At least one Pakistani army soldier was killed and a civilian injured on Wednesday in a fresh flare-up of clashes along the Kashmir border, the military said Wednesday.
Indian Army troops, according to a statement from Pakistan Army, resorted to “unprovoked firing” along the Line of Control — a de facto border that divides the disputed valley between the two neighbors — killing a soldier in the Khuiratta sector.
“Pakistan army troops responded befittingly. There are reports of heavy losses to Indian troops in men and material,” the statement added.
Indian army troops, it further said, resorted to “unprovoked fire” in Kotkotera Sector deliberately targeting the civilian population.
“Due to indiscriminate fire of automatics in Phalni Bazar, a 34-year-old male suffered critical injuries.”
Pakistan army, it went onto say, responded effectively and targeted those Indian posts which initiated fire. Meanwhile, Indian troops shot down their own quadcopter, which intruded 100 meters inside Pakistani territory in Hotspring Sector, the statement claimed.
“The unprovoked act was responded befittingly wherein own troops shot down the quadcopter,” it said.
In 2020, 16 Indian quadcopters were shot down by Pakistan Army, the statement concluded.
In #Hotspring Sector,#PakistanArmy troops shot down an Indian Army Quadcopter. Indian #QuadCopter entered 100 meters inside Pak territory.The unprovoked act was responded befittingly wherein own troops shot down quad-copter.
We shot down 16 x Indian quadcopters in 2020#ISPR pic.twitter.com/L0sFi5k9RL
— Pakistan Armed Forces News 🇵🇰 (@PakistanFauj) December 31, 2020
Already strained relations between the two South Asian nuclear rivals plummeted further after India scrapped the special provisions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in August last year.
India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.
The two sides regularly stage artillery duels across the LoC, and invariably blame each other. Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since their angry separation in 1947. It has been a cause of two of their three wars since then.
Both countries claim the whole of the Himalayan region, where India is also fighting an insurgency that has left tens of thousands dead since 1989.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to visit troops in a border area on Saturday for Diwali, the biggest Hindu holiday of the year, according to media reports. Modi, who portrays himself as tough on security, has spent every Diwali with the military since becoming the country’s leader in 2014.
Modi launched what he called “surgical strikes” inside Pakistani Kashmir in 2016 after militants attacked an Indian base, killing 19 soldiers. The neighbours staged airstrikes against each other last year after a suicide bomb attack in which 40 Indian troops were killed.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk