Rivals row over Kashmir ceasefire

14 May 2008

London: India's army has accused Pakistani troops of firing across the Line of Control that divides the disputed region of Kashmir. It is thought to be the first such allegation by India since the two countries struck a ceasefire in 2003. India said the firing was unprovoked but that it did not retaliate. Pakistan denies there was any firing. Militants have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989 at a cost of more than 60,000 lives. Meeting called India's army said the firing took place across the Tanghdar sector of the Line of Control, 168km (105 miles) north of Srinagar early on Tuesday evening. Indian army spokesman Lt-Col AK Mathur said: 'The Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked firing... our troops did not retaliate, no-one was hurt. 'This is a ceasefire violation by the Pakistani army.' Col Mathur said a meeting had been called 'to lodge a formal complaint and resolve the matter amicably'. Pakistan's army spokesman, Maj Gen Athar Abbas, said the allegations were baseless. 'It is absolutely incorrect and unfounded,' he told the BBC. 'There was no firing in the Neelum valley at the time they said.' He said the two sides had met 'and the issue has been resolved'. Peace moves Violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir has reduced markedly since the 2003 ceasefire. However, over the weekend eight people were killed in a fire fight in Samba district when militants were confronted by security forces. India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to visit Pakistan this month to review the peace process. Despite the reduced violence, little political progress has been made on the future of the Kashmir region.