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Pakistan says soldier killed in unprovoked attack by India

August 21, 2013|By Nasir Khan and Mark Magnier
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for talks with India.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for talks with India. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP/Getty…)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A Pakistani soldier was killed in an unprovoked Indian attack Wednesday along the de facto border separating the two nations, Pakistani officials and local media said, in the latest case of alleged retaliatory violence.

Another soldier was seriously wounded in the “unprovoked shelling by Indian troops,” according to the official Associated Press of Pakistan news service. The Foreign Ministry said it had lodged a strong protest with the Indian ambassador in Islamabad over the shelling, which reportedly started late Tuesday and lasted into early Wednesday.

India did not immediately respond. Its defense minister, A.K. Antony, said Monday that the army would take “all possible steps” to stem cease-fire violations by Pakistan along the border in the disputed Kashmir region, known as the Line of Control.

Two of the three wars between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947 have been fought over Kashmir.

The attack Wednesday came two weeks after five Indian soldiers were killed in the same area of the Himalayas. India said the five were killed by Pakistani forces, but Islamabad has denied involvement.

In a statement Wednesday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said continued cease-fire violations across the Line of Control in recent weeks and the escalation of tensions are counterproductive and detrimental to stability and peace in the region. Pakistan's new government, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, campaigned on a pledge to ease tensions with India, combat terrorism and spur the nation’s moribund economy.

“While Pakistan is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement, it calls upon India to take serious and credible measures to prevent further cease-fire violations and reduce tensions,” the ministry said.

A truce along the Line of Control has held for nearly a decade despite occasional artillery fire and cross-border ambushes by both sides.

Sharif said in a speech Monday that the two countries should be fighting poverty, not each other. He also asked for talks with Indian officials, although a breakthrough would be difficult any time soon, analysts said, given that Indian elections are approaching and the opposition has accused the government of weakness toward Pakistan.

Ties with Pakistan cannot improve until it “stops using its territory for anti-India activity,” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last week.

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mark.magnier@latimes.com

Special correspondent Khan reported from Islamabad and Times staff writer Magnier from New Delhi.

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