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5 civilians killed along disputed India-Pakistan border

16 July 2015, 16:10

Islamabad - India and Pakistan exchanged gunfire and mortar bombs along their disputed frontier on Thursday, killing five civilians and injuring more than a dozen, Pakistan said, days after the leaders of the nuclear-armed rivals agreed to high-level talks.

Five Pakistani civilians were killed "due to Indian unprovoked firing", the Pakistani military said in statements on the clashes on the frontier in the disputed Kashmir region.

India said a women on its side of the frontier was killed in Pakistani firing the previous day.

Also Read: Stampede kills at least 22 during India religious festival

Majority-Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming separate nations in 1947, two of them over Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Soldiers along their heavily militarised boundary have regularly traded fire for decades but clashes become less frequent after a 2003 ceasefire in Kashmir.

Air space violation

Hopes for warmer ties were raised last week when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a summit in Russia and agreed that their national security advisers would hold talks.

Modi also agreed to visit Pakistan in 2016.

The Indian military said Pakistani troops fired at five of its forward bases and six villagers on Wednesday, when the woman was killed.

"Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing using small arms and mortars," an Indian military spokesperson said.

Pakistan summoned the Indian high commissioner to protest against an air space violation, the Pakistani government said.

Sign of better relations

On Wednesday, the Pakistani military said it had shot down an Indian surveillance drone. A photograph released by the military appeared to show a small, unarmed commercially available model.

The Indians denied the drone was theirs.

Relations between the neighbours nosedived after Pakistan-based Islamist militants attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.

Also Read: Stampede kills at least 22 during India religious festival

India believes Pakistani military officials help support militants fighting security forces in the Indian part of Kashmir and launching attacks in Indian cities.

Pakistan denies that.

Sharif made improving relations with India a cornerstone of his 2013 election campaign but many commanders in the military remain suspicious of India and there has been no sign of better relations.

Modi, elected in 2014, belongs to a Hindu nationalist political party and is seen as hawkish on relations with Pakistan.

- Reuters


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