border further south in the region of Jammu, resulting in four deaths and forcing villagers to flee their homes.
Two civilians were killed on the Indian side of the international border when Pakistani forces opened fire, according to Indian officials. On the other side, two Pakistani civilians were killed by Indian fire, Pakistan’s military said.
Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley said Sunday there had been a series of recent “provocations” by Pakistan’s Army and India’s military was “responding adequately.”
Jaitley told reporters that security forces were “fully protecting both our territory and people.”