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India and Pakistan Play Blame Game in Deadly Border Clashes

Shelling in villages along the Pakistan and Indian borders in recent days has left multiple people dead, with both countries faulting each other for the latest skirmishes.

by VICE News
Jul 16 2015, 4:50pm

Photo par AP/Channi Anand

Four Pakistanis were shot and killed today in villages near the city of Sialkot, which sits close to the border of India and Kashmir, as authorities from both countries are blaming each other for a series deadly incidents in the last two days.

Artillery fire hit the Pakistani villages on Thursday,leaving five injured in addition to the four dead, with officials in Pakistan faulting India for the violence. According to India's Border Security Force, however, the clashes on Thursday were a continuation of earlier events and the country's troops were acting to safeguard its residents from mortar shells launched by Pakistan.

India also blamed Pakistan for a Wednesday incident in which the Border Security Force claimed its rival fired mortar shells on a village along the border. One woman was killed and four individuals were injured during the incident. One of the injured includes a soldier posted at the border.

Another recent development in ongoing tensions between the two countries stems from a claim by Pakistan's military that it shot down an Indian spy drone that flew into its airspace. The Indian army denied this report, and said its drones had not crossed into Pakistan.

"None of our unmanned aerial vehicles has been shot down by them," said Indian army spokesman Colonel S.D. Goswami.

India's Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said the drone in question was not one of the designs it has in its arsenal of unmanned devices. He also denied that it was an Indian design.

The latest altercations have even led to diplomats becoming involved, with Islamabad and New Delhi protesting by summoning their envoys.

Pakistan and India have engaged in multiple wars over disputed territory of in the Kashmir region, which has been fought over since the two countries separated after becoming independent from from Britain in 1947. Both of the south Asian nuclear rivals claim the Himalayan territory in full, but it remains divided. Armies from both countries have a heavy presence along the border, including separate paramilitary border fences along each side.

While a 2003 ceasefire between the countries has been mostly effective, the two sides still have regular altercations. Last week, during a summit in Russia, the prime ministers from India and Pakistan met on the sidelines with the aim of easing tensions.

The Associated Press has contributed to this report.