India launches air strikes against militants in Pakistani

India launches air strikes against militants in Pakistani

PanARMENIAN.Net - India says it launched air strikes against militants in Pakistani territory in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries, the BBC reports.

The government said strikes targeted a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group in Balakot.

Pakistan said the strikes hit an empty area but vowed to respond.

Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been strained since a suicide attack earlier this month that killed more than 40 Indian troops.

India accuses Pakistan of allowing militant groups to operate on its territory and says Pakistani security agencies played a role in the 14 February attack - claimed by JeM. Pakistan denies any role and says it does not provide safe haven to militants.

Tuesday's air strikes are the first launched across the line of control - the de facto border that divides India-administered Kashmir from Pakistan-administered Kashmir - since a war between the two countries in 1971.

Balakot is in Pakistan's north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Residents there told BBC Urdu they were woken by loud explosions.

Pakistan condemned the strike and said it would respond "at the time and place of its choosing".

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