ISLAMABAD — The Latest on escalating India-Pakistan tensions (all times local):
Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party have called for more military action against Pakistan as tensions dramatically escalated this week between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Modi is to address tens of thousands of workers and volunteers from his Bharitiya Janata Party across the country on Thursday afternoon, rallying support ahead elections this spring in an event being billed as the “world’s largest videoconference.”
Opposition leaders demanded on Twitter that he cancel the event amid the tensions with Pakistan.
Twenty-one opposition party leaders met in New Delhi on Wednesday, releasing a statement praising the “valour” of India’s armed forces and condemning the ruling party’s “blatant politicization” of the events.
Authorities in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir have closed all schools and educational institutions in the region and are urging parents to keep their children at home amid mounting tension with neighbouring India.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that a key train service linking the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore with India has been suspended until “the security situation improves.”
Pakistan’s airspace remained closed for a second day Thursday, snarling air traffic.
There was a complete power blackout overnight in Muzafarabad, the main city on the Pakistani-held side of the disputed Himalayan region because of concerns India could to retaliate after Pakistan said it shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot the day before.
Pakistani police say troops deployed in the disputed region of Kashmir continued trading fire with India overnight, forcing villagers living near the contested frontier to move to safer places even as the two nuclear-armed nations appear to be stepping back from the brink.
Police official Mohammad Tahir says cross-border fire continued into Thursday but there were no casualties. Government buildings in Muzafarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir, are being used to provide shelter to those who fled from border towns.
This comes a day after Pakistan’s military said it shot down two Indian warplanes in Kashmir and captured a pilot, answering an airstrike the previous day by Indian fighter jets inside Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan offered peace talks and India’s external affairs minister promised restraint.