India builds 14,000 bunkers on Pakistan border
Published: 02:45 PM, 28 February 2019
India is building more than 14,000 bunkers suitable for families living along its border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir state, hoping to keep them safe near their homes instead of evacuating them as artillery shells scream over.
On Tuesday evening, Pakistan used heavy caliber weapons to shell 12 to 15 places along the Indian side of the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed Kashmir region, a spokesman for the Indian defense forces said. The Indian army retaliated with its own shelling of the Pakistani side, he said.
That had created “panic among people”, said Rahul Yadav, the deputy commissioner of the Poonch district, a remote area of the Indian state that faced some of the attacks.
The new shelters, which were planned before this week’s spike in tensions, are supposed to reduce that fear and prevent people from having to flee when the shelling begins.
There have been frequent exchanges of fire along the actual and de facto borders in recent months, but Tuesday’s firing marked a major escalation after India carried out an air strike on what it said was a training camp run by an Islamist militant group in Pakistan. India was responding to a suicide car bombing claimed by a member of the group that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir almost two weeks ago.
As well as the shelling, Pakistan retaliated on Wednesday by carrying out airstrikes on the Indian side of the border and, according to officials in Islamabad, shot down two Indian jets over Pakistan.
India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring militancy in Kashmir, Hindu-majority India’s only Muslim-dominated region. - Reuters
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