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India says Pakistani shelling killed three soldiers in Kashmir

India says Pakistani shelling killed three soldiers in Kashmir

Pakistan accused Indian forces of violating a ceasefire in the region and injuring one civilian [File: Yawar Nazir/Getty Images]

Three Indian soldiers have been killed by Pakistani shelling across the disputed border in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Indian army said.

Indian army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said Pakistan opened fire without provocation in the Nowgam sector early on Thursday, killing two Indian soldiers and wounding four.

Another Indian soldier was killed in overnight firing by Pakistani troops in the Poonch sector, he said.

“Our troops responded strongly to the enemy fire,” said Kalia.

Pakistan accused Indian forces of violating a ceasefire in the region and injuring one civilian.

Shelling frequently erupts along the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border dividing the Kashmir region that both nuclear-armed countries claim in full but govern in part.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday it had summoned a senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad to protest against ceasefire violations by Indian forces along the LoC a day earlier, in which a 65-year-old civilian in the Jandrot sector was wounded.

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri accused New Delhi of escalating tension along the LoC “to divert world attention from its human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir”.

The statement said India had committed 2,404 ceasefire violations this year, resulting in 19 deaths and injuries to 192 civilians.

India says Pakistani troops often open fire to help armed fighters sneak across the LoC to join a decades-long armed revolt.

Pakistan says it gives only moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people fighting for self-determination.

Continuing tensions

Tensions between the two countries soared in February 2019 when a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India retaliated with air raids inside Pakistani territory.

Pakistan shot down one of the planes in Kashmir and captured a pilot who was later released.

India said the attacks targeted Pakistan-based fighters responsible for the suicide bombing.

Relations have been further strained since August last year, when India revoked the Muslim-majority region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status and divided the region in two federally governed territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, touching off anger on both sides of the frontier.

The violence comes amid heightened tensions between India and China along their disputed border in Ladakh region, where the two Asia giants are locked in a months-long bitter standoff.

Source: Aljazeera

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