Pakistan says soldier killed amid worsening Kashmir violence

Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:36pm EST
 
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By Katharine Houreld

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Indian troops killed a Pakistani soldier on Thursday in the disputed region of Kashmir, the Pakistani army said, in the worst outbreak of violence in the area since the nuclear-armed neighbors agreed a ceasefire nearly a decade ago.

In the third fatal attack in five days, the Pakistani was killed by "unprovoked" Indian fire while manning a post in the Battal sector of Kashmir, which is split between the two sides by a heavily fortified border known as the Line of Control (LoC), the army spokesman said.

A Pakistani soldier was killed Sunday, and two Indian soldiers were killed and mutilated on Tuesday, their respective armies said. The two sides have lodged diplomatic protests.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent from Britain in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Ties had shown signs of improving in the past year after relations soured again in 2008 when Pakistan-based gunmen attacked India's financial capital of Mumbai, killing 166 people.

Both governments have expressed anger over the latest Kashmir attacks even as senior officials sought to calm fears that right-wing groups could seize the opportunity to derail years of diplomatic rapprochement.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said she was "unpleasantly surprised" by Indian accusations against Pakistan, but tried allay fears that the stand-off could escalate.

"Pakistan government and the Pakistani people have demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to normalise and improve relations with India and to really start a journey of trust-building," she said.   Continued...

 
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier patrols near the fenced border with Pakistan amid fog in Suchetgarh, southwest of Jammu January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta