Militants attacked an army patrol in Indian Kashmir on Thursday, leaving three soldiers and three civilians dead as fighting continued near the border with rival Pakistan, security officials said. The hours-long attack coincided with a regional summit in Nepal attended by the leaders of India and Pakistan, which was overshadowed by rising tensions between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals. The group of heavily armed militants attacked the army column near a base in the town of Arnia in Indian Kashmir, about four kilometres from the undisputed, internationally-recognised border with Pakistan. ‘Three of our soldiers were martyred in the operation which is still ongoing,’ army spokesman for the area, Manish Mehta, said, updating the toll from one, after two soldiers shot during the encounter died of their injuries. Three civilians were killed in crossfire and three militants shot dead in the attack which started early in the morning, local deputy inspector general of police Shakeel Beig said. ‘So far three local civilians and three militants have died,’ Beig told AFP. The rebels, suspected to have crossed from Pakistan, entered an ‘abandoned bunker’ which Indian forces then surrounded, triggering the gun battle. ‘They are a group of four to six militants now firing from inside the bunker,’ Beig said. The attack came as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif shook hands but failed to hold a formal meeting at the just-ended summit in Kathmandu, in signs of growing mutual distrust.
Source: New Age