Indian, Pakistan Armies Exchange Artillery Fire in Kashmir

Indian and Pakistan armies exchanged heavy artillery fire on Friday across the cease-fire line that divides Kashmir between the two countries.

"There were no casualties on the Indian side," Lt Col H S Oberai, the army spokesman, said in Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu-Kashmir state.

Oberai said the Indian army, using artillery, mortar and small arms, damaged one Pakistan army post.

There was no immediate comment by Pakistan.

India and Pakistan routinely open fire on one another across the cease-fire line in Kashmir. However, recent fighting has been subdued following India's efforts toward peace in troubled Kashmir and Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf's visit to India in July. The two countries remain at an impasse over Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of the Himalayan territory since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

Also Friday, government forces ambushed and killed 11 Islamic rebels near the cease-fire line, police said.

Fighting erupted when security forces sealed off Singhpora, a village in Poonch district, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The rebels were gunned down when they tried to shoot their way out of the security cordon, the officer said. The government didn't report any casualties among its troops.

Singhpora is around 215 kilometers (135 miles) north of Jammu.

More than a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India since 1989. Human rights groups say more than 60,000 people have been killed in clashes.

In a major confrontation in Srinagar on Monday, the militants attacked the state legislature building, exploding a car bomb and then hunkering down for a seven-hour gun battle with security forces. Forty people were killed and dozens more injured. Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir state.

India accuses its neighbor Pakistan of training and arming the Islamic guerrillas, a charge Islamabad denies.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

(Agencies 10/06/2001)

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