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UN Chief Urges Restraint After India-Pakistan Clashes In Kashmir

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged India and Pakistan to show restraint following clashes in the disputed region of Kashmir that have caused deaths on both sides.

Ban said an upcoming meeting of the countries' security chiefs on August 23-24 in New Delhi could help bolster dialogue between the two countries, which have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.

In the latest violence, a policeman and a civilian were killed August 18 when suspected rebels opened fire outside the Muslim shrine Tujjar Sharif, northwest of Srinagar in Indian Kashmir, police said.

On August 16, a woman was killed and eight others wounded in cross-border shelling by India. Six other civilians died over the weekend in Indian Kashmir after firing and shelling by Pakistani troops from across the border.

Ban expressed "serious concern about the recent escalation of violence" and urged both India and Pakistan "to exercise maximum restraint and take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians."

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan, but claimed in full by both, since the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters