Srinagar (India) – Soldiers killed four suspected rebels and captured another during a day-long gun battle in Indian Kashmir near the border dividing the region between India and Pakistan, a defence spokesman said Thursday.

Pakistani Kashmiri girls look through a damaged wall hit by a mortar during cross border shelling, in Nakyal Sector, on the heavily militarised Line of Control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on August 18, 2015 © AFP/File Sajjad Qayyum
Pakistani Kashmiri girls look through a damaged wall hit by a mortar during cross border shelling, in Nakyal Sector, on the heavily militarised Line of Control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on August 18, 2015 © AFP/File Sajjad Qayyum

Soldiers detected the group of militants in Uri, 100 kilometres (62 miles) southwest of Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, on Wednesday morning, triggering a firefight that ended on Thursday afternoon.

“One terrorist was killed yesterday in Uri and three today in the contiguous forest area of Rafiabad,” Indian defence spokesman Colonel N N Joshi said.

“One was captured alive during the operation,” Joshi told AFP.

It was not immediately clear if the militants had crossed over the de facto border called the Line of Control from Pakistan.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947, but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

Since 1989 several rebel groups have been fighting hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region, for independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan. Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have been killed in the fighting.

India often accuses Pakistan of pushing armed militants into its administered portion of Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri struggle for the right to self determination.

Planned security talks between India and Pakistan at the weekend were cancelled at the last minute, after a row between the arch rivals over Islamabad’s plan to meet Kashmir separatist leaders in New Delhi and a desire to broaden the scope of the talks.