SRINAGAR/ISLAMABAD

Two Indian soldiers died Saturday from injuries sustained during a clash between Indian and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in India-administered Kashmir, the previous day, according to an Indian army spokesman.

“Pakistan initiated unprovoked violation of ceasefire along the LoC in Rampur sector of Baramulla district. Three soldiers injured. Indian army is retaliating befittingly,” Col. Rajesh Kalia told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

On Saturday evening, he said the soldiers died.

Four civilians were also reportedly injured in the cross-border clash in the same district.

Indian authorities have maintained that Pakistani troops have violate a cease-fire deal signed in 2003 to provide cover to militants while they enter Indian administered Kashmir, where anti-Indian insurgency has been raging since 1990.

India’s Minister of State for Defense Shripad Naik told parliament March 4 that between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23, 646 “incidents of ceasefire violations” occurred along the Indo-Pakistani International Border and the LoC, which is the de-facto border between two sides of Kashmir.

He said 1,586 incidents of cease-fire violations occurred along the LoC and the international border in 2019.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament in February that 15 soldiers were killed last year in cross-border firing.

Srinagar-based army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia told Anadolu Agency that Pakistan “has been consistently resorting to unprovoked cease-fire violations.”

“Our troops retaliate effectively to such violations. Recently, we did precision targeting of their gun areas, terrorist launch pads and ammunition dumps,” he said.

But Pakistan rejected India’s “baseless” allegations.

“Pakistan has always categorically rejected the baseless Indian allegations of so-called infiltration attempts, and preposterous claims of targeting of fictional launch pads,” read a statement from the foreign ministry.

Islamabad viewed New Delhi’s “spurious” claims as an attempt to divert the world’s attention from the ‘grave’ human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
“India also seeks to use these allegations as a pretext for launching ‘false flag’ operation and deliberately targeting of innocent civilians along the Line of Control (LoC),” it said. “While India has restricted the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) from visiting Indian occupied Kashmir, and the LoC, there are no such restrictions on UNMOGIP in Pakistan or AJK.”

Islamabad reiterated that it does not allow the use of its soil for any activity against anyone.

“Meanwhile, as the world grapples with the global pandemic, we hope India would act responsibly, cut down on its belligerent rhetoric and aggressive measures on the ground, stop its ceasefire violations and deliberate targeting of civilian population, and enable the UNMOGIP to play its mandated role effectively. This is imperative for peace and stability in South Asia,” the statement reads.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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