A suspected Pakistani shelling attack targeted villages in the Nowshera area (Rajouri district, Kashmir) on Thursday, February 1. According to Indian media sources, the shelling struck the villages of Kampala, Pukherni, Lam, Anwas, Bhandar, Rattal, and Basali, among others. No casualties were immediately reported. Some 71 schools were closed in the Lam area due to the attack; it is unclear when classes will resume. Additional cross-border clashes are possible in the affected areas of Kashmir in the coming weeks.
Thursday's suspected Pakistani shelling attack was reportedly in violation of a previous ceasefire arrangement agreed by both Indian and Pakistani officials in the area. According to Indian media sources, Pakistani forces launched similar cross-border shelling attacks in the Nowshera area on January 26 and January 30.
A ceasefire has been in place in Kashmir since 2003. However, over 800 incidents of ceasefire violations were reported in Kashmir in 2017 alone, resulting in the deaths of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the border. New Delhi and Islamabad both regularly accuse each other of initiating cross-border clashes. Since their independence from Britain in 1947, the two South Asian countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence.