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Trump asks Pakistani and India to “reduce tensions” in Kashmir through a “dialogue”

August 16, 2019

MADRID, Aug 16 (EUROPE PRESS) –

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has called on Pakistan and India on Friday to “reduce tensions through dialogue,” in the context of increasing disputes in the Kashmir region.

The White House has said in a statement that Trump has spoken on the phone during the day with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Jan to “discuss regional events.”

“The two leaders have also discussed how they will continue to improve the growing relationship between the United States and Pakistan and the momentum created during their recent meeting at the White House,” he said.

Jan himself said Friday that India's “fascist tactics” in the Kashmir region “will fail miserably,” two days after accusing New Delhi of preparing a military offensive in the Kashmir region administered by Islamabad and warned of Islamabad's response in case of conflict.

Since Thursday, there have been a series of clashes at the border that have resulted in the death of at least four Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistani Army spokesman Asif Ghafur said on Thursday that, in addition to casualties on the Pakistani side, five Indian soldiers had also died. However, an Indian Army spokesman quoted by Reuters called the balance “wrong” and said “there have been no victims.”

These incidents coincide with the escalation of political tensions in the area after the Indian Government blocked communications at the beginning of the month and reduced powers in the Kashmir area under its control. New Delhi claimed security reasons and the need to integrate this area further into the rest of the territory.

The Pakistan Executive, however, perceived it as a threat and ordered a review of relations with India. Jan accused the international community on Thursday of witnessing “silently” the Indian movements in Kashmir, where “another massacre and ethnic cleansing of Muslims such as Srebrenica could occur.”

Pakistan and India have disputed the historical Kashmir region since 1947 and have faced it in two of the three wars they have maintained since their independence from the United Kingdom. In 1999 there was a brief but intense military confrontation between both nuclear powers and since 2003 a fragile truce has been maintained.

Separatist groups that advocate independence or union with Pakistan operate in the area. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of sponsoring these militias, but Pakistanis deny all involvement. Estimates are around 45,000 deaths due to this conflict since the late 1980s.

Tensions between the two countries reached their peak in recent years after the attack on February 14 in the town of Pulwama, in Indian Kashmir, which resulted in the deaths of 40 agents.

The authorship of the attack was claimed by the armed group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), after which India directly accused Pakistan of being involved in the attack, which was flatly rejected by Islamabad.

In the first half of 2019, more than 300 people have died in the region, according to data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). The figure is the worst since it began collecting data in 2016.