Pakistan has said it plans to downgrade its diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India.

The move comes in response to India’s decision earlier this week to revoke the special status of the Indian-administered Kashmir region.

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In a government statement on Wednesday, Pakistan said it also planned to take the latest dispute over Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the country’s armed forces to continue vigilance.

Kashmir is a region bitterly divided between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming the region in its entirety.

Tensions have simmered for years along the Line of Control, the volatile, highly militarised frontier that divides Kashmir in two.

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Pakistan and India routinely blame each other for initiating border skirmishes.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were re-elected earlier this year on a platform that included promises to do away with special rights for Kashmiris under India’s constitution.

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Rebels in Indian-controlled Kashmir have been fighting Indian control since 1989.

Many Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand – that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country – while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

More to follow…

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