Pakistan protests to India over Kashmir killing

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:22pm EST
 

By Katharine Houreld

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's army protested to India on Wednesday over the killing of one of its soldiers in Kashmir, the fifth fatality this year in heightened hostilities that have raised concern about violations of the truce between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Indian troops shot the soldier at a position called Kundi during firing from the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Himalayan territory, the Pakistani army said in a statement.

Two Pakistani and two Indian soldiers were killed this month in the worst outbreak of violence in Kashmir since India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire nearly a decade ago. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the region that both countries claim.

Following public and media anger at the alleged decapitation of one Indian soldier, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there could be "no business as usual" with Pakistan, and the army chief said his commanders should retaliate for provocation.

Despite the heated rhetoric, government spokesmen on both sides have insisted the deaths will not derail talks meant to improve relations, and experts say an escalation is unlikely.

The Pakistani military said in a subsequent statement that both sides had spoken over a hotline on Wednesday and Islamabad lodged a strong protest over a "ceasefire violation", but both sides agreed on the need to reduce tension.

Pakistan's government is fighting for survival over corruption charges and its response has been less fiery than that of India to the frictions on the border.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday, during a visit to New York, that she was open to talks with her Indian counterpart in a bid to quell tensions.   Continued...

 
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol the fenced border with Pakistan in Suchetgarh, southwest of Jammu January 16, 2013. Two Pakistani and two Indian soldiers were killed early this month in the worst outbreak of violence in Kashmir since India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire nearly a decade ago. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the region both nations claim. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta