Pakistan, India exchange fire across border after UN meet on Kashmir

India and Pakistan exchanged fire heavily across their border on Saturday, after New Delhi's move to strip the restive Kashmir region of its autonomy prompted a rare meeting of the UN Security Council.

The two foes regularly fire potshots over the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Himalayan territory, which is divided between the two countries and poisoned their relations since independence in 1947.

A roadblock in Jammu, August 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

A roadblock in Jammu, August 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

"The exchange of fire is going on," a senior Indian government official told AFP, calling it "heavy". One Indian soldier was reportedly killed.

Pakistan made no immediate comment on the violence.

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Chinese UN envoy calls for peaceful means to resolve Kashmir issue

Late Friday, a UN Security Council consultation on the issue of Kashmir was held, behind closed doors, for the first time since the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.

The Council members said they are deeply concerned about the current situation and hope that the relevant parties will exercise restraint and not take unilateral action that will escalate tensions. They called on the two sides to properly resolve the issue through dialogue.


After the meeting, Zhang Jun, Chinese ambassador to the UN, told the press that the Council called for peaceful means to resolve the dispute born out of history.

"The Kashmir issue should be resolved properly through peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement," said the ambassador.

"This represents the consensus of the international community," he added.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday hailed the meeting, saying that addressing the "suffering of the Kashmiri people and ensuring resolution of the dispute is the responsibility of this world body."

U.S. President Donald Trump urged the nuclear-armed rivals to come back to the negotiating table, speaking to Khan by phone on the importance of "reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue."

India on Saturday gradually restored phone lines following an almost two-week communications blackout in its controlled part of Kashmir, imposed hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise August 5 gambit.

Seventeen out of around 100 telephone exchanges were restored on Saturday in the restive Kashmir Valley, the local police chief told AFP. But mobiles and the internet remained dead in the Muslim-majority region, the main hotbed of resistance to Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir in a 30-year-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands.

(With inputs from AFP)

(Cover: An Indian security force personnel keeps guard alongside a road during restrictions after the government scrapped the special constitutional status for Kashmir, in Srinagar, August 15, 2019. /Reuters Photo)