ISLAMABAD — Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded gunfire in the disputed territory of Kashmir for the second time in three days Tuesday, this time leading to Indian claims that the Pakistanis had killed two Indian soldiers.
The sudden surge in fatal combat is a troubling development in Kashmir, a disputed mountainous area that has been a focus of bitter tensions between the neighbors over six decades. A cease-fire has been in place for almost 10 years.
Although both sides have exchanged accusations of cross-border infiltration, the incidents have received muted media coverage and showed few signs of escalating into a diplomatic crisis. The Indian military said fighting erupted on its side of the de-facto border, known as the Line of Control, on Tuesday when an Indian patrol clashed with Pakistani troops who had crept across under cover of fog. The Pakistanis retreated after a brief firefight in which two Indian soldiers were killed, an Indian army officer said.
‘‘The government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it,’’ the Indian Defense Ministry said in a statement. ‘‘The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honor the cease-fire agreement strictly.’’
Pakistan’s military quickly rejected that version of events. A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it ‘‘Indian propaganda’’ to divert attention from an earlier clash Sunday, in which a Pakistani soldier reportedly died.
“Pakistan military officials deny Indian allegation of unprovoked firing,’’ the official said in a text message.
New York Times