May 14, 2008 / 10:41 AM / 12 years ago

India says Pakistan violated truce, Islamabad denies

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - The Indian army accused Pakistan on Wednesday of violating a ceasefire by firing across a military control line that divides Kashmir between the two countries.

But Pakistan denied that any firing had taken place.

The reported firing comes days after an incident last Friday when New Delhi said its soldiers came under heavy cross-border fire while trying to stop a group of militants from sneaking into its part of Kashmir.

It was this year’s worst border incident.

India and Pakistan came to a truce along the Line of Control, a ceasefire line that divides Kashmir, in November, 2003, as part of peace efforts between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Since then violations have been rare.

“Last (Tuesday) evening, Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked firing in Kupwara sector, our troops did not retaliate, no one was hurt,” said Indian army spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel A.K. Mathur.

“This is the ceasefire violation by Pakistani army.”

But Pakistan’s military said no such incident took place.

“It’s incorrect. We have refuted it and have informed India at a high level there has been no such incident,” said Pakistani military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas.

He said a Pakistani army commander in the area was also contacting his Indian counterpart to inform him that there had been no violation of the ceasefire by Pakistani troops.

Adding to tension in Kashmir, eight people were killed when Indian soldiers clashed with militants in a village in India’s part of the Himalayan region over the weekend, in some of the worse violence there this year.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee is due to visit Pakistan later this month for a review of a four-year-old peace process between the two countries. The two sides have made little progress over Kashmir which they claim in full but rule in parts.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir, mainly Hindu India’s only Muslim-majority state, since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

Muslim Pakistan backs what it regards as the legitimate demands of the Kashmiri people but denies arming and abetting the insurgency.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said on Wednesday terrorism issues would be high on agenda in the Islamabad talks.

“The fact is, infiltration itself is a problem. We will deal with it on the ground and also bilaterally with Pakistan,” Menon said.

Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider

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