30 September 2016

India says it has struck militants across Kashmir frontier

Members of the Pakistani Civil Society Forum chant slogans during a demonstration for peace and condemning the raising tension between Pakistan and India, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Pakistan's defense minister says its nuclear-armed rival India will "disintegrate" when Kashmir gains independence. Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that Pakistan will continue to extend moral support to the people of the disputed Himalayan region, which is split between Pakistani and Indian control but claimed in its entirety by both.
India said Thursday it carried out "surgical strikes" against militants across the highly militarized frontier that divides the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, in an exchange that escalated tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Pakistan dismissed the reports that India's military had targeted "terrorist launch pads" inside the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. Islamabad said instead that two of its soldiers were killed in "unprovoked" firing by India across the border.

Tensions, which are always simmering between India and Pakistan, spiked after an attack earlier this month on an Indian military base in Kashmir. India accused Pakistan of sending militants belonging to the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammed group, headquartered in Pakistan, to carry out the attack. Pakistan denied the charge.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been under heavy pressure to respond to the attack on the military base.
Indian officials gave few details about the strikes across the disputed border late Wednesday night.
"Significant casualties were caused to the terrorists and those who support them," Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, director general of military operations for the Indian Army, told reporters in New Delhi. Singh said the operations were over and India has no plans for more strikes. He said he shared details of the strikes with his Pakistani counterpart.
Indian soldiers traveling on foot crossed the Line of Control into the Pakistani-controlled portion to attack several targets based on intelligence about imminent attacks, said a high-ranking Indian official who would only brief reporters on condition of anonymity. He said the Indian forces killed at least 10 people before retreating back into Indian-controlled territory. The Indian soldiers suffered no losses, he said.
The Pakistani military flatly denied any "surgical strikes" had occurred.
"There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India," a Pakistani military statement said.
In this Nov. 27, 2014 file photo, South Asian leaders, from left, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa attend the closing session of the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepal, the current chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, said four of the eight member nations have indicated they are unable to attend the Nov. 9-10 regional summit in Islamabad. Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since a militant attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir killed more than a dozen Indian soldiers. India announced on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016 that it would not participate in the summit.
Pakistani officials said two of their soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in the exchanges at five different places along the disputed border.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the "unprovoked and naked aggression of Indian forces."
The Pakistan military said in a statement that it "befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing" — implying it returned fire — along the Kashmir border near the villages of Bhimber, Kel and Lipa.
Indian villagers living close to the border with Pakistan arrive for a meeting after Indian authorities asked them to leave their villages for safety reasons at Nai bsti gulab garh in R.S Pura near Jammu, India, Thursday, Sept.29, 2016. Pakistan on Thursday said two of its soldiers were killed in an "unprovoked" attack when India fired across the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, while India said it had carried out a "surgical strike" against terrorists, in an exchange that marks an escalation in tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday the U.S. expects Pakistan "to combat and de-legitimize" U.N. designated terrorists.
The U.S. is "firmly committed to our partnership with India and to our joint efforts to combat terrorism and we're prepared to deepen collaboration on U.N. terrorist designations," he said. "At the same time, we continue to be in close contact with Pakistan and we continue to value the important partnership that we have formed with them on a range of issues, including security issues."
Pakistan has sharply criticized India over its heavy-handed clampdown in Indian-controlled Kashmir following the killing of a Kashmiri militant leader nearly three months ago. Some of the biggest and most violent protests in recent years have broken out against Indian rule in Kashmir since the July 8 killing of Burhan Wani by Indian soldiers. A rolling curfew has been in place and more than 80 civilians have been killed by Indian troops who have used live ammunition and shotgun pellets to quell angry crowds.
Indian border security soldiers ride on a motorcycle as villagers living closer to the border walk for a meeting after Indian authorities asked them to leave their villages for safety reasons at Nai bsti gulab garh in R.S Pura near Jammu, India, Thursday, Sept.29, 2016. Pakistan on Thursday said two of its soldiers were killed in an "unprovoked" attack when India fired across the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, while India said it had carried out a "surgical strike" against terrorists, in an exchange that marks an escalation in tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both.
Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan. India and
Indian villagers living close to the border with Pakistan gather for a meeting after Indian authorities asked them to leave their villages for safety reasons at Nai bsti gulab garh in R.S Pura near Jammu, India, Thursday, Sept.29, 2016. Pakistan on Thursday said two of its soldiers were killed in an "unprovoked" attack when India fired across the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, while India said it had carried out a "surgical strike" against terrorists, in an exchange that marks an escalation in tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over control of Kashmir since winning independence from British colonialists in 1947.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the insurgents and pushing them into the Indian portion of Kashmir to attack government forces and other targets. Pakistan says it provides only political and diplomatic support to the insurgents, who have been fighting since 1989.  
(AP)
Indians living close to the border with Pakistan ride a horse cart towards safer places after Indian authorities asked them to leave their villages for safety reasons at Nai bsti gulab garh in R.S Pura near Jammu, India, Thursday, Sept.29, 2016. Pakistan on Thursday said two of its soldiers were killed in an "unprovoked" attack when India fired across the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, while India said it had carried out a "surgical strike" against terrorists, in an exchange that marks an escalation in tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Indians living close to the border with Pakistan ride a horse cart towards safer places after Indian authorities asked them to leave their villages for safety reasons at Nai bsti gulab garh in R.S Pura near Jammu, India, Thursday, Sept.29, 2016. Pakistan on Thursday said two of its soldiers were killed in an "unprovoked" attack when India fired across the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, while India said it had carried out a "surgical strike" against terrorists, in an exchange that marks an escalation in tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors. 

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