Pakistan: Indian fire kills 1 soldier in Kashmir

Pakistan: Indian fire kills 1 soldier in Kashmir
Pakistani troops patrol near the Line of Control in Chakothi sector, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on August 29, 2019. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 27 September 2020

Pakistan: Indian fire kills 1 soldier in Kashmir

Pakistan: Indian fire kills 1 soldier in Kashmir
  • India and Pakistan routinely accused each other of unprovoked attacks along the tense Kashmir frontier
  • Pakistan says India has violated the truce more than 2,000 times this year alone

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s military said Sunday that Indian troops opened fire across the border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing one soldier.
In a statement, it said Pakistani troops responded by targeting the Indian posts where the fire originated, causing “substantial damage” on the Indian side but gave no details.
The Indian army said its troops “befittingly” responded to Pakistani firing and shelling along the Line of Control on Saturday in southern Rajouri district. It reported no damage or casualties.
India and Pakistan routinely accused each other of unprovoked attacks along the tense Kashmir frontier in violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement. Pakistan says India has violated the truce more than 2,000 times this year alone.
Kashmir is split between the nuclear-armed rivals and both claim it in its entirety. They have fought two wars over Kashmir since their independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
Tensions soared in February 2019, when a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, and India retaliated with airstrikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan shot down one of the warplanes in Kashmir and captured a pilot who was quickly released. India said the strikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for the suicide bombing.
Relations have been further strained since August last year, when India revoked the Muslim-majority region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger on both sides of the frontier. Since then, troops have frequently traded fire, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides.


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.