India Lashes Out at Pakistan After Deadly Kashmir Encounter

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.
Prakash Singh | AFP | Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

India slammed arch-rival Pakistan on Wednesday over a firefight in the disputed territory of Kashmir in which two of its soldiers were killed, and said the mutilation of one of the bodies was "inhuman".

Officials said Pakistan's envoy to New Delhi was likely to be summoned during the day to register a protest over Tuesday's incident, in which Pakistani troops crossed the territory's heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC) and fired at an Indian army patrol. The body of one of the soldiers was found "badly mutilated" in a forested area on the side controlled by India, Rajesh K. Kalia, spokesman for the Indian army's Northern Command, said. However, he denied Indian media reports that one of the bodies had been decapitated and the throat of another had been slit.

"Pakistan Army's action is highly provocative," Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony, told reporters in New Delhi. "The way they treated the dead body of the Indian soldier is inhuman. We will convey our protest to the Pakistan government."

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Firing and small skirmishes between the two countries are common along the 740-km (460 mile) LoC despite a ceasefire and slowly improving bilateral ties. The Indian army says eight of its soldiers were killed in 2012, in 75 incidents.

However, incursions by troops from either side are rare, and one Indian media report said Tuesday's incident marked the "first major ingress" since the ceasefire was agreed in 2003.

Pakistan has denied the latest Indian allegations. A Pakistani military spokesman said they were "propaganda" aimed at diverting attention away from a clash along the LoC two days earlier in which Pakistan had said one of its soldiers was killed after an Indian incursion.

India denies that its troops crossed over the line during last weekend's incident.

India considers the entire region of snow-capped mountains and fertile valleys an integral part of its territory. Pakistan contests that and demands implementation of a 1948 U.N. Security Council resolution for a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

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India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region.