February 20, 2019 12:05 AM NPT
Tensions between nuclear-armed neighbors Indian and Pakistan are mounting following the deadliest militant attack in Kashmir’s three-decade separatist insurgency. Government forces surrounded a village in the southern Pulwama area early Monday on a tip that militants were hiding there, security officials said. As troops began conducting searches, they came under heavy gunfire, leading to a firefight that killed four soldiers, two suspected militants and a civilian.
Another soldier was wounded in the operation, which follows the Feb. 14 suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy that killed at least 40 soldiers, the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir’s history. India has blamed the attack on Pakistan and promised a “jaw-breaking response.” Pakistan has warned India against linking it to the attack without an investigation, saying that it was part of New Delhi’s “known rhetoric and tactics” to divert global attention from human rights violations in Kashmir. India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the Muslim-majority region in its entirety.