Pakistan says two soldiers killed by Indian shelling in Kashmir

Two Pakistani soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops at the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed mountainous territory of Kashmir, Pakistan’s military said.

“During [an] intense exchange of fire two soldiers, Naik Shahjahan, age 35 years and Sepoy Hameed, age 21 years, while fighting valiantly embraced [martyrdom],” said a Pakistan military statement issued late on Tuesday, adding that the incident took place in the Bagsar region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

It added that Pakistani forces inflicted “heavy losses to Indian troops in men and material”, but did not mention specifics.

India’s military did not issue an official statement on the exchange of fire.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from the British in 1947.

Both countries claim the territory in full but administer parts divided by the LoC.

A ceasefire has technically been in effect at the LoC since 2003, but it is frequently violated by both sides, with almost daily reports of shelling in the last two years.

This year, Pakistan says India has violated the ceasefire at least 2,970 times, killing 29 people and wounding at least 249 civilians.

India does not routinely issue data on the number of casualties from such altercations, but last week Indian vice army chief Lt-Gen Satinder Kumar Saini said that Pakistan had “increased” the number of ceasefire violations.

“The ceasefire violations across the LoC have increased this year if you compare the figures with last year or the year before that,” he told media at a military function in the Indian town of Dehradun on Saturday.

“We have also seen that there has been caliber escalation in terms of artillery being used from across the LoC to target innocent civilians,” local media quoted Saini as saying.

“These acts are abhorrent and although casualties have taken place on our side on the innocent civilians, we have been retaliating in a calibrated manner. We are prepared for all contingencies which arise on the LoC.”

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