Pakistan Army Denies India's Claim It Opened Fire On Positions In Kashmir
21 January 2005
Islamabad: Pakistan's military on Friday denied India's claim that Pakistani soldiers fired at Indian positions in Kashmir in violation of a 14- month ceasefire. India has accused Pakistani troops of firing twice this week across the border that divides Kashmir between the two nations. Neither incident caused casualties, and Indian troops did not retaliate, Indian officials said. 'Nobody opened fire from our side and there is no truth in such claims,' Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan told The Associated Press on Friday. He said Pakistani and Indian military commanders spoke by telephone on Thursday and agreed to work closely to lower tensions. Sultan said the military didn't know who was behind the incidents on Tuesday and Thursday. 'We respect the ceasefire and don't want tension with India,' he said. Before the November 2003 truce, Pakistani and Indian troops regularly fired at each other across the border, killing soldiers and civilians. The peace that resulted has been the longest period of calm along the border since 1989, when a violent Islamic insurgency began in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the militants, who have been fighting to win independence for Kashmir or its merger with Muslim-dominated Pakistan. Islamabad denies those allegations. The two nuclear-armed nations have fought two out of their three wars over Kashmir since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. But both sides in recent months have taken steps to improve relations. Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh is to visit Pakistan next month for talks with his counterpart, Khursheed Kasuri. The two countries' prime ministers are to meet on the sidelines of a summit of South Asian leaders to be held Feb. 6-7 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.