India and Pakistan traded bitter accusations Wednesday after New Delhi said Pakistani troops had killed two of its soldiers and mutilated one of the bodies in the disputed territory of Kashmir, a flash point between the two nations since their creation.
Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner and “lodged a strong protest” about what India alleges took place Tuesday, increasing the strain on ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
But Pakistan reiterated its denial of the accusations, saying India was trying to distract attention from a weekend clash in the Himalayan territory that left a Pakistani soldier dead.
India asserts that Pakistani troops took advantage of thick fog in a wooded area on Tuesday to cross over to its side of the Line of Control, the de facto border between the two nations in Kashmir.
The Indian military says one of its routine patrols spotted the Pakistani troops in the Mendhar sector of Poonch district, and a firefight lasting about 30 minutes ensued, during which two Indian soldiers were killed.
The Indian government on Wednesday accused Pakistani troops of subjecting the two soldiers’ bodies to “barbaric and inhuman mutilation,” calling the alleged actions “highly provocative.”
The Pakistani foreign ministry rejected the allegations that its troops had crossed the Line of Control and killed Indian soldiers.
“These are baseless and unfounded allegations,” the foreign ministry said. “Pakistan is prepared to hold investigations through the United Nations Military Observes Group for India and Pakistan on the recent cease-fire violations on the Line of Control.”
Pakistan said it is committed to “a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India,” and is working to ensure their relations are normal.
In that clash, according to the Pakistani military, Indian troops crossed the Line of Control and attacked a military post. Pakistani army troops repulsed the attack, but one Pakistani soldier was killed and another critically injured, Pakistan said.
The Indian Defense Ministry, however, said Pakistani troops opened fire unprovoked on Indian posts in the north Uri sector of Indian-administered Kashmir. Indian troops retaliated and forced Pakistani troops to stop firing, the ministry said. It did not immediately report the number of casualties.
The disputed territory lies in India’s Kashmir Valley, separated from Pakistan by the 450-mile Line of Control.
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