ISLAMABAD (AP) — Indian forces fired into the Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, wounding four children, Pakistan's military said Wednesday, a sign of increasing tensions between two nuclear-armed rivals.
"Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian firing" after coming under attack in Kashmir, the military said in a statement. It said Indian fire wounded the children late Tuesday night when India "resorted to unprovoked firing" in the Nakial sector along the Line of Control in Kashmir.
Pakistan's military said Indian forces resumed fire Wednesday morning in the Kailer and Nezapir sectors.
In New Delhi, the Indian army officials confirmed the incident, but blamed Pakistan for initiating the fire.
Two Indian army officials said the Pakistan army fired small arms and mortar shells at Indian positions in the Poonch sector late Tuesday in an "unprovoked attack." They said Pakistan opened fire earlier Tuesday as well.
The officials said Indian troops "retaliated." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
Shantmanu, a senior government official in Indian-controlled Kashmir, said Pakistani fire wounded one civilian Tuesday.
Exchanges of fire are common along the tense and heavily guarded Line of Control in Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India. Fighting intensified on Oct. 5, when violence erupted there during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
So far, this round of cross-border fire has killed 20 people and wounded more than 100 on both sides. Thousands of villagers living in Kashmir and elsewhere in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province near the Indian-controlled Kashmir already have fled.
The clashes are the most serious violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement.
The latest violence came after top Pakistan and Indian military officials in a hotline call Monday spoke about the ongoing violence along the border to end the clashes that killed 12 people in Pakistan and eight in India in the past week.
Both Pakistan and India blame the other for the clashes, which broke out after New Delhi abruptly canceled talks with Pakistan after its ambassador met with Kashmiri separatist leaders.
India accuses Pakistan of sending militants into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, which has been a flashpoint of violence between these two neighbors for decades. Both claim the entire region as their own, and they have fought two full-scale wars over control of Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
Naqvi reported from New Delhi. Associated Press writer Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.