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Pakistan, India trade fire across Kashmir border

Pakistan, India trade fire across Kashmir border

By Islamuddin Sajid and Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISLAMABAD / ISTANBUL (AA) – The Pakistani and Indian soldiers deployed along the international border in disputed Jammu and Kashmir exchanged fire late Thursday.

However, the two sides released contradictory statements about the fire exchange that took place near Sialkot on the Pakistani side and Jammu on the other side of the border.

Pakistan's interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti said in the capital Islamabad: “New Delhi openly violated the cease-fire on the working boundary.”

Islamabad's accusation comes after India’s Border Security Force (BSF) alleged Pakistan Rangers “resorted to unprovoked firing” along the border in the Jammu region.

"Pakistani forces foiled a drone attack attempt (and) responded to the unprovoked firing," said Bugti.

However, Indian BSF said in a statement its troops "immediately retaliated to the firing,” adding that one civilian and one BSF personnel were injured.

Following August 2019, when India scrapped the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, dozens of people were killed and scores of others injured in cross-border firing.

However, in February 2021, military leaders of the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors agreed to de-escalate tension and strictly observe the 2003 cease-fire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed Himalayan region between the two countries.

 

- Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in the Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

In August 2019, India scrapped the long-standing semi-autonomous status of the disputed valley, a controversial move that prompted Islamabad to downgrade its diplomatic mission and halt trade with New Delhi.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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