India, Pakistan in war of words over Kashmir

During a visit to the disputed Kashmir region Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of waging a terrorist war against India.

India, Pakistan in war of words over Kashmir

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused Pakistan of waging a “proxy war of terrorism” against India during a visit to the disputed Kashmir region.

In his first attack on India’s regional rival since becoming prime minister in May, Modi on Tuesday said: “The neighboring country [of the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir] has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism.”

The two countries have fought three wars over the region since they gained independence.

Addressing Indian army and air force personnel in Leh district, he added: “Indian armed forces are suffering more casualties from terrorism than from war.” He went on to stress his commitment to strengthening India’s “humanitarian forces,” a reference to the country’s armed services.

Modi’s remarks followed recent allegations of ceasefire violations by Pakistan and a rise in militant attacks on Indian military personnel in Kashmir.

Immediately after his election, Modi extended an olive branch to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by inviting him and other South Asian leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

Later on Tuesday, Modi flew to Kargil, a border town that was invaded in 1999 by armed rebels allegedly supported by Pakistan, to inaugurate a hydroelectric project.

Recalling his visit to the town in 1999, Modi said: “Gunfire was heard in those days, where now we hear the sound of clapping.”

Modi, 63, pointed out that the people of Kargil had supported Indian soldiers during the war.

The premier assured the crowd his government would take care of Kashmir’s Hindu population, refugees who fled from western Pakistan, as well as the victims of terrorist violence in the valley.

India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement in 2003 but the last two months have witnessed violations along the line of control.

Pakistan rejects Modi claim

Pakistan on Wednesday said allegations that it sponsored terrorism in disputed Kashmir, made by India's prime minister, were "baseless rhetoric."

Foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said in a statement that 55,000 Pakistani citizens have been killed by terrorism, making it "the biggest victim of the menace."

"The entire world has, time and again, acknowledged Pakistan's unprecedented sacrifices," the statement said. "The press reports of Indian accusations, at the highest political level, are most unfortunate, especially as the leadership of Pakistan wishes to establish good neighborly relations with India."

Aslam added that Pakistan's armed forces remained ready to defend the country's borders and thwart any threat of aggression.

"The neighboring country has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism," Modi said in a speech at a military base in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Ağustos 2014, 11:56