2 Pakistani troops killed in border clashes with India
Border clashes come amid deterioration in Pakistan, India ties over Kashmir attack.
Aamir Latif - KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Two Pakistani troops were killed during an hours-long clash with Indian border guards, the Pakistani army said Thursday.
The fresh round of shelling and firing continued from late Wednesday night to Thursday morning at different points of the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir valley between the hostile neighbors.
India's Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General Ranbir Singh said India had carried out a "surgical strike" to stop attempted infiltration over the LoC.
Pakistan's army however called the shelling unprovoked and the it had responded "befittingly."
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned "Indian aggression" and said while his country wanted regional peace, it was prepared to respond to any attacks.
The battle followed heightened tensions in recent weeks after the killing of 18 Indian soldiers at their base in Indian-held Kashmir two weeks ago, which India blamed on Pakistan.
In Washington, the White House called said the U.S. encourages "continued discussions between India and Pakistan to avoid escalation” and “is firmly committed to our partnership with India, and to our joint efforts to combat terrorism," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. "At the same time, we continue to be in close contact with Pakistan and we continue to value the important partnership that we have formed with them on a range of issues, including security issues."
The two neighbors have fought three wars -- two of them over Kashmir -- since 1947 and Islamabad last Tuesday warned it would not refrain from using its nuclear arsenal in case of war with India.
*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington
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