Indian army ends deadly two-week Kashmir operation
Indian troops display arms and ammunition captured from suspected militants after a gun battle in the Keran sector at the "line of control" de factor border in Srinagar on October 7, 2013
"I have given directions to call off the concerted search operation," Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra, a senior commander, told reporters after a visit to the de facto border that divides the Himalayan region between India and Pakistan.
The general said that 59 heavy weapons had been recovered from the Keran area of Kashmir, along with a large amount of ammunition and rations.
Markings on the weapons indicated the rebels had received help from the Pakistani army for their "infiltration" operation, Chachra added.
"It could not be possible without their support," the general added at a press conference in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Last week, another senior commander said 12 militants were killed in a firefight near an abandoned village in the densely-forested area, but Chachra said only eight bodies had been recovered from the scene.
"No other bodies have been found," Chachra said.
The Indian army says there is a long-established pattern of increased infiltration attempts from the Pakistani side of the de facto border, known as the Line of Control (LoC) before heavy snows close the Himalayan passes.
Chachra also denied that the militants had at any point occupied any forward posts or taken over any Indian-controlled territory in Keran.
"The sanctity of the LoC is well maintained. We are prepared for the challenges," he said.
The latest fighting near the LoC followed talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh last month on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly in New York.
The two leaders agreed to task their respective military commanders to defuse tensions along the LoC, where regular firefights between the two armies have taken place since January, resulting in deaths on both sides.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory with both claiming it in full.
About a dozen Muslim rebel groups have also been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for the region's independence or its merger with Pakistan.
The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people according to government estimates. Independent rights groups put the number of dead at more than 70,000, mostly civilians.
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