Indian soldier killed in Kashmir border shooting

SRINAGAR, India - An Indian soldier was killed when Pakistani snipers allegedly shot across the sensitive border in divided Kashmir, an Indian paramilitary official said Sunday, leading to a gunfight.

The incident occurred late Saturday in Indian Kashmir's Suchetgarh region, a Border Security Force (BSF) official said after the shooting shattered more than a year of calm along the militarised border in the Himalayan region.

"Pakistani snipers fired when a BSF party was on patrolling duty," said the Indian officer, who did not wish to be named.

BSF troopers retaliated, leading to a brief exchange of gunfire. It was not immediately known if Pakistani soldiers suffered casualties.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is held in part by each but claimed in full by both.

They agreed to a ceasefire along the de-facto border, the Line of Control, in 2003 and a year later launched talks aimed at brokering a regional peace.

The Indian army's chief commander in the restive region warned Pakistan could "push" insurgents across the border to stage attacks in a bid to divert attention from the killing in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan hotly denies Indian allegations that it helps Islamic insurgents in disputed Kashmir.

"It is quite likely that Pakistan, under pressure because of so many questions being asked to it, could adopt a strategy of diverting attention, which they have always done," Lieutenant General K. T. Parnaik said late Saturday in the Indian Kashmir summer capital Srinagar.

"And one of the ways is to push in more people (militants) into this side so that the attention gets diverted from their internal problems to external areas," the general added.

US commandos killed bin Laden in an urban compound near the Pakistani capital Islamabad on May 2, leading to questions about the Al-Qaeda founder's unhindered stay there for five years.

An insurgency against New Delhi's rule in Indian Kashmir has left more than 47,000 people dead since 1989, according to an official count.