India Pakistan Conflict: Kashmir Territory is Again Site of Bloodshed
Early on Sunday, gunfire exchanged across the long-disputed Kashmir border between Pakistan and India resulted in the death of one Pakistani soldier.
In a statement issued by the Pakistani Foreign Office, Pakistan lodged a strong protest with India, also summoning the Indian deputy high commissioner to the foreign ministry to discuss what Pakistan holds is an "unprovoked" attack, according to the Washington Post.
The Indian government was strongly urged to take appropriate measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future, the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The oft-warring countries, who have been engaged in hostilities between one another for decades, and have gone to war twice since their partition in 1947 over the disputed territory of Kashmir, have yet to come to a consensus on who started the shooting.
Pakistan claims that the Indian troops crossed the disputed boundary, known formally as the Line of Control (LoC), into the Pakistani-controlled territory of the Hajipir sector of Kashmir where they wounded one solider and killed another in an attack on an outpost.
According to the New York Times, a Pakistani military spokesman stated, "Our army troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack successfully… Indian Army troops left behind a gun and a dagger."
The Indian military, however, insists that its troops had not crossed over the LoC and that the attack was simply a response to Pakistan’s shelling of an Indian home.
According to Colonel Brijesh Pandey, an Indian army spokesman in Kashmir, Pakistani troops had "initiated unprovoked firing," having fired mortars and automatic weapons at Indian posts early on Sunday morning. "We retaliated only using small arms," said Pandey. We believe it was clearly an attempt on their part to facilitate infiltration of militants" Said Pandey, in the Guardian.
The clash was a rare breach of a cease-fire that has largely held between the two states for almost a decade as the leaders of both countries shifted their focus from their dispute over Kashmir to developing stronger economic and diplomatic ties.
In November 2008, India suspended all peace talks with Pakistan after holding Pakistani gunmen responsible for the Mumbai Attacks in which 166 Indians were killed. Peace talks resumed in February 2011 and both sides have made somewhat shaky progress.
Since the 2008 Mumbai incident, the last major breach of the cease-fire occurred in September 2011, when Pakistan lost three soldiers and India lost an officer. Other smaller clashes in recent months, such as an Indian shelling in November that left a number of Pakistanis dead and a Pakistani firing across the disputed frontier in October which resulted in the death of three Indian civilians, have occurred.
Nevertheless, accusations of one side’s ground forces crossing the LoC are rare, proving this incidence to be a remarkable and perhaps a very dangerous one.