Pakistan Says It Beat Back an Attack by India

From Associated Press

The government said today its armed forces repulsed an attack by Indian troops along the cease-fire line that divides the disputed territory of Kashmir, officials said. India denied the claim.

The Defense Ministry said the attack on a remote observation post in the Himalayas occurred Sunday, the day after talks ended between the two countries to ease border tensions.

Defense officials said Indian troops used heavy artillery, anti-tank guns and mortars in an attempt to capture an outpost on the KEL sector in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The outpost is located about 60 miles northeast of Muzzaffarabad, the capital of Azad (Free) Kashmir.

"Our forces repulsed the attack and inflicted casualties on the intruders," the official said, but he gave no figures.

In New Delhi, a spokesman for the Indian government denied any fighting had occurred.

"It's not true," said the spokesman, who cannot be identified under briefing rules. "We have not attacked. We have not used any artillery. We have not suffered any casualties."

Skirmishes and small arms fire are frequent along the cease-fire line, but Sunday's assault marked the first time that heavy artillery has been used, the Pakistani defense official said.

The Defense Ministry said India's attack was reported to U.N. military observers in India and Pakistan and that defense measures have been intensified.

The official said the use of heavy artillery and mortars was an attempt to escalate the situation along the line of control to try to divert world attention from a Muslim secessionist movement in Indian-held Kashmir, the agency said.

The uprising, which has claimed more than 950 lives since late January, has heightened already uneasy tensions between predominantly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, which were created along religious lines in the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.

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