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Pakistani shelling kills soldier in Kashmir, says Indian army

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An Indian soldier was killed and another wounded by Pakistani shelling along the highly militarized frontier dividing Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals, the Indian army said Saturday.

Indian army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand accused Pakistani troops of firing mortar rounds and other weapons along the Line of Control in southern Rajouri district.

Anand called the incident “an unprovoked violation” of a 2003 cease-fire accord and said that Indian troops retaliated. Pakistan did not comment immediately. In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in the disputed Himalayan region, which both claim in its entirety.

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The reported attack comes a week after nine civilians and six soldiers were killed as Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged artillery fire by targeting each other’s positions and villages at multiple locations along the de-facto border.

The fatalities were some of the highest reported in recent years in a single day. The neighbors have fought two of their three wars over the territory and India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or unification with Pakistan.

Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels. Tensions soared in February 2019, when a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, and India retaliated with airstrikes inside Pakistani territory.

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Pakistan shot down one of the warplanes in Kashmir and captured a pilot who was quickly released. India said the strikes targeted Pakistan-based militants 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, touching off anger on both sides of the frontier.

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Last Update: Saturday, 21 November 2020 KSA 11:19 – GMT 08:19