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Indian soldier killed in Pak border firing

SRINAGAR: Pakistani troops shot and killed an Indian army officer yesterday near the countries’ disputed border in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, Indian army officials said. “A junior commanding officer was shot dead by the Pakistani troops near Poonch sector,” a senior army official told AFP in New Delhi. “Suddenly there was firing from the other side and our officer was killed,” the officer added, requesting anonymity. The dead man, Bachan Singh, was posted in the Poonch region, 200 km southwest of Indian-administered Kashmir’s capital of Srinagar. Kashmir is mainly split between the two nuclear-armed neighbours along a heavily militarised UN-monitored Line of Control (LoC), but both countries claim the region in full and have fought two wars over it. Another senior army officer, Rajesh Kalia, stationed in Kashmir, said the latest attack has “not been declared as a ceasefire violation” as a probe is under way. Anti-Indian militant groups who have been operating in Kashmir for more than two decades are also known to be active in the area. Tensions spiked between New Delhi and Islamabad in January and February as six soldiers were killed in exchanges along the de facto border in Kashmir. Four of the soldiers killed were from Pakistan while two were from India. One of the Indians was beheaded, allegedly by Pakistanis. Relations between the two countries have also been strained in recent months by both sides protesting the deaths of prisoners held by the other. The murder of an Indian prisoner in a Pakistani jail was followed by the tit-fortat killing of a Pakistani prisoner in an Indian jail last month. — AFP

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This article was published on 07/06/2013