An army officer was among three Indian soldiers killed during a counter-militancy operation in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, according to police and media reports.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Haseeb Mughal told reporters that a team of police and soldiers laid siege on an area in the Kalakote region of Rajouri district, nearly 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Srinagar, after receiving input on the presence of militants.
In the ensuing exchange of fire between the two sides, a captain-rank officer and two soldiers were killed, while a third that was injured is being treated at a hospital, he said.
The latest casualty raises the number of Indian forces killed in anti-militancy operations to 23 this year. A total of 65 militants have also been killed in the same period, with police top brass claiming that militancy is in its death throes.
Rajouri and the neighboring district of Poonch, which are close to the de-facto border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir, have witnessed two major operations this year, in addition to the Wednesday’s gunfight.
Between April 20 and May 5, a total of 10 Indian military personnel were killed in Rajouri and Poonch.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971. Two of them were over Kashmir.
Also, in the Siachen glacier region in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
Thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989, according to several human rights organizations.
Source : Anadolu Agency