India–Pakistan border skirmishes (2019)

2019 India–Pakistan skirmishes
Part of the Indo-Pakistani conflicts and the Kashmir conflict
Kashmir map.svg
Map of the Kashmir region
Date14 February 2019 – present
(1 month, 1 week and 2 days)
Location
StatusOngoing
Belligerents

 India

Jaish-e-Mohammed

 Pakistan

Casualties and losses
40–46 CRPF killed[1][2] and 70 wounded[3]
5–10 soldiers wounded[4][5]
1 pilot captured (released)[6]
1 MiG-21 shot down (Indian claim)[7][8]
2 fighter jets shot down (Pakistani claim)[9][10][11]
Many killed (Indian claim)[12]
None killed (Pakistani claim)[13][14]
2 soldiers killed[15]
1 F-16 and 3 UAVs shot down (Indian claim)[16][17][18]
10–12 Pakistani and 4 Indian civilians killed[19][20][21]

India and Pakistan are engaged in an ongoing military confrontation in the disputed Kashmir region and its neighboring provinces; the heightened tensions stem from a suicide car bombing that happened on 14 February 2019.

In the bombing, a militant from Jammu and Kashmir killed 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force members in Pulwama. The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility, while Pakistan's government condemned the attack and denied any involvement.[22]

On 26 February the Indian Air Force conducted airstrikes inside Pakistan — for the first time since 1971. India claimed it conducted a preemptive strike against an alleged terrorist training camp and claimed to have killed a "large number"[23] of militants who had plans to conduct terror attacks in India.[12][24] Local residents[25] and the Pakistani military disputed India's claims about the strike, saying no one was killed nor was infrastructure damaged.[23]

Escalating the situation, India and Pakistan exchanged fire across the Line of Control on 26 and 27 February. Ten Indian soldiers were injured[5] while four Pakistani civilians were killed in the shelling.[26] On the latter day, Pakistan conducted airstrikes in Indian-administered Kashmir which caused no casualties or damage.[27]

Also on 27 February, Pakistan claimed that it had captured two pilots after shooting down two Indian jets over Pakistani airspace. India claimed that only one MiG-21 had been lost and demanded the release of the pilot. India also claimed to have shot down a Pakistani F-16, which Pakistan denied. Pakistan later clarified that only one Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured, and he was subsequently released on 1 March.[6]

Background

India and Pakistan have long been at odds with each other, having engaged in several wars, conflicts, and military standoffs. The roots of the continued tension are complex, but have centered mainly around the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. After the 1947 Partition of India, the newly-formed independent states of Pakistan and India squabbled over it, which led to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 and a subsequent sharing of the state. The settlement was non-agreeable to both the parties and since then, this had become an ongoing intractable issue leading to a war in 1965. The nations also partook in another war in 1971 which led to the formation of Bangladesh. Both countries developed nuclear weapons in the 1990s and this had a sobering effect on the next major conflict – the 1999 Kargil War.[28]

As of now, the Line of Control demarcates the areas of administration: Pakistan administers the territory to the northwest of the line; India administers the territory to the southeast.[29] Since 1989, a militant-fueled insurgency has raged in India-Administered-Kashmir, driven by a desire for either independence or union with Pakistan.[30][31][32] The United Nations has accused Pakistan of providing material support to the militants and accused India of committing human-rights violations.[33]

The standoff occurred ahead of the 2019 Indian general election.[34][35] After the Pulwama attack, Pakistan's PM attributed Indian government's desire to retaliate against Pakistan to the upcoming election.[36][37] The Indian government rejected the allegation.[36] Many analysts have stated that a military response to Pakistan would improve the electoral prospects of India's ruling party.[38][39][35][40]

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