Gun battle kills four in Indian Kashmir

Latest violence takes place as Indian and Pakistani representatives met to discuss security on the disputed frontier

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Fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir has killed two soldiers and two suspected rebels on Friday, as representatives from India and Pakistan met to discuss security on the disputed frontier.

The deaths were the latest to occur in recent weeks, which have seen an upsurge in firing by both sides across the heavily militarised border.

Police said the fighting broke out late Thursday after the army received a tip-off that militants were in Laribal village, some 70 kms northwest of the main city of Srinagar.

“Two terrorists were killed and we lost two soldiers in the firefight with them,” the local deputy inspector general of police Gharib Das told AFP.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels to infiltrate what it sees as its territory.

Struggle for self-determination

Islamabad denies the allegation, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination.

News of the latest deaths came as Pakistani paramilitary officials met India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to discuss border security.

The disputed former kingdom has been a source of constant tension between the South Asian neighbors who have fought two wars over its control.

Several rebel groups have battled hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region for independence or a merger with Pakistan in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands mostly civilians.
Violence has declined steadily in the region in the last decade.

But armed encounters between rebels and troops have increased in recent weeks and last week four suspected rebels and a soldier were killed during a night-long battle.