Page last updated at 04:53 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 05:53 UK

Three killed in Kashmir fighting

Indian soldiers in Kashmir
Hundreds of thousands of troops are based in Kashmir

At least two militants and an Indian soldier have been killed in a gun battle near the Line of Control which divides the disputed region of Kashmir.

The incident happened in the mountainous Poonch district in Jammu early on Wednesday.

A group of militants were trying to cross over into India, a senior army officer said.

Both India and Pakistan claim the disputed territory and have fought two wars over it.

Army officer Gurdeep Singh told the BBC that a group of militants were trying to cross over into India along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar area.

"The troops noticed their movement and challenged them. This led to fierce fighting between the two sides in which an army major and two militants were killed," he said.

Security forces were carrying out combing operations in the area to find out whether there were more "dead or alive" militants who had crossed over, Mr Singh said.

The army said it had foiled many attempts by militants to cross the de facto border this year.

Last week, Indian troops said they had shot dead five militants who had crossed the LoC in the Gurez area.

Seventeen militants and eight Indian soldiers were killed in a five-day-long gunbattle at Kupwara near the LoC in March.

The army says that over 70 "infiltrators" had crossed over into India from Pakistan this year, up from 45 in 2008.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint between the neighbours for more than 50 years and the scene of two of their three wars.

Muslim separatists have waged an insurgency since 1989.

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