Tension escalates in Kashmir as India, Pakistanl continue exchange of shelling

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NEW DELHI, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — Tension has flared up along the international border and line-of-control between Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmiri regions, as India reported renewed firing and shelling duels with Pakistan Wednesday.

Meanwhile, India has ruled out any meeting with Pakistan until firing at the border stops, said local media.

At least two people were killed on the Indian side of the dividing lines in Kashmir, while over 20 were injured from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning due to shelling by Pakistani forces, said Indian military and police.

Local TV aired footage of killed being mourned by families and wounded civilians being treated in Kashmir amid strong emotional comments by reporters on the latest violence.

The week-long confrontation in Kashmir risks escalating into a small-scale war and the scrapping of a 2003 ceasefire agreement between New Delhi and Islamabad, said analysts.

Indian forces have been asked to retaliate strongly to every Pakistani “provocation” on the border, local TV channel Times Now has reported quoting sources.

In the latest shelling by Pakistani forces at the border, two women have been killed and 11 people have been injured as Pakistani troops targeted 50 security outposts and dozens of hamlets with mortar shells overnight along the entire 192-km international border in Kashmir, said the TV channel.

Both sides have been accusing each other of violating the truce and over two dozen people, mostly civilians were killed over the past few days in the firing and shelling.

The Indian government has warned Pakistan that “times have changed” in India under the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India will no longer tolerate any alleged violation of ceasefire by Pakistan.

India said its forces killed 15 civilians on the other side of the border on Tuesday. Eighteen militants were also killed by Indian forces after they allegedly infiltrated into the Indian side of Kashmir Tuesday, according to security forces.

Pakistan Rangers, the border forces of Pakistan in Kashmir, shelled border outposts (BoPs) and villages in Samba and Kathua for the first time Tuesday night along with Jammu district, while India was retaliating with heavy fires, said the Indian military.

“We are giving answer to Pak provocations, We have been retaliating very strongly,” DK Pathak, director general of Border Security Force paramilitary police, told reporters.

Meanwhile, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has asked both India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes peacefully.

“The secretary general would call on both countries to resolve their issues diplomatically and through discussions,” Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday in New York.

Earlier, Pakistan lodged a protest with India on the alleged ceasefire violations and has even approached the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan office over the situation.

Pakistan has accused India of “shunning peace” while blaming New Delhi for the on-going conflict.

 

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