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Kashmir border skirmishes raise India-Pakistan tensions

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A series of deadly skirmishes along the India-Pakistan border are endangering the official cease-fire between the two nations, increasing tensions already sparked by a lethal series of terrorist bombings in India last weekend.

The Hindu newspaper reports that Indian military along the Line of Control (LoC), the border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, claimed that they were shelled by Pakistani forces on Wednesday, though no one was injured.

Army sources said six mortar shells were fired at the Keryan Post, in the Nowgam sector, early on Wednesday morning. Manned by troops of 16 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, the Keryan Post falls under the command of the Kupwara-based 19 Infantry Division, a formation responsible for defending one of the most sensitive, infiltration-besieged stretches of the LoC.
Indian commanders, the sources said, ordered their troops not to respond to the shelling, which is believed to be part of a deliberate Pakistani military escalation strategy intended to precipitate a crisis.

The Pakistani daily Dawn reports, however, that Pakistani military officials denied that any shelling had taken place.

Kashmir and the LoC have been points of contention between India and Pakistan since 1947, when the two countries were gained independence from the British. The nations have fought several wars over the territory, which both sides claim. The latest confrontation occurred in 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir. India and Pakistan committed to a cease-fire in 2003 and have gradually been renewing diplomatic ties. But the recent violence has threatened that progress.

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