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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

India Puts Elite Troops Near Pakistani Border

NEW DELHI, India -- India and Pakistan shelled each other's territory Sunday, and New Delhi acknowledged that part of its elite military forces had mobilized near the border with Pakistan amid rising tensions between the South Asian neighbors.

Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said Indian troops were in a state of "very high alert," and that the Strike Corps -- which specializes in swiftly penetrating enemy territory for an infantry attack -- had moved nearer the border in Punjab and Rajasthan, two Indian states that touch Pakistan.

Fernandes told the Press Trust of India that the measures were in response to troop movements on the Pakistani side of the border. Pakistani reserve divisions and other strike forces have moved to the front lines following the Dec. 13 suicide attack on India's Parliament, though they hadn't taken up any battle positions, he said.

"It now came to such a point that India had to take notice," Fernandes was quoted as saying.

Pakistan said its troops were also on high alert.

India has blamed Pakistan for sponsoring the assault on the Parliament and threatened to retaliate. New Delhi has demanded that Islamabad shut down, freeze the assets and arrest and extradite the leaders of two militant groups -- Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed -- suspected in the attack.

Pakistan has denied the allegations and asked for proof of the rebels' involvement. Islamabad has said it will fight if India declares war.

New Delhi for now says it wants a diplomatic, not military, solution. It has recalled its ambassador in Pakistan and is shutting down rail and road links with its neighbor, and Indian officials said they would contemplate new measures after Islamabad took action against the guerrilla groups.

In war-torn Jammu-Kashmir, Indian artillery guns slammed and destroyed three Pakistani army bunkers and partly damaged three others in the Poonch sector, apparently inflicting several casualties, an Indian army spokesman said on condition of anonymity in Jammu city. Villagers in the area were beginning to flee their homes, Indian officials said.

The army also said the Pakistani army shelled Indian border territory in Bain Galahar, 40 kilometers southwest of Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, the army killed two militants in Bandipora, 75 kilometers north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir.

The two militants have been identified as Pakistani nationals who were members of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, army spokesman Mukhtar Singh said. One of the slain militants was believed to be a top commander of Lashkar-e-Tayabba.

Across the frontier in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Pakistani police said that Indian artillery fire Sunday wounded one civilian in Forward Kahuta, 180 kilometers southwest of Muzaffarabad.

The shelling started hours after Pakistani and Indian troops opened fire on one another at a border outpost Sunday. Two Indian soldiers were killed and three others wounded, army and paramilitary Border Security Force officials said.

Indian officials said Pakistani troops opened fire on their outpost, a claim denied by a Pakistani army spokesman, who said the Indian soldiers began shooting first.