- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Pakistan: 1 dead in border clash with India
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan and India traded accusations Sunday of violating the cease-fire in the disputed northern region of Kashmir, with Islamabad accusing Indian troops of a cross-border raid that killed one of its soldiers and India charging that Pakistani shelling destroyed a home on its side.
The accusation of a border crossing resulting in military deaths is unusual in Kashmir, where a cease-fire has held between these two wary, nuclear-armed rivals for a decade. Tensions over the disputed region are never far from the surface, however, as the countries have fought two full-scale wars over it.
Pakistan and India have been in the midst of a tentative rapprochement in recent months that could be upset by the cross-border raid. Just last month, the two countries announced a new visa regime designed to make cross-border travel easier, and they have been taking steps to facilitate economic trade as well. Neither action would have been possible without the backing of Pakistan's powerful military.
The developments show how tensions have eased a great deal since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which 10 Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people. India claims the terrorists had ties to Pakistani intelligence officials, a claim that Islamabad denies.
The Pakistani military's public relations office said in a statement that a Pakistani soldier was also critically wounded in the incident. It said troops exchanged gunfire after Indian forces crossed the "line of control" dividing the Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir in the Haji Pir sector and raided a post called Sawan Patra.
The remote area where the incident occurred is up in the Himalayan mountain peaks. The closest town of Bagh, about 30 miles away, is itself about 160 miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Col. Brijesh Pandey, a spokesman for the Indian army in Kashmir, called the allegations that Indian troops crossed the border "baseless." Instead, he said that Pakistani troops "initiated unprovoked firing" and fired mortars and automatic weapons at Indian posts early Sunday morning. He said Pakistani shelling had destroyed a civilian home on the Indian side.
"We retaliated only using small arms. We believe it was clearly an attempt on their part to facilitate infiltration of militants," Col. Pandey said
India often accuses Pakistan of sending militants into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, often under cover of these types of skirmishes.
The mostly-Muslim mountainous Kashmir region has been a flashpoint of violence between these two neighbors for decades. Both claim the entire region as their own, and the countries fought two full-scale wars over control of Kashmir and some minor skirmishes.
On Saturday, leaders of a Pakistan-based militant coalition held a rally in the city of Muzaffarabad near Kashmir, in which they pledged to continue the fight to gain control of the entire region.
The United Jihad Council is a coalition of 12 anti-India militant groups. Many of the groups were started with the support of the Pakistani government in the 1980s and 1990s to fight India for control of Kashmir. The rally was held to mark the Jan. 5, 1949, call by the United Nations for a referendum on Kashmir's fate.
A 2003 cease-fire ended the most recent round of fighting. Each side occasionally accuses the other of violating it by lobbing mortars or shooting across the LOC.
A number of Pakistani civilians were wounded in November by Indian shelling, and in October the Indian army said Pakistani troops had fired across the disputed frontier, killing three civilians.
But accusations that one side's ground forces actually crossed the LOC are rarer.
• Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad, Roshan Mughal in Muzaffarabad, and Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow