Indian Army Base attacked: 6 soldiers including a Major gunned down 

Indian Army Base attacked: 6 soldiers including a Major gunned down 

NEW DELHI: Armed militants stormed a major Indian army base near the Pakistani border early Tuesday, killing six soldiers.

Police said four militants had also been killed in a stand-off with security forces inside the command centre in Indian-occupied Kashmir that lasted most of the day.

It was the most audacious attack on an Indian military base since September, when 19 soldiers were killed in an assault.

“All the four militants have been killed. Six soldiers including a major died in the firefight,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.

“Now the search operation is going on inside the premises,” they added. The base is one of four command centres in the restive region and home to over 1,000 officers.

It comes days before a scheduled visit to India by Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz for a weekend conference on Afghanistan.

“It clearly suggests there is an attempt by certain groups to sabotage the apparent peace outreach by Pakistan’s government,” said Mohan Guruswamy, head of the Centre for Policy Alternatives think-tank in New Delhi.

Separately, Indian authorities said three militants were killed in a shoot-out with security forces.

Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours have escalated since the September 18 attack on an Indian army base, the deadliest in a decade.

Since then there have been repeated incidents of cross-border shelling and gunfire from both sides, claiming the lives of dozens of people, including civilians.

Last week, at least nine people had been killed when a shell fired from the Indian side hit a bus in Azad Jammu and Kashmir near LoC.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last week he was “deeply concerned” by the deterioration in the security situation in Kashmir and urged both countries to work together to “reach durable peace”.