At least nine people, including four Pakistani soldiers, were killed in clashes in the disputed Kashmir region, India and Pakistan said.

The Pakistani army said four of its soldiers were killed along with three Indian soldiers during an exchange of fire through the so-called “Line of Control” or de facto border and militarily fortified, which divides Kashmir into two parts.

India has denied the deaths of any of its soldiers, but said its forces killed five “militants” who tried to cross the Line of Control in a separate incident in the Ory district, 100 km northwest of Srinagar.

India has often accused Pakistan of sending fighters across the border to launch attacks on its troops in Kashmir, divided since 1947 between the two nuclear neighbors.

“During the night, the army confronted a group of infiltrators, resulting in a heavy exchange of fire in which five gunmen were killed,” police official Imtiaz Hussain told AFP.

Hussein said the gunmen appeared to belong to the Army of Mohammed, an armed Pakistani group that police say has recently stepped up operations in the tense region.

The latest clash follows a year that has been the most violent in a decade in Indian Kashmir, where at least 200 militants and many civilians have been killed.

About 500,000 troops from India are stationed in this disputed area of ​​Yamalaya between Delhi and Islamabad.

Indian army chief Pibin Rawat warned on Monday that his troops would respond strongly to any attack by Pakistan.

“The Pakistani army is constantly trying to help terrorists infiltrate into India via the Line of Control,” he said in a speech.

“We are using our strength to teach them a lesson.”

Islamabad denies accusations that it trains militants and supplies them with weapons to launch attacks against Indian troops, but says it provides political support in the struggle for self-determination for the people of this part of Kashmir.