Pakistan army says Indian fire kills soldier, boy in Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Indian troops opened fire across the border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing a soldier and a 15-year-old boy and wounding four others, Pakistan’s military and other officials said Tuesday, amid tensions between the two South Asian nuclear rivals.

In a statement, the military said Pakistani troops responded by targeting the Indian positions where the fire originated, causing “substantial damage to Indian posts” on the Indian side but gave no evidence to back up the claim.

District administrator Qaiser Orangzeb said the boy was killed Monday night when Indian mortar shells hit his home along the Line of Control in Kashmir. On Tuesday, thousands of mourners attended the boy's funeral, he said.

Pakistan and India routinely accused each other of unprovoked attacks along the tense Kashmir frontier in violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement. Pakistan says India has violated the truce more than 2,000 times this year alone.

There was no immediate comment from Indian officials about the latest exchange of fire along the Line of Control in Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

The two neighbors have fought two of their three wars over the territory and India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India. Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations.

Tensions soared in February 2019, when a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, and India retaliated with airstrikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan shot down one of the warplanes in Kashmir and captured a pilot who was quickly released. India said the strikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for the suicide bombing.

Relations have been further strained since August last year, when India revoked the Muslim-majority region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger on both sides of the frontier. Since then, troops have frequently traded fire, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides.