One Indian soldier was killed and three more seriously injured in an exchange of fire early in the morning between Indian and Pakistani forces, an Indian military official told Sputnik. The incident took place in the Makwal sector of Jammu and was initiated by the Pakistani Army, which used combat choppers as support, the official said.
This is the third major exchange of fire between the two armed forces following the recent build-up in tensions between the states. They happen along with continuing incidents involving Pakistani drones, violating Indian airspace, and being downed by the Indian military.
Relations between Islamabad and New Delhi have spiralled downward since the Pakistan Air Force downed two Indian jets on its territory and captured their pilots. New Delhi has stated that its jets shot down a Pakistani F-16 in the course of the encounter; however Islamabad denies losing a single plane, as well as using F-16s in the first place.
Pakistan has called for a diplomatic resolution to the escalating tensions between the two states after Islamabad made a "peace gesture" on 1 March by releasing one of the Indian pilots of the downed MiG-21.
The downing of the jets followed an airstrike conducted by the Indian Air Force on an alleged camp belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group on Pakistani territory on 26 February. The air raid came in response to a terrorist attack on an Indian security convoy on 14 February carried out by JeM that claimed the lives of 40 people. Islamabad has denied the camp's existence and stated that the airstrike hit an empty hillside.
India insists that Pakistan is harbouring and supporting militants that are conducting terrorist attacks on Indian territory against its military personnel. Islamabad denies the accusations. In several recent major operations, Pakistani authorities have arrested a number of terrorist organisations' members, including Mufti Abdul Raoof, the brother of the leader of JeM.