Four Indian Soldiers Die In Kashmir Firefight
8 July 2005
Jammu: Four Indian soldiers and four Muslim separatist rebels were killed in a gunfight on Friday near the border dividing Indian and Pakistani Kashmir in one of the region's biggest clashes in six months, an army officer said. The fighting began when Indian troops spotted the rebels crossing the military Line of Control into Indian Kashmir late on Thursday in a forest in Poonch district, 250 km (156 miles) north of Jammu, the winter capital of Indian Kashmir. 'Hundreds of rounds were fired in the gunbattle which lasted for over eight hours,' the officer said. Violence has continued in Kashmir, the cause of two of the three India-Pakistan wars, despite a peace process that began more than 18 months ago and is termed 'irreversible' by both Islamabad and New Delhi. New Delhi remains suspicious that Pakistan is not doing enough to clamp down on Islamic militant camps on its soil though Islamabad denies helping militants in India. On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said more militant strikes in India could undermine public support for peace with Pakistan. He was reacting to a raid by six suspected Muslim militants on a revered Hindu religious complex in northern India this week. All six attackers were killed by police guards. Though violence has ebbed in Kashmir, the region remains a dangerous place. Late last month, a car bomb wounded at least 25 Indian soldiers in the region, where more than 45,000 people have been killed in the separatist revolt since 1989.