ISLAMABAD/JAMMU, India (Reuters) - A Pakistani was killed after crossing into the Indian side of Kashmir, officials on both sides said on Friday, but their competing accounts indicated that tension remains high a month after the worst outbreak of violence in years in the disputed region.
The Pakistani army said one of its soldiers on Thursday inadvertently strayed across the Line of Control (LoC) dividing the mountain territory.
It said civilians had seen him being picked up and questioned by the Indian military, but that when the military commanders from both sides spoke by telephone on Friday, the Indian commander said the Pakistani had been killed.
“We condemn such an inhuman and brutal act of killing our soldier after he had identified himself and explained his position,” the army said in a text message. “We have returned Indian soldiers in the past who have similarly strayed.”
But an Indian defence spokesman said there had been a firefight in the Rajouri district after two militants in combat dress crossed the LoC from Pakistan. He said one militant had been killed and an Indian soldier injured.
“Our troops continuously tracked their movement and they were asked to surrender when they entered over 200 metres inside Indian territory,” spokesman S.N. Acharya said. “They opened fire indiscriminately, to which our men retaliated, and in the exchange of fire one militant was killed.”
Last month, three Pakistani and two Indian soldiers were killed in a series of attacks along the LoC.
India said the body of one of its slain soldiers had been decapitated, which provoked public outrage in India, and in uncharacteristically blunt language Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there could be “no business as usual” with Pakistan.
Now both nuclear-armed, India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
Reporting by Ashok Pahalwan in Jammu, India and by Katherine Houreld in Islamabad; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Kevin Liffey