NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – At least four servicemen of the Pakistan Army were killed over the past 24 hours in clashes with Indian soldiers in the disputed Kashmir region at the border between the countries, the Pakistan Army said in a statement on Friday.
Pakistan claims that the clashes have also resulted in multiple injuries, adding that fortifications have been damaged. Islamabad accuses Indian soldiers of initiating the fight, noting that five Indian servicemen have been killed in retaliatory firing. However, New Delhi has refuted the information.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind signed on August 5 a decree removing Article 370 of the Indian constitution that had ensured special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Under the Indian government’s new initiative, Jammu and Kashmir will be divided into two territories.
This has prompted an outrage in Islamabad that reacted by downgrading its diplomatic relations and suspending trade with its neighbor.
India and Pakistan have contended for the Kashmir region, the southern part of which lies in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, since the end of British rule in 1947.
Despite a ceasefire being reached in 2003 following several armed conflicts, instability has continued, leading to the emergence of various extremist groups. Tensions spiked earlier this year when the Indian military conducted airstrikes in the region in response to an attack orchestrated by a terrorist group based on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.