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Civilian wounded as India, Pakistan border guards trade fire on Kashmir border

Xinhua, August 22, 2014 Adjust font size:

The border guards of India and Pakistan Friday fired on each other's positions on international border (IB) in Kashmir, officials said.

According to India's official broadcaster All India Radio (AIR), a civilian was wounded due to Pakistani firing.

The two sides using light and heavy artillery targeted each other's posts and areas for hours together.

"Pakistan Rangers during night at around 1:15 a.m. (local time) targeted Border Security Force (BSF) border outposts along International Border on Kurtana Khurd, Abdullian and Tubewell number 5 in R S Pora sector of Jammu," an official said. "The exchange of fire lasted until 6:30 this morning."

Officials said the Indian side also retaliated to Pakistan firing with equal caliber weapons.The firing created panic among villagers in the forward areas.

Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday told media in New Delhi that Indian troops were giving appropriate response to cease-fire violations by Pakistan along the border.

On Aug. 11, two Indian border guards of BSF and two civilians were wounded in similar firing in the area, while a woman was killed and two others wounded on Pakistani side.

Both New Delhi and Islamabad accused each other of resorting to unprovoked firing and violating cease-fire.

India this week canceled the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, citing its reservations over Islamabad's proximity with Kashmiri separatists.

This month has seen a surge in cease-fire violations on the line-of-control (LoC) and IB in Kashmir.

Last month, armies and border guards of the two countries also indulged in cease-fire violations, inflicting casualties on both sides, besides damage to civilian areas.

LoC is a de facto border that divides Kashmir into India and Pakistan controlled parts.

The LoC on both sides is guarded by army, while IB is guarded by BSF on the Indian side and Pakistan Rangers from the other side.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

New Delhi and Islamabad in 2003 agreed to observe cease-fire along IB and LoC in Kashmir. Though some violations have been reported on both sides, the cease-fire remains in effect.

Last year, deadly skirmishes took place between Indian and Pakistani troops posted on the 720 km-long LoC and 198 km IB in Kashmir. Both sides have suffered troop as well as civilian casualties during the stand-off. Endi

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