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India: More than 200 militants trying to cross the border from Pakistan to Kashmir

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) –India’s national security adviser said on Saturday more than 200 suspected militants were trying to cross the border from Pakistan into India-controlled Kashmir and accused Islamabad of trying to stoke violence in the region.

Pakistan condemned India’s decision last month to abolish the special status of Kashmir, which gives it autonomy under the constitution, and Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed on Friday to respond as hard as possible to India’s actions in the disputed region.

“There are about 230 people ready to sneak in from different parts of Kashmir,” Ajit Kumar Doval, national security adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, told reporters.

Military officials said the estimate was based on intelligence and interception of radio waves, adding that some of the militants had already been arrested by Indian security forces.

“A large number of weapons are being smuggled and people in Kashmir are being instructed to cause unrest,” said Duval, one of the authors of the policy of withdrawing Kashmir’s special status and fully annexing it to India.

India imposed tight restrictions in Kashmir in early August to prevent large and violent protests. Duval said some restrictions had been eased but mobile services and the Internet were still restricted because they could be used to create chaos.

“We want to lift all restrictions but it depends on how Pakistan behaves.”

“When Pakistan stops sending signals through telecommunication towers to its customers, we will be able to lift restrictions,” he said.

India has long accused Pakistan of training and arming militants and sending them to the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, where New Delhi has been battling a nearly 30-year-old insurgency.

Pakistan denies direct support, but says it is providing moral and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle for self-determination.

An air clash between the two countries took place in February after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a convoy of Indian troops in Kashmir.

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