India, Pakistan at odds over border shooting
India plans to lodge a protest after two of its soldiers were injured in firing from across the border.india Updated: Jan 18, 2007 10:55 IST
India will lodge a protest with Pakistan after two of its troops were wounded on Wednesday in a shooting incident near the international border in Kashmir, a senior security official said.
The Pakistan military later issued a statement saying Indian accusations about the incident were "ludicrous and fabricated" and that there was firing from the Indian side. It said Pakistani border guards did not return the fire.
A truce has been working well since it came into effect in November 2003 as part of peace efforts between the two nuclear-armed rivals, and violations have been a rarity.
The Indian official said the two troops were wounded when their patrol was fired at after challenging suspected separatist militants trying to get into Kashmir from the Pakistani sector.
"The small arms fire came from across the border. We are yet not sure whether it was militant fire or Pakistani troops," K Srinivasan, a Border Security Force (BSF) intelligence official, said by phone.
"We are lodging a strong protest with Pakistan."
The shooting occurred near the Akhnoor sector, 350 km south of Srinagar.
The Pakistani army gave a different version of the incident.
"The reality is totally different," its statement said.
"Two BSF Posts located north of Najwal village in Kashmir fired seven illuminating rounds followed by light machinegun and small arms fire, which continued intermittently till 0320 am," said the statement.
"Pakistani Rangers did not fire a single shot."
Hundreds of people were killed on both sides of the border before the 2003 truce as the armies of India and Pakistan engaged in daily artillery duels and small arms clashes.
Indian officials say militants fighting New Delhi's rule in the Himalayan region are still trying to cross the border from Pakistani, but violence has steadily dropped after the two neighbours launched a formal peace process in 2004.
Officials say more than 40,000 people have been killed in the 17-year revolt by Muslim militants against Indian rule in Kashmir, cause of two of the three India-Pakistan wars. Human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000 dead or missing.
In Srinagar, police fired at hundreds of stone-throwing protesters and more than a dozen people were wounded in the violence.