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India and Pakistan trade accusations over deadly shooting

February 4, 2018

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian and Pakistani officials traded accusations Sunday following the deaths of four Indian soldiers and one Pakistani civilian, who were killed during an exchange of gunfire along the highly militarized de facto border that divides the disputed region of Kashmir between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Two Pakistani children and two Indian soldiers were injured, officials said.

An Indian official says Pakistan started firing artillery and small arms Sunday onto Indian positions, while a Pakistani official says Indian forces started the violence by firing onto the Pakistani side.

Each said their forces returned fire only in retaliation. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

India and Pakistan often accuse each other of violating a 2003 cease-fire agreement. Both countries accuse the other of initiating border skirmishes leading to the deaths of soldiers and civilians.

Tensions have increased since the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in India in 2014.

India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety.

The have fought two wars over Kashmir’s control since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

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