SRINAGAR, India: India accused Pakistan of killing two of its soldiers in a “ghastly” attack Tuesday and mutilating one of the bodies along the tense disputed border between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said India would deliver a “proportionate response” to the killings in Kashmir which he said were designed to sabotage an already fragile peace process.
The Pakistani military meanwhile rejected what it called Indian “propaganda” that it said was aimed at diverting attention after a cross-border exchange over the weekend in which a Pakistani soldier was killed.
The two Indian soldiers died after a firefight broke out around noon as a patrol moving in foggy conditions discovered Pakistani troops about half a kilometer inside Indian territory, an army spokesman said.
A cease-fire has been in place along the Line of Control that divides the countries since 2003, but it is periodically violated by both sides.
“There was a firefight with Pakistani troops,” army spokesman Rajesh Kalia told AFP from the mountainous Himalayan region, confirming the names of the men as sergeants Hemraj Singh and Sudhakar Singh.
“We lost two soldiers and one of them has been badly mutilated,” he added, declining to give more details on the injuries.
Indian reports and a military source speaking to AFP indicated that the mutilated soldier may have been decapitated, but further investigations and a post-mortem were required to confirm this.
In Islamabad, a Pakistan military spokesman denied what he called an “Indian allegation of unprovoked firing,” calling the Indian account “propaganda to divert the attention of the world from Sunday’s raid on a Pakistani post.”
Pakistan’s army says Indian troops crossed the Line of Control Sunday and stormed a military post in an attack that left one Pakistani soldier dead and another injured.