06:39 GMT +326 June 2019
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    A Pakistan army soldier stands guard at hilltop post at a forward area on the Line of Control (LOC), that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India. (File)

    ‘Space for Peace Shrinks’: Indian Army Kills Three Pakistani Soldiers in Kashmir

    © AP Photo / Anjum Naveed)
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    On Monday, Indian army troops crossed the Line of Control, the border separating Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, killing three Pakistani soldiers and injuring another.

    According to Pakistani officials, the troops were killed in the Rakhchikri area of Pakistani-administered Kashmir. 

    A Tuesday statement released by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry claims that the Indian soldiers fired across the Line of Control to provide cover for "non-state actors" to plant improvised explosive devices, which then killed three soldiers.

    "The unprovoked ceasefire violations by Indian occupation forces in the Rakhchikri sector… provided a cover for the planting of improvised explosive devices by non-state actors, resulting in the martyrdom of three soldiers and injuring another," the statement read.

    The latest shooting comes two days after the Indian army claimed that four of its soldiers, one of whom was an army major, were killed by Pakistani soldiers firing in the Rajauri District of the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.

    Even though the two South Asian rivals signed a 2003 ceasefire agreement, repeated firing between the two countries continues to occur in the disputed region of Kashmir.

    Despite the strained relations between the two countries, Pakistan permitted the wife and the mother of an Indian imprisoned in Islamabad, Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him for the very first time on Monday.

    Jadhav was sentenced sentenced to death by Pakistan in April, a year after he was arrested on espionage and terrorism charges. The Pakistani government claims that Jadhav was working for India's spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. However, according to Indian officials, Jadhav is a retired naval officer who was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence officials while he was in Iran on a business trip. The International Court of Justice has temporarily suspended his court-ordered execution. 

    "The fact that despite the simmering tensions, the two sides successfully worked out details of the meeting is a positive development," Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said recently, according to a New York Times report.

    However, the killing of three Pakistani soldiers just hours after Jadhav's meeting with his family "sends a very disappointing message from Delhi," according to Sherry Rehman, the former ambassador of Pakistan to the US.

    "This is all quite unfortunate for the people of South Asia who remain hostage to this impasse, as space for peace shrinks when hostility is normalized as policy by [Prime Minister of India Narendra] Modi's government," Rehman said.

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    shooting, soldiers, disputed territory, Kashmir, Pakistan, India
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