Pakistan has beefed up its military presence in Islamabad-controlled Kashmir, moving more than 2,000 troops closer to region’s border with India, Asian News International (ANI) reported Thursday.
“A rattled Pakistan has also established moveable training camps of terror groups in the region,” India Today added.
India has long accused Pakistan of fueling terrorism in Muslim-majority Kashmir, but Pakistan denies the accusations. Islamabad has accused New Delhi of violently and at times fatally oppressing pro-Pakistan dissidents, an assertion dismissed by India.
Islamabad boosted its military footprint in Kashmir amid intensified tensions with India. Pakistan has condemned India’s Hindu-nationalist government for revoking the autonomy enjoyed by New Delhi-administered Kashmir on August 5.
Nuclear-armed India, Pakistan, and China all have competing territorial claims to the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Pakistan and India claim Kashmir in its entirety, but a border — the Line of Control (LOC) — separates most of the area between the two rivals.
Referring to Pakistan’s deployment of an almost brigade-size force to an area in Islamabad-held Kashmir closer to the LOC, ANI noted on Thursday, “The troops who have been moved are from a peace location and for now have been stationed [about 19 miles] from the Line of Control, Indian Army sources said here.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi deployed “tens of thousands” of security forces to New Delhi-controlled Kashmir to quell unrest stemming from his decision to rescind the region’s autonomy, the Associated Press (AP) reported, consistent with other news outlets.
It appears Pakistan is following suit, boosting its military footprint in the region.
ANI indicated that the Pakistani troops deployed near the LOC number over 2,000.
“At present, they have not been deployed in offensive posturing. However, the Indian Army is closely watching their movements,” unnamed sources told ANI.
The news outlet added:
The sources further said that the movement of the Pakistan Army troops has come at a time when it has already activated its terrorist infrastructure and the terrorist organizations Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) have started recruiting locals and Afghans in a big way.
Unnamed sources told ANI that Pakistan is actively recruiting Afghan terrorists to carry out attacks against Indian security forces. Afghanistan borders Kashmir.
[The] Pakistan Army has moved troops closer to the LoC at a time when Islamabad has been trying to fuel terrorism in the [Kashmir] Valley.
It has also been attempting to draw international attention and intervention by terming the prevailing situation between the two countries as very tense. Since the abrogation of Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan deployed more than 100 SSG [Special Service Group] commandos along the LoC to push terrorists and incite violence in the state.
China controls two separate areas in Pakistani and Indian Kashmir, respectively.
Islamabad ceded a portion of its Kashmir territory to its “all-weather ally” Beijing. New Delhi, however, disputes China’s control of lands on its side of the LoC.
Beijing mainly stays in the shadows of the Pakistan-India dispute over Kashmir, providing military and economic support for Islamabad to defend its position.
Pakistan, India, and China have acknowledged that the ongoing tension over the region could spark a nuclear war.
India and Pakistan repeatedly clash along their border in Kashmir despite a 2003 ceasefire agreement. Pakistan and India have fought two major wars over the Himalayan region. China and India have also engaged in a military conflict over Kashmir.