14:39 GMT +320 March 2019
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    DoD Urges India, Pakistan to Cease Military Actions After Kashmir Air Skirmishes

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    Conflict Between India, Pakistan Escalates Over Exchange of Airstrikes in Kashmir (98)
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is urging India and Pakistan to avoid further military actions after the two countries engaged in an air battle, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn said in a statement.

    "Acting Secretary Shanahan's focus is on de-escalating tensions and urging both of the nations to avoid further military action", the statement said on Wednesday.

    Shanahan has discussed the India-Pakistan row with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, US Central Command Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, and US Indo-Pacific Command Commander Admiral Philip Davidson, according to the statement.

    READ MORE: India Submits Data on Terrorists They Targeted in Kashmir to Pakistan – Reports

    Tensions between the two nuclear powers escalated on Wednesday as both countries said they had shot down each other's fighter jets over the disputed Kashmir region. Pakistan said it shot down two Indian jets and captured a pilot, while India said it lost one plane and shot down a Pakistani jet.

    Relations between the two nuclear powers have been steadily deteriorating since a deadly terrorist attack against the Indian army on 14 February in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state that killed 45 Indian officers. After the attack, India accused Pakistan of having a "direct hand" in the incident and blamed the neighboring nation for harboring and protecting terrorists.

    Pakistan has rejected the allegations of its involvement in the attack and in return has accused India of being responsible for human rights violations taking place in Jammu and Kashmir.

    READ MORE: India Test Fires Short-Range Quick-Reaction Missile Following Kashmir Airstrike

    Jammu and Kashmir is a region that has been disputed by India and Pakistan since 1947 when both countries gained independence from the British Empire. The two countries have gone through three wars over the region, but the conflict has not been resolved. The unstable situation in the region has led to the emergence of extremist groups.

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    Conflict Between India, Pakistan Escalates Over Exchange of Airstrikes in Kashmir (98)

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    escalation, conflict, Pentagon, India, United States, Kashmir, Pakistan
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