By Zahid Rafiq
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir
Four militants and three Indian soldiers were killed in a two day long gunbattle close to the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region, according to the Indian army. Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an Indian Army spokesperson, said on Sunday that the gun battle started on Saturday when the Indian soldiers intercepted a group of militants in Nowgam sector, around 145 kms from capital city Srinagar, after they had crossed over from the Pakistan side.
Kalia said the gunbattle lasted two days and ended finally on Sunday with four dead militants and three Indian soldiers dead.
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.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.