India, Pakistan border guards trade fire along their frontier in Kashmir; one Indian soldier killed

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SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged gunfire and shelling along their highly militarized frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing an Indian border guard, officials said Thursday.

Authorities in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir said Pakistani soldiers fired mortars and machine guns at border posts in the southern Jammu area on Wednesday night, calling it “unprovoked.”

India’s Border Security Force said in a statement that its soldiers “befittingly responded” and that one of its border guards was killed.

The fighting ended early Thursday.

There was no immediate comment from Pakistan. Each side often accuses the other of starting border skirmishes in the Himalayan region, which both claim in its entirety.

Last month, two Indian border guards and three civilians were injured in fighting along the fronter with Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir. They have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over their competing claims to the region. In the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, militants have fought against Indian rule since 1989. In 2003, the two nations agreed on a cease-fire that has largely held despite regular skirmishes.

The nuclear-armed countries’ contended frontier includes a 740-kilometer (460-mile) rugged and mountainous stretch called the Line of Control that is guarded by their armies.

Both countries also have separate paramilitary border forces guarding their somewhat defined, lower-altitude 200-kilometer (125-mile) boundary separating Indian-controlled Kashmir and the Pakistani province of Punjab.

In 2021, the two nations reaffirmed their 2003 cease-fire accord after months of near-daily fighting that killed scores on both sides in Kashmir.

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