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Pakistan Cabinet Approves Trade Suspension, Train Service Stop With India Over Kashmir Row

Pakistan earlier paused diplomatic and trade ties with India, protesting against New Delhi's decision to cancel the autonomy of the Muslim-dominated Jammu and Kashmir - contested lands between the two neighbouring countries.

Pakistan's Federal Cabinet has formally approved suspension of trade with India, endorses Sheikh Rasheed’s decision to suspend Thar and Samjhota Express trains in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 that has led to the Kashmir crisis, a government source told Sputnik.

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad earlier stated that another train running to India would be given no way, with Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stressing that the decision was unilateral and that Islamabad made it without any consultations with New Delhi.

Previously, Pakistan put on hold diplomacy and trade with India, in a bid to show outrage over a decision to cancel the autonomy of the predominantly Muslim-populated Jammu and Kashmir, which is a disputed territory between the two countries. More specifically, Islamabad opted to close a major train service with Delhi amid tensions between the two countries that spiked severely as India revoked Article 370 of the constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian government said in a statement that it regrets Pakistan's decision to cut diplomatic ties, halt trade and urged Islamabad to reconsider the announced decision.

The Kashmir region, the southern part of which lies in India's Jammu and Kashmir state, has been a stumbling block in the two countries' bilateral relations since the two gained independence from Britain in 1947. However, tensions soared earlier this year, 16 years after the sides established a Line of Control (LoC) and reached a ceasefire in 2003. The tensions have been ongoing, as the two nationa claim the above-mentioned territory, albeit virtually controlling only parts of it.

In late February, according to New Delhi, a militant group based on the Pakistani side of the province of Kashmir attacked Indian security forces, killing several dozen people. India's air force conducted airstrikes on Pakistan in response to the assault, with clashes along the border showing no signs of ending.

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