Tensions are one again soaring along the contested “line of control” that runs through Kashmir, with Indian Army officials claiming to have launched raids into the side controlled by the Pakistani military to conduct “surgical strikes” against militants operating there, apparently getting into fights with the Pakistani troops.
Pakistan denied that the Indian troops actually crossed the LOC, but did confirm two Pakistani soldiers killed and nine wounded trading small arms fire along the frontier. There were intermittent reports of artillery and mortar fire back and forth over the LOC all day.
At least one Indian soldier indisputably got across the LOC, however, with Pakistani officials reportedly capturing him. Indian officials say this soldier was not involved in the raids, but was supposed to be patrolling the LOC and accidentally wandered onto the wrong side.
India has almost never been this public in confirming cross-LOC raids, and that they publicly announced this reflects a precipitous increase in tensions in the area. This is the result of an incident in which militants killed a dozen Indian soldiers earlier this month in Kashmir, after the militants reportedly crossed the LOC in the opposite direction.
Pakistani officials warned that they would consider such cross-LOC strikes “an act of war,” with one unnamed “senior security official” telling the media Pakistan might use tactical nuclear weapons in self-defense.
At the same time, Indian PM Narendra Modi has threatened to severely curb Pakistan’s access to key rivers, from which they get a vital amount of water, warning “blood and water cannot flow at the same time.” Pakistani media is reporting that China has threatened to get involved in the water dispute, and could block the rivers flowing into India in the first place.