9 Jan 2013

India accuses Pakistan of ‘provocative’ Kashmir crossing

India accuses Pakistan of crossing a heavily militarised line and killing two of its soldiers in the second incident in a week along the disputed region of Kashmir’s dividing boundary.

Indian youth activists protest against the alleged line of control crossing by Pakistan soldiers (Reuters)

The Indian government said Pakistani troops crossed the ‘line of control’ in Kashmir on Tuesday, killing two soldiers and injuring one in a firefight. The Indian government said the body of one of its soldiers was found “badly mutilated” in a forested area on the Indian side of the line.

The Indian army said a separate incident later in the day saw both sides firing at each other across the line, without any casualties.

“The government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it,” the Indian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

“The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly.”

A Pakistani army spokesman denied allegations of “unprovoked firing”, and said the Indian government was trying to divert attention from a clash along the line two days earlier. The spokesman said Indian troops crossed the line of control on that occasion, and killed a Pakistani soldier. India has denied crossing the line.

Activists from the youth wing of India’s ruling Congress Party gathered in the city of Bhopal to protest against the alleged Paskistani action, shouting slogans and burning an effigy depicting Pakistan (pictured, above).

66-year dispute

Skirmishes are common along the line, with India saying that eight of its soldiers were killed in 75 incidents in 2012. However, relations between the countries have improved in recent years.

The line of control is not a legally recognised international boundary, and the disputed status of the Kashmir region, has triggered two wars since 1947 when British rule in the region ended.

India considers the entire region an integral part of its territory. Pakistan contests that and demands implementation of a 1948 UN Security Council resolution for a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Many thousands of Kashmiri people have died in the conflict and have their have been claims of torture and other human rights abuses in the region.