SRINAGAR, India: (Reuters) – Pakistan accused India of killing four civilians on the border of the two nuclear powers and India said one of its border guards was killed, heightening tensions before a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.
India said its forces had killed four Pakistanis planning an attack on Indian soil, although Indian media and opposition parties disputed the official account. The Pakistani army said four civilians had died in Indian shelling.
A senior Indian official with the border security forces said they had retaliated on Monday for machine gun and mortar attacks on about 60 positions strung out along more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) of the border.
“Pakistani rangers fired rocket-propelled grenades in villages near the border and our men have responded,” the officer told Reuters.
Monday’s incidents, in the Samba district south of Jammu along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir, followed the killing of two Pakistani soldiers by Indian forces on New Year’s Eve.
As the hostilities intensified, India’s security agencies declared a nationwide alert last week to avoid militant strikes before visits by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama later in January.
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