SRINAGAR, India — A group of militants sneaked into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir from the Pakistani side of the disputed territory on Sunday, sparking a gunbattle that left at least six suspected rebels dead, the Indian military said.
The fighting began early Sunday when soldiers intercepted a group of insurgents along the highly militarized de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, said Col. Rajesh Kalia.
He said soldiers were still carrying out search operations in the remote and forested northwestern Keran sector, where the incident occurred.
There was no independent confirmation.
On Thursday, at least one soldier was killed and another wounded after suspected militants attacked an Indian patrol in the same area, the army said.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety. Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 and demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown since 1989.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training anti-India rebels and also helping them by providing gunfire as cover for incursions into the Indian side.
Pakistan denies this, saying it offers only moral and diplomatic support to the militants and to Kashmiris who oppose Indian rule.
Most Kashmiris support the rebel cause while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.