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Pakistan Will Respond To Any Aggression In Kashmir, Khan Warns India

15 Aug 2019 Gandhara - RFE/RL

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has used a speech marking the country's Independence Day to accuse India of planning military action in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

"The Pakistani Army is fully aware that they have made a plan of taking action" in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, Khan said in an August 14 address before the region's legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad.

"We will be ready, we will respond to whatever you do," he added.

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Tensions between Pakistan and India have soared since New Delhi last week imposed a security lockdown in Indian-ruled Kashmir and revoked an article in India's constitution that guaranteed the predominantly Muslim region greater autonomy than other states in India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the move will allow New Delhi to rid the region it administers of "terrorism and separatism."

Tens of thousands of people have died in a three-decades-old insurgency in Indian-ruled Kashmir.

In his speech in Muzaffarabad, Khan vowed to step up diplomatic efforts to highlight the issue of Kashmir and expose Indian actions in the region, saying, "I will be the ambassador who raises Kashmir's voice around the world."

In an earlier statement, the prime minister expressed solidarity with people living in the Indian part of Kashmir, saying they were "victims of Indian oppression."

"Independence Day is an opportunity for great happiness, but today we are saddened by the plight of our Kashmiri brothers," Khan said. "I assure my Kashmiri brothers that we stand with them."

President Arif Alvi delivered a similar message during a ceremony in Islamabad, saying, "We have remained with them, we are with them today, and will continue to do so."

India's Hindu-nationalist-led government on August 13 said that is easing its lockdown in a "phased manner" after cutting off mobile, landline, and Internet networks.

On August 14, Indian security officials who spoke under the the condition of anonymity said a group of Pakistani militants backed by the military tried to infiltrate Indian-controlled Kashmir to foment violence. The officials did not give further details.

Urgent Meeting?

Meanwhile, Pakistan requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss India's "recent aggressive actions."

Jacek Czaputowicz, the foreign minister of Poland, which holds the council presidency this month, said members would discuss the request.

Czaputowicz noted that "strained relations between India and Pakistan negatively affect the whole South Asia region."

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India, but it is claimed in full by both countries.

The two nuclear-armed powers have fought two wars over the region since their 1947 independence from British rule.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, Dawn, AFP, and RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

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