Pakistani soldier killed by ‘unprovoked’ cross-border fire from India – Islamabad

According to Islamabad, Indian troops struck its positions with rockets and mortar fire at several locations in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir on Saturday. The Pakistani Army said it responded to “unprovoked ceasefire violation” and retaliated, hitting Indian outposts and “causing casualties.”

One Pakistani soldier was killed and four locals were injured, including two young girls, the army said.

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New Delhi claimed that Pakistan opened fire first, shelling the Mendhar area on the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir and targeting Indian outposts with mortars and small arms. Indian troops then retaliated to suppress the fire coming from the Pakistani side, the army’s spokesperson said.

India did not report any casualties.

The longtime rivals nearly got into a full-blown war with each other in February. India ordered an air raid into Pakistan, striking what it said were camps of militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which had previously conducted a terrorist attack on Indian soil. Just days later, tensions between the neighbors escalated into open aerial combat. An Indian pilot was shot down, captured by Pakistan, and later handed over to India.

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Islamabad and New Delhi subsequently exchanged several friendly overtures. In May, Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, congratulated his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi on his re-election and said he is ready to work with him for “peace, progress and prosperity” in the region. India’s Foreign Ministry responded that the nation “seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbors, including Pakistan.”

Despite these gestures, instances of sporadic cross-border shelling in Kashmir have continued. Firefights along the LoC were reported in May and June.

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