Asia Crisis

India says kills 6 on Kashmir border,incursions rise

SRINAGAR, India, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Indian troops shot dead six Muslim rebels as they tried to cross into Indian Kashmir from the Pakistani side, the sixth infiltration attempt to be foiled in the past one week, the army said on Saturday.

They said two soldiers were also killed in the gun battles, which broke out on Friday along the Line of Control (LoC), a military control line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Intelligence officials say Pakistan-based militant groups have stepped up efforts to push their members into Indian Kashmir across the rugged LoC before winter snow blocks the Himalayan mountain passes.

"Less than two months are left for winter and Tanzeems (militant groups) across are desperate to send more and more terrorists before winter sets in," a senior Indian intelligence officer said.

More than 20 people mostly "infiltrators" have been killed in firefights along the LoC or ceasefire line in the past one week due to increased patrolling, the officer said.

The infiltration comes despite a ceasefire between the two armies and a three metre (yard) high barbed wire security fence along most of the 742-km (460-mile) LoC. But militants seem to have breached the barrier.

Indian authorities say a two-decade-old separatist violence may not end in Kashmir unless Pakistan stops arming, training and sending militants to the strife-torn region.

Pakistan, which like India claims all of the scenic region that is divided between them, has consistently denied its involvement in abetting the anti-India insurgency that has killed more than 47,000 people. (Reporting by Sheikh Mushtaq;Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Sanjeev Miglani)