India and Pakistan exchanged “heavy” cross-border fire on Saturday, after New Delhi’s move to strip the restive Kashmir region of its autonomy prompted a rare meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
The two foes regularly fire potshots over the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Himalayan territory, which is divided between the two countries and poisoned their relations since independence in 1947. But the latest exchange follows New Delhi’s decision this month to rip up the special constitutional status of India-Occupied Kashmir, sparking protests from the local population, outrage from Pakistan and unease from neighboring China.
“The exchange of fire is going on,” said a senior Indian government official, calling it “heavy.” One Indian soldier was reportedly killed. Pakistan made no immediate comment on the violence.
Late Friday, Pakistan and China succeeded in getting the U.N. Security Council to discuss Kashmir—behind closed doors—for the first time since the Pak-Indo war of 1971. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday hailed the gathering, saying that addressing the “suffering of the Kashmiri people & ensuring resolution of the dispute is the responsibility of this world body.”
New Delhi insists the status of the territory is a purely internal matter. “We don’t need international busybodies to try to tell us how to run our lives. We are a billion-plus people,” India’s U.N. envoy Syed Akbaruddin said after the meeting.