India's prime minister Thursday ordered the reduction of troops in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir this winter, citing a decline in separatist violence in the disputed Himalayan region.
The announcement coincided with a grenade attack by suspected militants on a paramilitary camp in Srinigar, summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu-Kashmir, which set off a gunfight in which an Indian security guard was killed and three were wounded, according to a police officer, Javed Ahmed. Two attackers also were killed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the forces would be withdrawn starting this winter and ending in March, though he did not disclose how many troops would be cut.
"In recognition of the improvement in the situation, the government has decided to reduce the deployment of troops this winter," Singh said.
"We cannot, however, afford to relax our vigil. If the levels of infiltration and terrorist violence increase, more troops as necessary will be redeployed," Singh said.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which has been divided between the South Asian rivals since they gained independence from Britain in 1947, but is claimed by both in its entirety.