India and Pakistan face off at border amidst Coronavirus scare

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Indian Army data shows 411 ceasefire violations by Pakistan’s military in March, the highest number in a single month since at least 2018. That compares with 267 violations in March last year recorded by the Indian Army.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s army said on Thursday it had shot down a small Indian surveillance drone in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region, according to a report by the AFP news agency. According to a statement from the army media wing, the Indian quadcopter – about the same size as a commercially available hobby drone – had crossed 600 metres (650 yards) over the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC), an informal border in Kashmir.

“This blatant act was aggressively responded to by Pakistan Army troops shooting down Indian quadcopter,” the statement read. An Indian army spokesman said the drone “is not ours”. The incident came as Pakistan and India accuse each other of violating ceasefire terms at the LoC, with sporadic shelling reported from both sides.

“[The] Pakistan Army never initiates ceasefire violations along LoC, but it has always responded befittingly to Indian Army’s unprovoked firing,” said Major-General Babar Iftikhar, of the public relations wing of the Pakistan Army.

Iftikhar said Pakistan’s military had recorded 705 ceasefire violations by the Indian Army since the beginning of the year. The Indian Army data showed 1,197 Pakistani violations during the same period.

Four Indian army officials said the heightened border activity was a cover to help militants from Pakistan-backed groups infiltrate into Indian-administered Kashmir, as some troops help to run health camps and hand out food in the battle on the covonavirus.

“The increase in ceasefire violations is an indication that Pakistan is trying to push militants into the Kashmir valley,” said one of the officials, who all sought anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media.

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