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India summons Pakistani diplomat over Kashmir gun battle

Top News2020-11-22

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India on Saturday summoned a senior Pakistani diplomat over what New Delhi said was a foiled attack this week in Indian-controlled Kashmir by a Pakistan-based militant group, a charge the neighboring country denied. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the killing of four Jaish-e-Mohammed militants in a gun battle with security forces, and the recovery of a large cache of weapons and explosives from them, indicated that they were planning to "wreak major havoc and destruction" in the region ahead of local elections there. 

India's Ministry of External Affairs said a protest was lodged with Pakistan's charge d'affaires in New Delhi. 

"India reiterated its longstanding demand that Pakistan fulfill its international obligations and bilateral commitments to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner," the ministry said in a statement. 

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Modi's allegations as groundless. 

"We view these as part of India's desperate attempts to divert international attention from its state-terrorism in (Indian-controlled Kashmir) and state-sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan," the ministry said late on Friday following Modi's comments on Twitter.

Tension between the nuclear-armed rivals has sharpened since last August, when Modi's government ended the autonomy of its only Muslim-majority region. Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi last week accused India of sponsoring terrorism aimed at destabilizing the country. Babar Iftikhar, Pakistan's military spokesman, said Indian intelligence agents were targeting development projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The officials said they had evidence to back the allegations. 

India termed the accusations as "figments of imagination." 

Commenting on Pakistan's allegations against India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday that Beijing firmly supports Islamabad in fighting terrorism, adding that any scheme to sabotage the building of the CPEC will not succeed. 

India will hold district-level elections this month in Jammu and Kashmir, the first such exercise there since the federal government revoked the area's special status more than a year ago. 

(CGTN)

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