Both sides blame each other for the fresh outbreaks of violence but Pakistani officials said the cross-border skirmishes erupted when Indian forces launched artillery fire into civilian areas. India insists the action was aimed at stopping infiltration into the Indian-held part of Kashmir from alleged “terrorist camps” on the Pakistani side.
Indian military chief General Bipin Rawat said his troops destroyed at least three camps near the so-called Line of Control (LoC), which separates the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir.
Gen Rawat said that “six to ten” Pakistani soldiers and as many terrorists were also killed.
Bur Islamabad rejected the charges as groundless and accused India of targeted the civilian population, killing five villagers and a Pakistani soldier and destroying civilian property.
New Delhi said shelling by Pakistani forces killed two Indian soldiers and a civilian.
Pakistani officials said the tour was to enable envoys from foreign missions in Islamabad “to see for themselves that India had made false claims” about the presence of terrorist camps in the region.
Diplomats from China, Germany, South Africa and Iran were among the group that visited Pakistani Kashmir.
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The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Indian diplomats had been formally invited to join on the tour to verify whether the conflict zone hosted any alleged terrorist sites.
Ministry spokesman Mohammad Fasial said: “The Indian side has not joined us in the visit to the Line of Control and neither have they provided coordinates of the alleged launchpads.
Alice Wells, the US acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, urged both the countries to defuse tensions through direct dialogue in line with their existing bilateral agreements.
Indian security forces launched a crackdown on dissent and arrested thousands of Kashmiris, including prominent local politicians. Internet and most telecommunications services remain suspended.
Pakistan, which claims the Himalayan region in full, denounced the Indian actions and immediately downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi.
Disputes over the region, which India also claims in full, have sparked two wars and several limited conflicts between the countries.
Both sides accuse the other of regular breaches of a 2003 ceasefire.