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INDIA AIR STRIKE TARGET MILITANTS IN PAKISTAN

India says it launched air strikes against militants in Pakistani territory, in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries.

The government said strikes targeted a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group in Balakot.

Pakistan said its jets had forced back the Indian planes and denied there were any casualties.

Relations between the countries were strained by a militant attack on Indian troops in Kashmir earlier this month.

India accuses Pakistan of allowing militant groups to operate on its territory and says Pakistani security agencies played a role in the suicide attack on 14 February, which was claimed by JeM and killed 40 Indian troops.

Pakistan denies any role and says it does not provide safe haven to militants

Balakot is in Pakistan’s north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Residents there told BBC Urdu they were woken by loud explosions. Pakistan condemned the strike and said it would respond “at the time and place of its choosing”.

The strikes are the first launched across the line of control – the de facto border that divides India-administered Kashmir from Pakistan-administered Kashmir – since a war between the two countries in 1971.

Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir, but control only parts of it. The nuclear-armed nations have fought three wars and a limited conflict since independence from Britain in 1947 – and all but one w jere over Kashmir.

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