Heavy Fighting Erupts Between Indian, Pakistani Forces in Kashmir Region – Reports

Heavy firing exchanges were reported on Friday between Indian and Pakistani forces on the so-called Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, local media reported.

Indian Defence Ministry spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand told the IANS news agency that Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire with mortar shelling in the LoC area at about 21:00 p.m local time on Friday.

According to the ANI news agency, the ceasefire violation occurred in the Nowshera Sector of the Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani forces reportedly started firing with small arms followed by mortar shelling along the LoC. There have been no reports on damage or casualties.

The Pakistani military has not issued a statement regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, the IANS news agency said that fire exchange along the LoC is continuing.

Relations between India and Pakistan have traditionally been tense over competing claims to parts of the Kashmir region since the former’s independence from the British Empire in 1947. The strife escalated after a deadly attack in Kashmir on 14 February, when a suicide bomber from the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed attacked an Indian security convoy, killing over 40 personnel.

The Indian Air Force retaliated with an airstrike against what it claimed to be a camp belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed based in the Pakistani side of Kashmir.

In 1972, New Delhi and Islamabad signed the Simla agreement, agreeing to settle their disputes through bilateral negotiations without third-party intervention. The governments also agreed that the LoC between the two countries, decreed during the ceasefire of 17 December, 1971, should be respected.

Following several armed conflicts, the two countries again agreed to a ceasefire in 2003. Since that time, both sides have repeatedly accused each other of violating the truce, as continued instability in the region leads to the emergence of various extremist groups.