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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 10:43 GMT
Pakistan denies new Kashmir raid
Indian troops patrol near the Line of Control
Indian army officers have pledged to investigate the shooting
Pakistan has denied allegations from India that its forces have shelled Indian-administered Kashmir for a second time this week.

Indian commanders said mortars were fired into a village in the disputed territory, followed by small-arms fire.

Pakistan's military rejected claims that it had breached a ceasefire in place since November 2003.

On Tuesday, India said about 12 mortar shells had been fired from Pakistani territory - which Pakistan also denied.

Militant separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, which is claimed by both Pakistan and India, since 1989. About 40,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since independence.

Hotline talks

Indian army Brigadier Dhruv Katoch said that Indian positions came under light mortar and small arms fire for 15 minutes on Thursday night.

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The BBC's Paul Anderson in Islamabad says there were no reports of casualties. India says its troops did not return fire.

As he did after Tuesday's claims, Pakistan's military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, again denied any shells had been fired by his country's forces.

The latest claims follow hotline talks between the directors of military operations from the Indian and Pakistani armies on Thursday.

Both reassured each other they were maintaining the ceasefire agreed along the Line of Control and that they would try to defuse any further tension.

Our correspondent says some analysts in India say the firing could have been ordered by rogue army officers unhappy with President Pervez Musharraf's softening stand on Kashmir.

Or, they say, Islamic militants - who do not normally use mortars - could have upgraded their weaponry.

Relations between India and Pakistan have improved since the ceasefire was signed and peace talks began last year.

Delhi pulled back several thousand troops from Indian-administered Kashmir in November because of a perceived decrease in violence.

It is estimated to have between 180,000 and 350,000 soldiers in the state, including paramilitary special forces.

However, our correspondent says that although the peace process has brought expanded transport and diplomatic links, there has been no breakthrough on Kashmir and that lately the sides have been expressing mutual frustration at each other's position.




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