SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - At least six militants attacked an Indian army camp in Kashmir on Sunday night, killing one border guard, Indian officials said, two weeks after a similar attack killed 19 soldiers and ratcheted up tension between India and Pakistan.
The attack on the camp of India’s 46 Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla, which also houses a unit of the Border Security Force, began at around 10:30 p.m. (1700 GMT on Sunday) and repeated exchanges of fire ensued.
One border guard was killed and one wounded when militants tried to enter the army camp, said Baramulla Superintendent of Police Imtiyaz Hussein.
Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have been at odds over Kashmir ever since their independence nearly 70 years ago, fighting two of their three wars over the Himalayan region that they each rule in part but claim in full.
Shelling across the Line of Control, the heavily militarised de facto border that divides Pakistani- and Indian-administered Kashmir, continued on Monday, with Indian officials saying four civilians were wounded on their side.
Pakistan’s military accused India of initiating Monday’s firing.
‘COVER OF DARKNESS’
Indian police officer Hussein said the militants in the latest attack in Baramulla, who appeared to have reached the camp by boat on a river that passes through the town, had escaped.
“They fled under the cover of darkness,” he told Reuters.
India called its 4 Para special forces unit in to Baramulla and it conducted an operation to search and secure the camp.
Baramulla is on the road from Srinagar, the summer capital of India’s northernmost state, to the frontier settlement of Uri, where the Sept. 18 attack on the army base took place.
India said it launched retaliatory “surgical strikes” in the early hours of Thursday against militant camps on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, but did not provide any details. [nL3N1C527W]
Pakistan denied any such attack had taken place, saying cross-border shelling killed two Pakistani soldiers that day, but that there had been no Indian incursion.
India’s assertion that it had conducted a cross-border raid was the first in decades, and raised international fears that its campaign to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and punish it militarily could lead to an armed escalation.
The United States urged India and Pakistan to show restraint.
On Monday, Pakistan said the two countries’ national security advisers had been in touch in an attempt to calm the situation on the Line of Control (LoC).
“Pakistan wants to reduce tensions on LoC and focus on Kashmir,” Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said in a statement.
Sharif led a top-level All Parties Conference in Islamabad on Monday where parties expressed unity with the government on Kashmir.
Additional reporting by Asad Hashim in ISLAMABAD; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel