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Pakistan Asks UN To Help Defuse Tensions With India

Indian Army soldiers arrive near the site of a gunbattle between suspected militants and Indian security forces in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 18.

Pakistan's foreign minister has written a letter to the United Nations, asking it to help de-escalate tensions with India after dozens of Indian paramilitary troops and army soldiers were killed in two recent separate incidents in the Indian sector of the disputed Kashmir region.

India has blamed Islamabad for the two incidents and warned of a "jaw-breaking response." Pakistan has condemned the attacks and also warned India not to link it to them without an investigation.

Islamabad also recalled its ambassador from New Delhi for consultations on February 18.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his letter that "for domestic political reasons, India has deliberately ratcheted up its hostile rhetoric against Pakistan and created a tense environment," the Foreign Ministry said on February 19.

Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan each administer a part of Kashmir and since obtaining independence from Britain in 1947 have fought two of their three wars over it.

Early on February 18, at least four Indian soldiers, including a top officer, a police official, one civilian, and three suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir, just days after a suicide bombing that killed at least 44 paramilitary officers in the disputed territory.

Tensions rose sharply with neighboring Pakistan following the suicide bombing.

New Delhi demanded that Pakistan "stop supporting terrorists and terror groups" who use Pakistan as a base and "dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries."

India has long accused Pakistan of supporting militants in Muslim-majority Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two nuclear archrivals but claimed in full by both.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa, and India Today