India-Pakistan tensions escalate after failed truce

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Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the highly militarized frontier in disputed Kashmir yesterday morning as violence persisted despite promises to revive a cease-fire agreement in the disputed region. Pakistani authorities denied India's accusations over initiating the firing saying its soldiers only responded to the Indian "unprovoked" firing. Islamabad also summoned the unnamed diplomat, who was representing India's high commissioner, in protest over a ceasefire violation by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday, the foreign ministry in Islamabad said in a statement, as reported by dpa. The LoC divides the Kashmir border region into two parts: one administered by India and the other by Pakistan.

Tuesday's alleged violation occurred in the Chirkot Sector and killed one civilian, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry.

"In 2018, Indian forces have carried out more than 1,100 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in the [martyrdom] of 29 innocent civilians, while injuring 117 others," the statement said. The nuclear-armed nations had recently agreed to stop trading fire along the volatile frontier and uphold a cease-fire accord dating back 15 years.

In May, Indian and Pakistani commanders of military operations talked by phone and agreed to defuse tensions in Kashmir. They also agreed to use existing mechanisms of hotline contacts and border flag meetings at local commander's level to resolve the issues. Early June, the local border guards' commanders on both sides met along the frontier and reiterated to stop deadly hostilities but the fighting has not stopped.

Tensions have soared in recent months, as both sides have shelled border posts and villages, causing the fatalities of both Pakistani and Indian soldiers and civilians. Tens of thousands of villagers have fled their homes in dozens of affected villages along the frontier on both sides. In the past, each side has accused the other of starting the hostilities in violation of the 2003 accord. India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir, which both claim. They have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over their competing claims to the region.

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