A major exchange of fire has erupted along the contested Kashmir border separating India and Pakistan known as the Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan's army says at lease three Pakistani and five Indian soldiers were killed during the cross-border fighting on Thursday.
However, India is denying the Pakistani army's account of the "ceasefire violations," calling it "fictitious". According to India Today "unprovoked fire" from the Pakistani side deliberately timed during India's 73rd Independence Day forced a response. India claims there were no casualties on its side, while affirming that three Pakistani troops were killed.
The incident was first revealed when chief spokesman of the Pakistan armed forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor, announced on Twitter that Indian forces had fired at the LoC, and that "Intermittent exchange of fire continues".
In efforts to divert attention from precarious situation in IOJ&K,Indian Army increases firing along LOC.— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 15, 2019
3 Pakistani soldiers embraced shahadat. Pakistan Army responded effectively. 5 Indian soldiers killed, many injured, bunkers damaged. Intermittent exchange of fire continues. pic.twitter.com/wx1RoYdiKE
In response to Pakistan's claim of 5 Indian soldiers killed, a senior Indian Army official told national media, "The claim made by Pakistan's military is fictitious."
Sporadic shelling has continued along the LoC as a major Indian military crackdown on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues after early last week New Delhi voted to revoke the Muslim majority region's autonomous status.
A complete communications blackout and state of martial law has continued in the restive region. Recently Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to support Kashmir amid the Indian crackdown "with all possible options".
Analysts have predicted that India revoking J&K's status could send it hurtling towards war with its nuclear-armed Muslim neighbor Pakistan.