Two Indian soldiers were shot dead Tuesday in a Pakistani army raid in Kashmir, Indian officials said, two days after Pakistan accused the Indian troops of killing one of their soldiers in the disputed border region between the two countries.
The Pakistani troops allegedly targeted an Indian Army patrol under the cover of a thick fog Tuesday morning, killing the two soldiers. India’s Ministry of Defense said that the cross-border raid, near Mendhar, 220 km (140 miles) north of the Indian city of Jammu, was a “provocative action.”
“The government of India considers the incident a provocative action and we condemn it. The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honor the ceasefire agreement strictly,” the ministry said in a statement.
The dead soldiers were identified as Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh.
A senior Indian Army officer confirmed to the Indian Express that one body was found badly mutilated. Unconfirmed reports in the local media suggested that two porters hired by the Indian Army were missing after the attack.
However, the Pakistani military officials denied the allegations of a border fight saying that "it appears to be Indian propaganda to divert the attention of the world away from the Sunday raid on a Pakistani post by Indian troops in which a Pakistani soldier was killed," according to a report in the BBC.
The Pakistani army alleged Sunday that Indian troops breached the Line of Control (LoC) and raided the Sawan Patra checkpost in the disputed territory, killing a Pakistan soldier. But the Indian military denied the allegation.
"Pakistan army troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack," a Pakistani army spokesman said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Indian army spokesman Col. Jagadish Dahiya said that the Indian troops had not crossed the LoC. "However, there was a ceasefire violation by Pakistan. Our troops retaliated by firing," Dahiya said.
"None of our troops crossed the Line of Control. We have no casualties or injuries,” he said.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir met India’s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai in New Delhi Wednesday in the wake of the gross violation of a ceasefire agreement.
India’s Defense Minister AK Antony condemned the killings as “highly provocative,” adding that the way one of the Indian soldier's bodies had been treated was “inhuman.”
India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Times Now TV channel that the killing of the Indian soldiers was "an extremely sensitive matter" and "a matter of great concern to everyone.”
"These are matters on which every dimension has to be examined very carefully before we say what we propose to do," he said, warning that India’s response "may have to go beyond the procedures."
Though there is a long history of border skirmishes in Kashmir, they have been far less frequent in recent years. A ceasefire has been in effect along the de facto border since November 2003.
Disrupting a period of rapprochement, bilateral talks were temporarily suspended following the terror attack Nov. 26, 2008, by Pakistani militants in Mumbai. In November last year, India executed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 10-member squad that carried out the attack.