ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani soldier was killed on Thursday in firing by Indian troops in the disputed Kashmir region, the military said.

A military statement said: "Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing" at the Line of Control in the Pandu sector near Muzaffarabad on Thursday evening.

"A Pakistan Army soldier embraced Shahadat (martyrdom). Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian firing," it added. Recent exchanges of fire across the de facto border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, which both countries administer in part but claim in full, have killed at least 20 civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The nuclear-armed neighbours, who have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, have traded blame for the upsurge in firing and shelling which started on October 6. India called off peace talks in August after Pakistan first consulted Kashmiri leaders, a move some saw as a sign of a tougher stance by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new right-wing government.