World Bulletin/News Desk
Indian border forces killed four Pakistani interior-ministry troops on New Year's Eve, ending a year in which clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbours have escalated and hopes for reconciliation faded.
Wednesday's incident, on the international border in Jammu state of Indian occupied Kashmir, followed the killing earlier in the day of an Indian border guard, a senior officer from India's Border Security Force said.
"We have retaliated effectively ... four Pakistani rangers have been killed along the International Border in Samba sector this evening, said Rakesh Sharma, BSF inspector general for the Jammu Frontier.
"As Pakistani rangers suffered casualties, they waved white flags, asking BSF to stop the firing so that they can lift the bodies of the dead men. We stopped the firing after their request," Sharma said.
Frontier clashes have intensified in recent months, dashing hopes that a brief thaw in relations after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May would lead to a calming of the situation.
Meanwhile, according to a spokesman for Pakistan Rangers, the country's border guard, their troops were killed by “unprovoked” firing across the de facto border that divides Indian and Pakistan-held Kashmir, known as the Line of Control.
The spokesman claimed that the Indian commander had requested a meeting but when two Pakistani representatives were sent, the Indian forces opened fire on them.
There have been several ceasefire violations along the Line of Control this year, killing scores of civilians and soldiers from both sides of Kashmir.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far.Last Mod: 01 Ocak 2015, 16:09