Border clashes go into second day as India and Pakistan call diplomats in over spy drone row
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistan’s army has claimed that four Pakistani civilians have been killed by “unprovoked firing” from Indian border forces; marking the second day of hostility on the border.
The clashes on Thursday came only a day after an Indian civilian was reportedly killed in an exchange of cross-border shelling, and less than a week after the two countries’ prime ministers met in Russia to pledge a fresh attempt at improving their tense relations.
The Pakistan army’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations, said the Rangers paramilitary were retaliating “accordingly”.
Pakistani and Indian border security forces often exchange fire on the borders, killing scores of people from both sides and breaching a cease-fire agreement signed in 2003.
Pakistan also summoned the Indian High Commissioner to the foreign office on Thursday to lodge a complaint after the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian spy drone that crossed into its territory on Wednesday.
Indian channel NDTV reported that India’s home minister Rajnath Singh had called a high-level ministerial meeting to discuss the border situation.
Last Friday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and India’s Narendra Modi held a rare meeting on the sidelines of a Eurasian security summit in Russia, where they pledged to restart talks and cooperate on security issues.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-held Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. More than 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed so far in the violence, most of them by Indian forces. India maintains over half a million soldiers in the Indian-held Kashmir.
A part of Kashmir is also held by China.