JAMMU, India (AP) _ Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged fire for about an hour Tuesday, killing nine armed men allegedly trying to cross into India's disputed Kashmir region.

When challenged by an Indian border patrol, the armed men began shooting and Indian troops returned fire, said a spokesman of the Border Security Force.

Pakistani troops along the border also started firing to give cover to the intruders, said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The border post is in the Ramgarh area, about 30 miles southwest of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu-Kashmir state.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming Muslim guerrillas and letting them sneak across the border with India to help the 9-year-old insurgency in Indian-held Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in this predominately Hindu country.

Islamic Pakistan denies the accusation, maintaining it only gives ideological support to the dozens of rebel groups in Kashmir who are fighting Indian forces for freedom or a merger with Pakistan.