Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif calls for Kashmir new ceasefire

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Indian soldiers pay tribute to their colleagues at a wreath laying ceremony at the Palam Technical Airport in Delhi, on August 7, 2013Image source, AP
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India has lodged a "strong protest" over the latest violence with Pakistan

Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif has said it is imperative to restore a ceasefire on the disputed Kashmir border following violence earlier this week in which five Indian troops were killed.

Mr Sharif said he was looking forward to meeting his Indian counterpart.

Earlier the Indian defence minister said that the Pakistani army was directly responsible for the killings.

But Islamabad has denied that it in any way instigated the violence and says that the allegations are baseless.

In a statement issued by the Pakistani foreign ministry, Mr Sharif said that he hope to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York in September.

"During the meeting, we will discuss steps to further build trust and consolidate this relationship," he was quoted as saying.

He said that it was "incumbent upon the leadership of both sides not to allow the situation to drift and to take steps to improve the atmosphere by engaging constructively with a view to building trust and confidence".

Soon after the violence on Tuesday, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said that the ambush which killed troops was carried out by "terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan army uniforms".

But after opposition MPs accused him of absolving the Pakistani army of any blame for the violence, he told parliament on Thursday that it was "now clear that a specialist group of the Pakistan army was involved in the attack".

"We all know nothing happens from the Pakistan side without the support, facilitation and direct involvement of the Pakistan authorities," he said.

"Our restraint should not be taken for granted, nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control [the de facto border that divides Kashmir] ever be doubted."

Image source, AFP
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Hundreds of people have protested in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities against Tuesday's killings

Mr Antony said his statement on Tuesday was made on the available information then.

Meanwhile, hundreds have attended the funerals of the killed soldiers.

Four of them were from Bihar, where the authorities announced state funerals for them.

The fifth soldier, Naik Kundalik Mane of Maharashtra state, was cremated with full military honours at his village Pimpalgaon in Kolhapur district on Thursday morning.

Angry opposition MPs have paralysed the Indian parliament for the past three days in protest over the government's earlier response to the killings, which they said in effect exonerated the Pakistani army.

Claimed by both countries, Kashmir has been a flashpoint for over 60 years.

The two sides agreed a ceasefire along the Line of Control in November 2003.

But both have blamed each other for occasional cross-border firing which has resulted in several soldiers and civilians being killed or wounded.

Thousands of people have been killed in Indian-administered Kashmir since an armed revolt against Indian rule erupted in 1989.