Pakistan reaffirms support for Kashmiri separatists amid violence

Pakistani leaders on Monday vowed support for Kashmiri separatists as militants killed an Indian soldier in the second attack in a fortnight on an army camp in the Himalayan valley.

Troops from the nuclear-armed neighbours exchanged fire across their de facto border in the disputed region several times, further raising tensions triggered when militants stormed an Indian army camp last month, killing 19 soldiers.

New Delhi blamed the attack on extremists operating from Pakistan. Islamabad denies the charge.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met his allies and leaders of the opposition parties in the capital Islamabad in what appeared to be a show of unity.

"Pakistan and Kashmir are inseparable," Sharif said at the meeting, adding, "We will continue supporting the freedom struggle in the valley."

The leaders of political parties who spoke to the media after the meeting said they would stand by the Kashmiri people in their "just struggle for liberation from tyrannic Indian rule."

The development comes hours after a top Pakistani diplomat said security advisers from the two countries had spoken to each other and agreed to de-escalate tensions at the borders.

It was the first high-level contact since New Delhi claimed last week its forces carried out surgical strikes inside Pakistan to target terrorist "launch pads."

Pakistan denied India conducted surgical strikes in its territory, saying only that cross-border firing took place in which two of its soldiers were killed.  

During Sunday night, militants attacked an army camp in India-administered Kashmir, killing one border guard, according to local police.

A group of up to four militants opened fire and threw grenades near an army camp in Baramulla district, area police chief Imtiyaz Hussain told reporters.

A guard from the Border Security Force unit adjoining the army camp was killed and another was injured in a gunbattle that continued for more than two hours, he said.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two wars over the region since their independence from Britain in 1947.

Last update: Mon, 03/10/2016 - 17:10

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