Kashmir: Indian soldiers killed on eve of Singh visit

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Security is tight in Srinagar but has not been enough to stop militant attacks

Five soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir have been killed by militants on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Several others were wounded in the attack on the outskirts of Srinagar, the main city in the region.

The attack came despite an increase in security ahead of Mr Singh's two day visit - his first since June 2010.

Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has seen an armed insurgency against Indian rule since 1989.

Militant violence has risen in recent weeks, with busy market places often targeted, says BBC Urdu's Riyaz Masroor in Srinagar.

Two policemen were shot and killed by militants in Srinagar over the weekend.

Monday's attack took place in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar. Militants fired at an Indian army convoy.

"The militants were chased but they took shelter in a house and a gunfight ensued," a police official told the BBC.

Prime Minister Singh is travelling to Srinagar with Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, for talks with local leaders and to inaugurate a multi-million dollar railway tunnel.

The tunnel will link the Himalayan region with India's huge railway network, easing travel between Srinagar and rest of the country, our correspondent reports.

In recent years violence in Kashmir has abated from its peak in the 1990s, but the causes of the insurgency are still far from resolved.