SRINAGAR - Two soldiers and two suspected rebels were killed Saturday in Indian-occupied Kashmir near the de-facto border that divides the disputed territory with Pakistan, the Indian army said.

Indian army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the four died during an exchange of fire. "Two terrorists attempting infiltration into our side in Kashmir in Naugam sector were eliminated. Two soldiers were also martyred in the exchange of fire," he told AFP.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers have in recent weeks clashed along many areas of the Line of Control, the de-facto border dividing Kashmir between the two countries, leading to deaths of soldiers and civilians on both sides.

The nuclear-armed rivals have accused each other of initiating the firing and violating a 2003 border ceasefire agreement between them.  Rebel groups have fought for decades roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

New Delhi regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training anti-India rebels and pushing them across the heavily militarised border to launch attacks on Indian forces.

Islamabad denies the accusations, saying it only provides moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for the right to self-determination.