Indian army base targeted in Kashmir attack

Indian army base targeted in Kashmir attack
Thu Nov 27, 2014 21:06:58

Soldier dies in gun battle with fighters. against background of regional summit attended by Indian and Pakistani leaders

A group of heavily armed men have killed at least one soldier and wounded three others in an attack on an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir, according to the Indian army.

The fighting on Thursday came as the leaders of India and Pakistan attended a regional summit aimed at boosting trade between almost a quarter of the world's people.

There were unconfirmed reports that three of the attackers had also been killed.

"The gunfight is going on. So far what we know from the unconfirmed reports is that three terrorists have been killed," Indian army spokesperson Manish Mehta told Al Jazeera's Baba Umar.

 The gun battle started at 8:47 am (IST) when four to five rebels occupied one of the several abandoned army bunkers at Pindi Kathyaar, Arnia sector on the working border that separates the south-western portion of Kashmir into India and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"There are unconfirmed reports about the death of an army officer too. Then there is another unidentified person who succumbed to injuries in a hospital here. The exact number of causalities on both sides could be only ascertained after the gunfight is over," the Jammu-based officer told Al Jazeera.

Three wars

The region's chief minister, Omar Abdullah, expressed his condolences over the soldier's death, while pointing to the timing of the attack.

"The timing of the attack in Arnia can't be a coincidence. My condolences to the family of the army officer killed in Arnia," Abdullah said on Twitter.

India and Pakistan fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are currently attending the annual South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Nepal. The leaders have avoided meeting each other.

Muslim separatists have been battling Indian forces in India's part of Kashmir since 1989.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels in the part of Kashmir it controls and sending them to the Indian side, a claim its neighbour denies.

India and Pakistan exchanged their heaviest gunfire in a decade last month, killing more than 20 people.

Baba Umar contributed to this report from Kashmir.