Pakistan recalls India envoy as Kashmir tensions turn deadly

Pakistan recalls India envoy as Kashmir tensions turn deadly
Islamabad recalls its ambassador from New Delhi as tensions escalate between India government forces and rebel militants in the region of Kashmir.
2 min read
18 February, 2019
Indian army men are seen standing on guard after protests in Kashmir [Getty Images]
Pakistan has recalled its ambassador in New Delhi for consultations as tensions with India over the disputed region of Muslim-majority Kashmir erupted into a deadly battle on Monday.

"We have called back our High Commissioner in India for consultations. He left New Delhi this morning," Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter on Monday.

This follows a gun battle in the disputed region of Kashmir in which four Indian soldiers, two suspected militants and a civilian were killed in the early hours on Monday.

The fighting erupted when government troops began conducting searches in a southern Puwama village on a tip that militants were hiding there.

Police recovered the bodies of two militants from the debris of a house destroyed by government explosives. An Indian army major was among the 4 soldiers killed and one wounded soldier is in hospital in critical condition.

The fighting triggered anti-India protests and clashes in the village, with local residents, mainly youths, trying to march to the site of the gun battle in solidarity with the rebels.

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Escalating tensions

India recalled its ambassador to Pakistan last week following a suicide bomb attack in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday.

A Kashmiri militant crashed an explosive-laden van into a paramilitary bus killing at least 40 soldiers. This was the deadliest attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir’s history.

India says Pakistan was involved in the attack, promising a "jaw breaking response".

Denying any involvement in the attack, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the attack was the matter of grave concern.

Both India and Pakistan claim the region of Kashmir in full but only control parts.

Read also: A year of death, destruction and censorship in Kashmir

Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. The anti-India unrest been on the increase in recent years, especially after a popular rebel leader was killed in 2016.

Last year, more than 550 people - including armed militants, government forces and civilians - were killed, marking the deadliest year in a decade.

India and Pakistan both claim all of Kashmir but control only parts of it.