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India to protest to Pakistan over border shooting PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

REUTERS, SRINAGAR - An Indian soldier was killed in cross-border fire in Kashmir on Monday, prompting India to lodge a protest with Islamabad, an army spokesman said.

The soldier died in shooting from the Pakistani side of a military control line that divides Kashmir between the two countries, the spokesman said.

India said it was the third such incident in Kashmir this month. It comes two days ahead of Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Pakistan for a review of a four-year-old peace process.

The Indian army said the firing was unprovoked and they would lodge a protest.

"Our troops observed restraint and we are ascertaining whether it was firing by militants or Pakistani soldiers," Lieutenant-Colonel S. D. Goswami said.

"We have sought a flag meeting with the local commander to lodge our strong protest over the incident."

Pakistan's military spokesman said Pakistani troops had not fired across the frontier. "There was no firing from this side," said Major-General Athar Abbas.

A truce between India and Pakistan came into effect along the Line of Control in November 2003 as part of peace efforts between the two countries, who claim Kashmir in full but rule in parts.

Violations have been rare, but the slow-moving peace talks have not made significant progress over the Kashmir dispute, cause of two wars between the two countries since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Last week, India accused Pakistan of violating a ceasefire by firing on the Line of Control, a ceasefire line that divides Kashmir between the two.

Pakistan denied that any firing had taken place.

Earlier this month, Indian troops lodged another protest with Pakistan after soldiers were fired upon while trying to stop a group of armed men from crossing into its part of Kashmir.

Officials say more than 43,000 people have been killed since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989. Human rights groups put the toll at around 60,000 dead or missing.

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