India planning fresh attack – Pakistan

Pakistani troops guard wreckage of an Indian plane, February 2019Image copyright

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Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet in February amid high tensions following a car bomb attack in Indian-administered Kashmir

Pakistan says it has “reliable intelligence” India is planning a military attack this month, something India dismissed as “war hysteria”.

Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the comments on Sunday.

Already tense relations between the two deteriorated this year when Pakistan-based militants killed dozens of Indian troops in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India responded with air strikes on Pakistani territory and soon after Pakistan shot down an Indian jet.

The aerial attacks in February across the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Indian and Pakistani territory in Kashmir were the first since a war in 1971.

Both nuclear-armed nations claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir, but only control parts of it.

What has Pakistan said?

Tensions seemed to have eased after the clashes, but on Sunday the Pakistani foreign minister said his country had intelligence to suggest an imminent Indian attack.

“There are chances of another aggression against Pakistan and according to our information this action can take place between April 16 and 20,” Mr Qureshi told reporters.

Image copyright

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Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the UN Security Council was informed of the alleged plans two days ago

The foreign minister said he made the allegations “with responsibility”, arguing the aggression aimed to raise “diplomatic pressure” against his country.

Pakistan has also summoned India’s deputy high commissioner to protest against what it says are India’s plans.

How did India respond?

Foreign officer spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan had “a clear objective of whipping up war hysteria in the region”.

His post also insisted Pakistan “cannot absolve itself of responsibility” for the militant car bomb in Kashmir.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has denied his country had any role in the attack. He has offered to cooperate with an investigation if India could provide evidence of Pakistan’s involvement.

India is due to vote in general elections late this year, and opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi allege he is using tensions with Pakistan to boost support for his party. Mr Modi’s BJP party has strongly denied the suggestion.

Pakistan detained dozens of suspected militants after the Kashmir attack, including relatives of Masood Azhar, the founder of the group that claimed the attack.

The allegations of an imminent Indian attack came on the same day Pakistan released the first batch of about 360 Indian prisoners.

The 100 people set free on Sunday are mostly fishermen who strayed into Pakistani waters.

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