August 25th 2014 - SRINAGAR: Two soldiers and at least four militants were killed in two separate gunfights in India-held Kashmir over the weekend, an army spokesman said on Sunday. A daylong battle with a group of militants on Sunday left one soldier and four militants dead in Kupwara district, said Col N.N. Joshi, the spokesman. He said another soldier was killed in fighting in Keran sector, near the de facto border in the disputed Himalayan region. Soldiers encountered on Saturday night the militants, who had crossed the border, some 150km northwest of Srinagar, the official alleged. “In the resultant exchange of fire between army and terrorists, one soldier was injured who succumbed later to his injuries,” Col Joshi said. The violence came after India called off high-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Islamabad, angry that a Pakistani official had met Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi.
Pakistan described the cancellation of talks as a setback for closer relations with India’s rightwing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s military says it has stepped up operations to flush out “suspected Pakistani militants” moving across the Line of Control. On Saturday, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the border further south in the region of Jammu, resulting in four deaths and forcing villagers to flee their homes. Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2014