India claims Pakistani bombing kills Kashmiri soldier

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An Indian soldier has been killed and another injured in Pakistani shelling along the highly militarized border separating Kashmir between the two nuclear-weapon rivals, the Indian military said on Saturday.

Indian Army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand accused Pakistani troops of firing mortar shells and other weapons along the Line of Control in southern Rajouri district.

Anand called the incident an “unprovoked violation” of a 2003 ceasefire agreement and said Indian troops responded.

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Pakistan did not immediately comment. In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in the disputed Himalayan region, which both claim in full.

The reported attack comes a week after nine civilians and six soldiers were killed as Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged artillery fire targeting each other’s positions and villages at several locations along the border of facto. Deaths were among the highest reported in recent years in a single day.

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Neighbors have fought two of their three wars over the territory, and India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or unification with the Pakistan. Pakistan denies the accusation and says it only offers diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.

Tensions exploded in February 2019, when a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, and India retaliated with airstrikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan shot down one of the fighter jets in Kashmir and captured a pilot who was quickly released. India said the airstrikes targeted Pakistan-based activists responsible for the suicide bombing.

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Relations have been strained further since August last year, when India revoked the decades-old semi-autonomous status of the predominantly Muslim region, sparking anger on both sides of the border.

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