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3 Indian Soldiers Are Killed in Kashmir

NEW DELHI — Three Indian Army soldiers were killed on Tuesday on the border between India and Pakistan, the army said in a statement, which promised retribution for “this cowardly act.” The body of one soldier had been mutilated, it said.

Though the army offered no specifics, mutilation in the past has referred to a beheading. It was the second time in recent weeks that a serviceman’s body had been found in that state.

In 2013, a few Indian soldiers were found beheaded in the area, the disputed border region of Kashmir.

The encounter on Tuesday took place around midday in Kupwara, a district in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The area is hilly and heavily forested, and the conditions on Tuesday were foggy and very cold, Brig. P. S. Gotra of the Indian Army’s northern command said by phone. Brigadier Gotra said it was not clear whether the soldiers had been killed by infiltrating militants, Pakistani Army troops or a combination of the two.

Exchanges of fire on the Line of Control at the border between India and Pakistan have been unrelenting in recent months, despite a cease-fire agreement that was signed in 2003. Virtually every other day, the two countries accuse each other of cease-fire violations, unprovoked gunfire and the killing of civilians and soldiers.

India announced on Sept. 29 that its army had conducted “surgical strikes” on militant bases along the line of control, an act that was celebrated by Indians as a powerful assertion of force. The strikes were presented as retaliation for an attack by militants on an Indian Army base in Uri, in which 19 soldiers were killed. Pakistan denied that Indian forces had managed to penetrate its defenses.

Since then, however, India has had significant losses in cross-border shelling and other fire, among them the deaths of 13 soldiers, seven border guards and 12 civilians. Fifty-seven civilians have been injured in the same period, said India’s border security force.

On Nov. 14, the Pakistani Army said, seven of its soldiers were killed by Indian fire at the border.

The two governments have summoned each other’s diplomats and lodged repeated protests. Pakistan said India committed 180 cease-fire violations in 2016, killing more than 27 civilians and wounding more than 100.

Diplomatic talks between the countries are nearly suspended, and each government has expelled its counterpart’s diplomats on spying charges.

“The time has come for India to send a message to the world that India cannot be trespassed or transgressed any more,” J. J. Singh, former chief of the Indian Army, said on the cable news network NDTV on Tuesday.

Source: NYT > World

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