Modi makes landmark visit to disputed Kashmir

2014-08-12 12:27
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Raveendran, AFP)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Raveendran, AFP)

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Kargil - Narendra Modi travelled on Tuesday to the disputed area of Kashmir, where he will become the first Indian prime minister in 15 years to visit the Siachen glacier, dubbed the world's highest battlefield.

The visit by India's newly elected leader comes amid heightened tensions in the disputed Kashmir zone, with India and its rival Pakistan trading accusations of ceasefire violations on Monday.

Modi landed in the Himalayan town of Leh on Tuesday morning, according to his official Twitter feed.

From there he will travel to the district of Kargil, becoming the first Indian leader to visit the sensitive area since a 1999 Pakistan army incursion brought the two countries to the brink of war.

He will visit troops and open two hydropower plants in the disputed Himalayan region, accompanied by India's new army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Pakistan on Monday summoned a senior Indian diplomat over a cross-border firing incident near the eastern city of Sialkot, which the foreign ministry said left at least one civilian dead.

The Pakistani authorities accused India of a "ceasefire violation" and registered a formal protest.

New Delhi and Islamabad agreed a ceasefire in 2003 after the Pakistan army's incursion in the Kargil sector in 1999 brought the two countries to the brink of war.

Despite the truce, firing along the disputed de facto border called the Line of Control, which separates Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani sectors, has occurred sporadically since 2003.

Both India and Pakistan claim the region in full and have fought two of their three wars over its control.

Since 1989, fighting between Indian forces and rebels seeking independence or integration within Pakistan has killed tens of thousands, mostly civilians.

Read more on:    narendra modi  |  pakistan  |  india  |  security

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