By The Washington Post · Joanna Slater · WORLD, ASIA-PACIFIC · Oct 20, 2019 - 9:39 PM
It was one of the deadliest sequences this year at the Line of Control, the highly militarized frontier where soldiers from the two countries regularly trade small-arms and mortar fire.
The barrage came amid increased tension between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
In August, India withdrew Kashmir's semiautonomous status and instituted a crackdown in the region. The move incensed Pakistan, which considers itself the defender of Kashmiri Muslims.
India accuses Pakistan of stoking a three-decade insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir by sending fighters and arms across the Line of Control. Pakistan denies the accusations.
Five civilians and one soldier were killed on Pakistan's side of the Line of Control, a spokesman for the Pakistani Army said on Sunday. Two Indian soldiers and one civilian were also killed, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of Defense said.
India and Pakistan both claimed to have killed larger numbers of the other country's soldiers in the incident but such assertions could not be verified independently.
Indian media outlets cited unnamed defense sources saying that Pakistani forces fired to provide cover for militants attempting to cross into Indian-controlled territory. Pakistan rejected such accusations and said that India's firing was "unprovoked."
Exchanges of fire across the Line of Control have increased in recent years, an ongoing confrontation that some analysts have called a "war by other means."
The two countries reached a cease-fire agreement in 2003, and for several years, relative calm prevailed on the frontier in Kashmir. Since 2014, however, cease-fire violations have jumped.
Last year was the worst year for such cross-border firing in 15 years, according to data from the independent Indo-Pak Conflict Monitor. Each side reported 2,000 or more incidents.