Indian troops in Kashmir fought a deadly gunbattle with suspected rebels crossing the military Line of Control from Pakistani-controlled territory Saturday, the army said.
One soldier and 11 suspected rebels were killed, army spokesman Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said, but only six suspected rebels' bodies were recovered. He said the other five bodies were lost when they fell into a river during the fighting in the disputed Himalayan region.
There was no way to independently confirm the army's report, and no Kashmiri rebel groups have issued any statements.
Since 1989, Muslim militants have been fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir for independence or merger with Pakistan. The uprisings and subsequent Indian crackdowns have left more than 68,000 people dead, most of them civilians.
Attacks by separatists have decreased in recent years, however, and Brar called Saturday's skirmish this year's biggest so far.
He said the shooting erupted after a group of suspected rebels crossed from the Pakistan-controlled territory of Kashmir into the Indian-run sector of Gurez. Two Indian soldiers also were wounded.
India has long accused Pakistan of funding, training and helping militants to slip over to the Indian side _ a charge Islamabad denies. Pakistan says it provides only moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle.
The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over Kashmir since 1947.