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India Says Soldiers, Militants Killed In Shoot-Out Near Kashmir Border With Pakistan

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard at check post along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer, some 81 kilometers from Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.

The Indian military says three of its soldiers and three suspected militants were killed in an outbreak of fighting near the Line of Control, the de facto border with Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region.

The exchanges of fire on November 8 were the deadliest clashes in the region in several months.

Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India have fought two wars over control of Kashmir, which is claimed in full by both nuclear-armed countries.

India accuses Pakistan of funding militant groups fighting Indian troops, a claim Islamabad denies.

Tensions have been particularly high in the region since August 2019, when India revoked the region's limited autonomy and initiated a crackdown on militants and supporters of independence or unification with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

New Delhi said the fighting began early on November 8 after soldiers detected "suspicious" movements in the Machil area near a military fence in a forest that marks the Line of Control.

Colonel Rajesh Kalia said one Indian border guard and one suspected militant were killed in an initial outbreak of gunfire.

Two more soldiers and two more suspected rebels were later killed after troops were rushed to the area, he said.

Reuters reported that four Indian soldiers had been killed in the incidents.

It was the highest number of army casualties along the Line of Control in Kashmir since April, when five Indian troops and five militants were killed after armed militants were challenged by Indian troops in the area.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa