India-Pakistan: Latest news on Kashmir crisis

By Euan McKirdy, Bianca Britton and Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

Updated 1:04 a.m. ET, March 8, 2019
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7:56 a.m. ET, March 2, 2019

Indian minister meets pilot released by Pakistan

Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has met Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the pilot released by Pakistan at the Wagah border on Friday.

Sitharaman joined the pilot and his family earlier on Saturday at a military hospital in New Delhi, where he has been undergoing medical checks.

In a tweet, India's Defence Ministry said Sitharaman conveyed "the sentiment of the Nation" to the pilot, adding she "appreciates his impeccable combat skills as well as calmness in adversity."

7:55 a.m. ET, March 2, 2019

"Friendship Express" to resume services

From CNN’s Sugam Pokharel in New Delhi

Stranded Pakistani passengers leave Attari Railway station on Thursday, following the temporary suspension by the Pakistani authorities of the Samjhauta Express rail service.
Stranded Pakistani passengers leave Attari Railway station on Thursday, following the temporary suspension by the Pakistani authorities of the Samjhauta Express rail service. NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

India and Pakistan have agreed to resume the services of the Samjhauta Express -- one of the two train services connecting the two countries -- from Sunday, RK Rana, a spokesperson for the Indian Railways, told CNN.

The service, which runs between New Delhi in India and Lahore in Pakistan, was suspended earlier this week following the escalation in tensions between the two neighbors.

Commonly referred to as the "Friendship Express," the line was established several years ago as Indian and Pakistan officials worked to improve relations.

Its name translates to "compromise" or "settlement" in both Hindi and Urdu.

6:19 a.m. ET, March 2, 2019

Two Pakistani soldiers killed near Kashmir border, Army says

From CNN’s Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Violence has continued across the de-facto border between Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, known as the Line of Control (LoC).

Two Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in cross-border fire with Indian forces over the LoC on Saturday, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

The fighting took place at Nakiyal Sector, the Army's statement said. The dead soldiers have been named as Havaldar Abdur Rub and Naik Khuram.

The ISPR reports that Indian troops also sustained casualties and there was damage to the post.

11:25 p.m. ET, March 1, 2019

China doesn't want to get caught in the middle of a India-Pakistan conflict

Beijing has important links with both Pakistan and India that it needs to balance -- but it is on the verge of being sucked into the India-Pakistan crisis.  Earlier this week China's Foreign Ministry called for both Pakistan and India to "maintain self-restraint and focus on regional peace and stability."

Read more here.

9:36 p.m. ET, March 1, 2019

How the Wagah border post became a symbol of India-Pakistan rivalry

Wing Commander Abhinandan, the pilot captured by Pakistan forces after his plane was shot down in a dogfight earlier this week, was returned to India on Friday evening at a famous border post in the village of Wagah.

While Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir are separated by a 435-mile de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC), Wagah village sits on the international frontier to the south between the Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian city of Amritsar.

The border post has taken on a symbolic role in the decades-long conflict over Kashmir, despite being outside the disputed region, thanks to a daily military parade known as the Beating Retreat ceremony.

Learn more about it, and the symbolic village where it takes place, here.

7:57 p.m. ET, March 1, 2019

Crisis may be easing, but nuclear threat still hangs over India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan have fought several major wars -- the last being in 1999 -- involving thousands of casualties and numerous skirmishes across the Line of Control in the contested Kashmir region.

Since that last clash, both countries have quietly sought to enlarge and upgrade their military capabilities.

With its military buildup over those decades, India now exceeds Pakistan on most numerical measurements -- fighter jets, troops, tanks and helicopters.

India far surpasses Pakistan in other measures, too, especially in military budget, $64 billion to $11 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

But, as is often the case, numbers don't tell the whole story. Read more here.

1:06 p.m. ET, March 1, 2019

Russia's Lavrov urges dialogue between Pakistan and India

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at the Munich Security Conference on February 16 in Munich, Germany.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at the Munich Security Conference on February 16 in Munich, Germany. Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

Russia has continued its efforts to act as peace broker in the latest India-Pakistan Pakistan escalations, with the country's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calling his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on Friday.

During the call, Qureshi expressed gratitude for Russia's role in de-escalating regional tensions, according to a statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

The statement said Lavrov encouraged Pakistan and India to "resolve all issues through dialogue and peaceful means."

Lavrov once again offered mediation services between the two quarrelling nations and offered to supply a venue for further talks, the foreign ministry statement added.

11:56 a.m. ET, March 1, 2019

Indian PM welcomes pilot's return

From CNN's Bianca Britton

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted well-wishes to the pilot, welcoming him back to the country.

"Welcome home Wing Commander Abhinandan! The nation is very proud of your exemplary courage," he tweeted.

Modi added that India's armed forces were an "inspiration" to its 1.3 billion citizens.

8:02 p.m. ET, March 1, 2019

Captured pilot crosses border into India

From CNN's Bianca Britton

After much anticipation, the captured Indian airman Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman finally crossed the border from Pakistan to India around 8:50pm local time (10:50 a.m. ET), ending his detention in Pakistani custody.

A statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the pilot was "treated with dignity and in line with international law" while in detention.

In a solemn handover, military personnel walked alongside Varthaman as he walked towards the Wagah border. After finally crossing the border, he was quickly ushered away by Indian army officers.

Crowds of people gathered at the Indian side of the border on Friday afternoon awaiting his expected return. However, they were left waiting for hours to see the wing commander's release due to an unexplained delay.

His detention marked a significant escalation between the two nuclear-armed powers after Pakistan said its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets over the disputed border region of Kashmir. The skirmishes sparked the most serious crisis over the disputed border area in years.