Pause in India-Pakistan Fighting Brings Respite for Civilians
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Fighting between India and Pakistan paused on Friday after days of heavy shelling and gun battles across their disputed Himalayan border in Kashmir, the worst skirmishes between the nuclear-armed rivals in more than a decade.
The lull came a day after a heated exchange of rhetoric, with New Delhi warning Pakistan it would pay an "unaffordable price" if shelling and machinegun fire continued and Islamabad saying it was capable of responding "fittingly" to aggression.
Nine Pakistani and eight Indian civilians have been killed since both sides' security forces started firing more than a week ago along a 200-km (125-mile) stretch of border in mostly Muslim Kashmir, Reuters reported.
It was calm along the Jammu border during the night, there was no firing in any of the sectors," said Uttam Chand, an Indian police officer, referring to the southern, predominantly Hindu part of the region.
India and Pakistan forces exchanged gun fire for about 20 minutes on Thursday evening, another police official said.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
Their shared border is among the most heavily militarized in the world and travel between the two nations is severely restricted.Almost 20,000 Indian civilians have fled their homes in the lowlands around India's Jammu region to escape the fighting, taking refuge in schools and relief camps.
Civilians living in the area hit hardest by the shelling expressed relief at the halt in firing.