War of words escalates between India, Pakistan as tensions run high over Kashmir
Iran Press TV
Sun Aug 4, 2019 10:23AM
Tensions have flared up between India and Pakistan, with the two nuclear-armed neighbors trading accusations over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The Indian military said on Sunday it had foiled an attempt by a Pakistani team of army regulars and militants to cross the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between them. The military said it had killed "five to seven" Pakistani attackers.
Pakistan denied the claims and instead accused India of using cluster bombs against civilians, killing two people – including a four-year-old boy – and critically injuring 11 others.
India has deployed at least 10,000 troops to Kashmir in recent days and introduced other security measures – including a call to stock up food and fuel – over claims of an imminent terror attack.
On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered tourists to cut short their stay in the region and return as soon as possible because of "intelligence inputs of terror threats" against a huge Hindu pilgrimage and "the prevailing security situation."
Britain and Germany have issued warnings against travel to the region.
There are fears that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government could carry out a threat to scrap Kashmir's special status under the constitution.
The region, which has been split between India and Pakistan, has hit the headlines just months after the two countries engaged in cross-border air attacks.
Back in February, tension saw a sharp hike after Pakistan-based militants carried out a deadly bomb attack against Indian paramilitary forces on the New Delhi-controlled side of Kashmir.
The deadly attack, which was claimed by a Pakistan-based militant, prompted New Delhi to launch retaliatory aerial raids inside the Pakistani territory for the first time in decades.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their partition and independence from Britain in 1947. The disputed region is claimed in full by both sides, which have fought three wars over it.
India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly denies the allegation.
Kashmiri politicians and opposition groups in India have raised concerns that the extra troops are being deployed to the region for reasons other than claimed by Indian authorities.
Cancelling constitutionally guaranteed rights – which mean only state domiciles can buy land in the region – could spark unrest in the Muslim-majority region, according to political leaders in the territory.
In recent years, southern Kashmir has seen intense fighting between Indian forces and armed Kashmiri fighters, who are demanding independence for the Himalayan region.
The conflict has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.
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