India

Kashmir firing: Five civilians killed after drone downed

India-Pakistan border Image copyright AP
Image caption India and Pakistan have often accused each other of unprovoked firing along the disputed border

At least five civilians were killed as India and Pakistan exchanged fire in the disputed Kashmir region, days after a meeting between leaders of the two countries in Russia.

Pakistan accused India of unprovoked firing in which four civilians died and five others were injured.

India said one woman was killed and three other civilians wounded in firing by Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan's army also said it shot down an Indian spy drone in Kashmir.

Pakistan summoned the Indian ambassador on Thursday to hear a "strong protest over airspace violation", the AFP news agency quoting a statement issued by the Pakistani foreign ministry said.

The incidents come days after Mr Modi accepted an invitation from Mr Sharif to attend a regional summit in Islamabad next year, signalling a new thaw in a strained relationship. This will be Mr Modi's first visit to Pakistan after he took power last year.

India and Pakistan have often accused each other of unprovoked firing along the disputed border. A ceasefire agreed in 2003 remains in place, but the neighbours often accuse each other of violating it.

Pakistan's military said four civilians, including a 18-year-old girl, had died and five others were wounded when Indian troops fired across the de facto border in Sialkot region on Wednesday morning.

Across the border, Indian border guards said one woman had been killed and three other civilians injured when Pakistani soldiers fired shells which exploded near a border village in Pargwal area on Wednesday.

Image copyright PAkistan military
Image caption The Pakistani military claimed that the drone was being used for aerial photography

"It was a blatant, unprovoked cease-fire violation by Pakistan," D Parekh of India's Border Security Force told the Associated Press news agency.

Meanwhile, India's army and air force have denied that any of their drones had been shot down or crashed in Pakistan, reports said.

"An Indian spy drone was shot down by Pakistani troops which intruded into Pakistan along [the de facto border that divides the region] near Bhimber today. The spy drone is used for aerial photography," a statement from the Pakistani military said on Wednesday.

But a spokesperson of the Indian army denied the report.

"Some reports of a drone crash in PoK [Pakistan-controlled Kashmir] are being referred to. No drone or UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] crash of the Indian Army has taken place," the spokesperson told the Press Trust of India news agency.

An air force spokesperson also denied that any of their drones had been brought down.

Kashmir, claimed by both countries in its entirety, has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years.

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