Militants attack Indian army base in disputed Kashmir
A group of heavily-armed militants have attacked and sneaked into an army base in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, triggering a fierce exchange of gunfire that has left one soldier killed and a military staffer injured.
A senior army officer, requesting anonymity, said three militants cut a perimeter fence and penetrated the battalion headquarters in the Tangdhar region, situated over 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, early on Wednesday.
“We heard three blasts initially and a gun battle is on,” the army officer said, adding that the assailants have taken up positions in the officers’ mess and blown up a kerosene tank.
Reinforcement army and paramilitary troops have been dispatched to the area.
There are reports that the base lies very close to the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the Indian- and Pakistani-administered sectors of Kashmir, and houses about 80 soldiers.
Pakistan and India have been engaged in hostility over Kashmir ever since their independence from British colonial rule and their partition in 1947.
The two neighbors have fought two wars over the mountainous region. The two archrivals lay claim to the entire territory, but each controls parts of it; Pakistan controls one-third of Kashmir, with the remaining two-thirds being under India’s control.
Islamabad and New Delhi agreed on a ceasefire in 2003, and launched a peace process the following year. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, with both sides accusing the other of violating the ceasefire.
Thousands of people have been killed in the unrest in Kashmir over the past two decades.