Soldier killed during Kashmir border raid

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Pakistan and India traded accusations yesterday of violating the boundary dividing the two sides’ forces in the disputed northern region of Kashmir.

Pakistan said an Indian cross-border raid on the border post killed one of its soldiers, while India said its troops had fired into Pakistan to retaliate for shelling that destroyed a home.

The accusation of a cross-border raid resulting in military deaths is rare in Kashmir, where a ceasefire has held between these two wary allies for a decade.

Tensions over the disputed region are never far from the surface, however, as the two nuclear-armed nations have fought two full-scale wars over Kashmir.

The Pakistani military’s public relations office said another Pakistani soldier was critically wounded. They said troops were still exchanging gunfire after a raid crossed the “line of control” dividing the Indian and Pakistani sides in Haji Pir sector and raided a checkpoint called Sawan Patra.

Indian army spokesman Colonel Brijesh Pandey said that Pakistani troops “initiated unprovoked firing” and fired mortars and automatic weapons at Indian posts early in the morning. He said Pakistani shelling had destroyed a civilian home on the Indian side.

“We retaliated only using small arms. We believe it was clearly an attempt on their part to facilitate infiltration of militants,” he said.

India often accuses Pakistan of sending militants into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.