SRINAGAR, India: Indian soldiers Thursday killed three suspected militants who tried to attack an army base in Indian Kashmir, officers said, the latest in a string of incidents that has hiked tensions with archrival Pakistan.
The group of armed militants wearing army fatigues attempted to break through the camp’s perimeter in Kupwara district before dawn but were repelled by soldiers in heavy exchanges of fire.
“Three terrorists were killed in the operation and three AK rifles (were) also recovered from the site,” army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Agence France-Presse.
Another officer told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity that the incident lasted just 15 minutes and the situation was now under control.
The attempted attack was the second in Indian-administered Kashmir this week after militants killed one soldier while trying to raid a base in Baramulla town on Sunday night.
Tensions have spiked since New Delhi said last week it had launched “surgical strikes” on militant posts across the disputed border that divides the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.
A furious Islamabad denied the strikes, saying two of its soldiers were killed in cross border firing.
Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across their Kashmir border known as the Line of Control (LoC), but rarely send ground troops over the line.
Tensions have been mounting since gunmen raided an Indian army base in Kashmir on September 18, killing 19 soldiers, the worst such attack in more than a decade.
New Delhi blamed the attack on Pakistan-based militants, triggering a public outcry and demands for military action.
Separately on Thursday, the army said it had foiled overnight three attempts by suspected militants to cross the LoC into Indian-administered Kashmir.
“The infiltration bids were assisted by Pakistan (army) posts,” the unnamed officer said.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but both claim it in full. Armed separatist groups in the Indian-controlled part of the territory have for decades been fighting to break free from New Delhi.
India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the LoC to launch attacks on its forces. Islamabad denies the claims.
The nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain seven decades ago, two of them over Kashmir. AFP/CC