Pakistani, Indian Troops Trade Fire

Despite modest steps taken recently to ease tensions over the disputed Kashmir region in the Himalaya Mountains, skirmishes broke out along the Pakistan-Indian border early Sunday.

There were no casualties or damages reported, according to police.

Indian and Pakistani troops traded gunfire and mortar attacks, with soldiers on the Indian side shooting at Pakistani positions and civilian areas in the Samhani sector. Samhani is about 120 miles south of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir. Pakistani forces retaliated in kind.

The rivals frequently clash in the contested Himalayan region of Kashmir, which falls partly within India's borders and partly within Pakistan's.

Pakistan's capital of Islamabad routinely demands a vote in Kashmir to decide whether its residents want to stay with Hindu-dominated India or join Islamic Pakistan.

India traditionally rejects the proposal in its only Muslim-majority state.

Sunday's incident occurred at a time when tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors remain high, despite promises from Pakistan to stop allowing terrorist groups to conduct business within its borders and calls from both sides for peace.

India and Pakistan have massed hundreds of thousands of troops on their border since a Dec. 13 attack on the Indian Parliament, which India blamed on Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups and the country's spy agency. Pakistan has denied involvement.

The likelihood of war has decreased lately through diplomatic efforts by the United States and other Western nations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.