Indian and Pakistani troops traded small-arms fire on Tuesday along their tense frontier in Kashmir as Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee raised hopes of avoiding an all-out war.
An Indian defence official said both armies -- involved in a powerful buildup along their border -- exchanged machine gun fire in several Kashmir frontier areas overnight and into Tuesday.
The two nations have mobilised about a million troops along their border from Kashmir in the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea after a bloody December attack on India's parliament which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based Muslim militants fighting its rule in Kashmir.
India says it will not scale down its deployment until Pakistan ends support for the militants. Pakistan denies sponsoring the groups and has banned several.
In Srinagar, summer capital of disputed Kashmir, Indian forces were locked in a fierce gunbattle with rebels.
Police said the clash in a residential suburb began late on Monday night. In October, 38 people died in a suicide bomb attack on the state assembly in the city.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said late on Monday he did not expect the tensions with Pakistan to boil over into war, adding diplomatic efforts were making some progress.
(China Daily January 30, 2002)