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A History of Conflict

by AFP

A resident of Kargil enters a bunker for protection during the 1999 conflict between Pakistan and India. Mustafa Tauseef—AFP

A brief review of the major clashes between Pakistan and India over disputed Kashmir

India and Pakistan have fought two wars and countless skirmishes over Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed in full by both rivals. But rarely have ground troops or air forces crossed the heavily militarized de facto border between the two foes, known as the Line of Control, in Kashmir.

Here are some of the major clashes between the South Asian enemies over the flashpoint mountainous territory.


The first war breaks out over Kashmir after Partition divides the Subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The maharaja of Kashmir, the local ruler, accedes to India as tribal fighters from Pakistan launch attacks.


India and Pakistan fight a second brief war over Kashmir before a ceasefire is declared.


India and Pakistan fight another war, not over Kashmir but over Islamabad’s rule in then-East Pakistan, with New Delhi supporting Bengali nationalists seeking independence for what would become Bangladesh. India’s air force conducts bombing raids inside Pakistan.


Indian forces seize the Siachen Glacier, a remote and uninhabited territory high in the Karakoram Range also claimed by Pakistan. The first of many battles are fought over the high-altitude stretch, until a ceasefire is signed in 2003.


Pakistan-backed militants cross the disputed Kashmir border, seizing Indian military posts in the icy heights of the Kargil mountains. Indian troops push the intruders back, ending the 10-week Kargil conflict, which costs 1,000 lives on both sides.


India launches what it calls “surgical strikes” on targets in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in September, less than two weeks after a militant attack on an Indian army base leaves 19 soldiers dead. Pakistan denies the strikes took place. In November, seven Indian soldiers are killed after militants disguised as policemen storm a major army base near the frontier with Pakistan.


India vows retaliation after at least 40 paramilitaries are killed in a suicide attack in India-Occupied Kashmir. New Delhi blames the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack despite it being claimed by a local resident. In the early hours of Feb. 26, Indian conducts airstrikes against what it calls JeM’s “biggest training camp,” killing “a very large number” of militants. Pakistan maintains the Pakistan Air Force pushed back against the “strikes” and no casualties or damage occurred.

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