Indian Railways on Friday (March 26) will no longer allow Indian passengers to use its trains to travel from the border state of Punjab to the capital New Delhi and vice versa, in an apparent retaliatory move against Pakistan for a string of military incursions in the region.
India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, said Friday that the decision was taken after a meeting of the three nations’ top military commanders.
Pakistan’s military, which has conducted a series of cross-border incursions into Indian-controlled Kashmir and claimed to be defending the territory, had called the move a “violation of Indian sovereignty.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said that his country would take steps to retaliate against the India-Pakistan border dispute, which also includes Kashmir.
Sharif has been in office since 2011 and has overseen a decade of relatively peaceful economic growth in the volatile region.
Last year, Pakistan began the process of cutting off its military’s train service from Indian territory after the Indian government said the move would hurt the country’s relations with its biggest trading partner.
The move prompted India to send its troops to the region to maintain the border.
Last month, India said that it would suspend the military’s services on the Line of Control, a key chokepoint on the 2,500-kilometer (1,800-mile) border between India and Pakistan.