Indian troops kill Pakistani soldier near Kashmir border

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 4:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 4:56pm

Indian troops shot dead a Pakistani soldier along the de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region in the first deadly exchange since a truce was agreed a month ago, officials said on Friday.

An Indian army spokesman said that the soldier had been killed in a firefight, in which one Indian soldier was also wounded, and an AK47 rifle was discovered by his side when the body was recovered.

“We detected some suspicious movement yesterday near the LoC (Line of Control) inside our territory and the challengers from our side fired and in the ensuing firefight he was killed,” Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia, a spokesman for the Indian army’s northern command, told reporters.

“At that time we did not know he was a Pakistani soldier. We killed an infiltrator,” the spokesman added.

Kalia said that India expected to return the body to the Pakistani authorities later in the day.

A Pakistani official confirmed that contact had been made with the Indian authorities for the return of the body of the soldier, identified only as Ikhlaq.

The soldier had “inadvertently crossed the Line of Control in Khoi Ratta sector” and has “reportedly been killed by Indians”, the Pakistani security official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

It was the first fatal exchange between troops in the region since the two armies agreed a ceasefire on January 16.

A flare-up along the LoC in early January saw a total of five soldiers killed, three from Pakistan and two from India.

The Indian government expressed outrage after one of its soldiers was beheaded although the Pakistani army denied responsibility for the decapitation.

Cross-border trade and transport links were also suspended for several weeks although they have since resumed.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir. Each administers part of the territory but claims the whole of Kashmir.