The latest clashes come 48 hours after a Pakistani soldier was killed when fresh fighting broke out in the Poonch district of the volatile region. Indian defence ministry spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said: “Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and then shelling with mortars along the Line of Control in Mankote sector. The Indian Army is retaliating befittingly.”

Lt Col Anand said the Pakistan Army had earlier targeted forward areas along the LoC in Poonch district.

Two shops and two houses were partially damaged in Balakot sector.

He said: “On Thursday, Pakistan Army first targeted Mankote sector around 5.30am, then Degwar sector at about 11.45am and Mendhar Sector at about 12.15pm. The Indian Army retaliated befittingly.”

The Pakistani army said one of its soldiers was killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops across the LoC on Wednesday.

Military officials said the Indian army was responsible for an unprovoked ceasefire violation in which Pakistan army posts and civilian areas were targeted.

Pakistan said it had inflicted heavy losses on Indian troops.

A spokesman said: “Pakistan Army responded effectively. Reports of heavy losses on the enemy in terms of men and material.

“During exchange of intense fire, Havaldar Liaqat, age 39 years, died.”

The spokesman also claimed Pakistan Army troops had shot down an Indian spying quadcopter in Chakothi sector along the LoC.

He said: “The quadcopter had intruded 500 meters on Pakistan’s side of the LoC.

“This is 11th Indian quadcopter shot down by Pakistan Army this year.”

Officials in New Delhi claim Pakistan has violated the ceasefire on more than 3,200 occasions this year.

Pakistan’s envoy to the United Nations has warned the possibility of a war between the nuclear-armed neighbours remains real a year after India moved to take total control of the disputed border region.

Munir Akram said: “I think the risk is real and present of a possible war between India and Pakistan.

“For Pakistan’s part, we have acted with restraint.”

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