Pakistan says nine killed in Kashmir border clashes

UK PM tells Modi India, Pakistan must resolve crisis through dialogue

Agence France-Presse . Islamabad and Paris | Published: 01:23, Aug 21,2019


Indian army convoy is seen on a road on the outskirts of Amritsar on Tuesday. —AFP photo

Pakistan said on Tuesday that three Pakistani civilians died in Indian gunfire from across the de facto border in Kashmir and its forces later killed six Indian soldiers while Indian army rejected this claim, the Press Trust of India reported.

British prime minister Boris Johnson weighed in on Kashmir on Tuesday telling Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in a phone call that the issue was one for India and Pakistan to resolve between themselves through dialogue.

A French official said that French president Emmanuel Macron would discuss tensions in the divided region of Kashmir with Modi when the two would meet in Paris this week.

The latest skirmishes between India and Pakistan took place a day after US president Donald Trump talked to the Pakistani and Indian prime ministers and urged them to reduce tensions over the disputed Himalayan region.

Tensions have skyrocketed after New Delhi scrapped Article 370 in the Indian constitution that had granted Kashmir special autonomy. It split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two and downgraded their status to union territories, sparking a row with Pakistan.

‘Indian fire had martyred three civilians including a seven-year old boy in Tatta Pani sector along the Line of Control,’ Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted Tuesday.

‘Pakistan army targeted Indian posts, killing six Indian soldiers including an officer and wounding many others,’ he added.

PTI quoted officials as saying one Indian soldier died and four were wounded as Pakistani troops opened fire on forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in the Poonch district on Tuesday.

Indian army troops responded causing heavy damage to Pakistani army posts and casualties to Pakistani soldiers, PTI quoted a defence spokesman based in Jammu as saying.

In changing the status of Kashmir, Modi’s government also restricted freedom of movement in the region and cut the internet and phone lines.

Both India and Pakistan have controlled portions of the former princely state of Kashmir since independence in 1947. The dispute over the Muslim-majority region has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between them.

Macron and Modi are set to sit down for a working dinner at the Chateau de Chantilly outside Paris on Thursday ahead of a G7 summit in France this weekend, to which Modi has been invited.

‘Of course it [Kashmir] will be on the agenda,’ a French diplomat said.

‘We have a strategic partnership with India, that means having confidence in each other. We are not going to be aggressive towards India, but we expect the Indian prime minister to explain how he sees things.’

A Downing Street spokesperson said Johnson and Modi discussed the current situation in Kashmir and the British leader ‘made clear that the UK views the issue of Kashmir is one for India and Pakistan to resolve bilaterally.’

Johnson ‘underlined the importance of resolving issues through dialogue,’ she added. ‘They looked forward to meeting at the (G7) summit.’

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