NEW DELHI – India accused Pakistani soldiers Tuesday of firing mortar shells across the dividing line in Kashmir (search) in the first violation of a 14-month cease-fire between the South Asian nuclear-armed rivals.
The cease-fire was the longest since an insurgent campaign in the divided Himalayan province began in 1989. Both countries claim the mainly Muslim, former princely state in its entirety and have fought two wars over it.
A senior army official said there were no casualties on the Indian side of the heavily militarized frontier known as the Line of Control (search), and Indian troops had not retaliated.
"It certainly is a violation of the cease-fire. We have exercised full restraint," Maj. Gen. Deepak Summanwar told the private NDTV news channel. "Seven to eight rounds of mortars were fired. All our patrols and ambushes have been alerted."
The cease-fire was agreed to in November 2003.
Indian military officials in Kashmir said the firing may have been carried out to provide cover to a batch of Islamic militants crossing into the Indian side of Kashmir from the Pakistan-controlled part of the Himalayan region.
Rebels based in Pakistan routinely cross over to India to wage attacks as part of their campaign to carve out a separate homeland or merge the Indian-controlled area into Pakistan.
Routine firing by both sides began in 1989.