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Washington (CNN) — Ice Outdoor Research Coralie Pantsaccording to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which released images of the encounter.

Two US F-22 stealth jets and two Canadian CF-18 fighters intercepted the nuclear-capable Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers after they entered Alaskan and Canadian Air Defense Identification Zones, which extend approximately 200 miles off Alaska’s western coast, NORAD said in a statement.

The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and never entered US or Canadian sovereign territory, the statement added.

This latest intercept comes at a complicated time in US-Russian relations.

On one hand, President Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants to improve relations with Moscow, but at the same time, the two countries have clashed over a wide range of geopolitical issues, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, election interference and the attempted poisoning of an alleged Russian spy in Britain.

It is also just the latest in a string of encounters between US and Russian military assets this year.Ice RVCA Womens Linear Crop Bikini Top Bikini TopICE Womens Skirt Suit Business Office Tailored Blazer Jacket 820

Russian bomber flights like the one that took place on Thursday are viewed by US military officials as part of Moscow’s effort to train its military for a potential crisis while simultaneously sending a message of strength to adversaries.

US officials say Russian bombers and jets have flown in the area several times a year for the last few years and have similarly been intercepted by US or Canadian jets operating as part of NORAD.

“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States. NORAD operators identified and intercepted the Russian aircraft flying near our nations,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander. “Whether responding to violators of restricted airspace domestically or identifying and intercepting foreign military aircraft, NORAD is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Thursday’s incident comes after NORAD identified two Russian maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare aircraft entering the same zone last week.Icebreaker 103096 Women's Shasta Pants, 27Inch WaistIcebreaker Meld Zone Hipkini Women& 39;s Ember, XL

“The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace west of mainland Alaska and at no time did the aircraft enter sovereign United States airspace,” NORAD said in a statement about that incident.

The most recent intercept involving Russian aircraft off the coast of Alaska took place in May when two US F-22s intercepted four Russian bombers and two Su-35 fighter jets that flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone.

In January, a US E-3 aircraft, two F-22 fighter jets and two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets similarly “positively identified” two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers entering the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone.

The US also conducts similar flights in international airspace near the Russian coast though at times, has accused Russian pilots of performing unsafe or unprofessional maneuvers during the encounters.

In June, a Russian jet intercepted a US aircraft flying Icebreaker Merino Aria Short Sleeve VNeck Shirt, Zealand Merino WoolIcebreaker Merino Descender Long Sleeve Zip Top, New Zealand Merino Woolin international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in just under three hours, according to the US 6th Fleet.

The second of the three interactions “was determined to be unsafe” due to the Russian aircraft “conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk,” the 6th fleet said in a statement at the time.

The Russian aircraft was armed and passed about 150 feet directly in front of the US plane, according to two US officials.

The Russian military disputed the US Navy’s characterization of the intercept as unsafe.

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By David Ehl

The dispute over Kashmir has poisoned relations between India and Pakistan since the two became independent countries in 1947. Here’s an overview of how tensions have grown more dangerous over the past seven decades.

Like so many conflicts around the world, the dispute over Kashmir began with independence from a colonial power. In 1947, the United Kingdom gave in to the struggle for freedom in its Indian colony and granted it independence. The retreating British left behind two states: the secular Indian Union and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Politics | 05.08.2019

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The partition of India in 1947 presented a problem to the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, located right along the two new states’ northern border.

Traditionally, the state was ruled by a Hindu maharaja (local ruler), but the majority of the population was Muslim. Hoping to be able to declare his territory independent, Maharaja Hari Singh initially did not join either India or Pakistan, both of which took an interest in this special social constellation in the Kashmir Valley.

To this day, India sees itself as a secular nation in which several religions coexist. This makes Jammu and Kashmir, the only province with a Muslim majority, an important part of India’s religious plurality.

At the time, Icebreaker Merino Women's Tech Lite Tank Cgoldnet Peak. Its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, envisioned Pakistan and India as separate Muslim and Hindu nations on the subcontinent. Until 1971, Bangladesh, which is located to the east of India, was part of Pakistan.

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While the maharaja hesitated to make Kashmir part of either country, in 1947, Pakistani guerrillas tried to bring the principality of Kashmir under their control. Hari Singh turned to New Delhi for help, and it didn’t take long for troops from India and Pakistan to face off.

The first war for Kashmir began in October 1947 and ended in January 1949 with the de facto division of the state along the so-called Line of Control (LoC), the unofficial border line still recognized today.

Back then, the UN sent an observer mission that is still on the ground today. Pakistan has controlled the northern special province of Gilgit-Baltistan and the sickle-shaped Azad Kashmir sub-region since 1949.

The Indian-held section became the federal state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1957, with special autonomous status allowing the state’s legislature to have a say in legislation covering all issues except defense, foreign affairs and communications.

The following decades were marked by an arms race on both sides. Icebreaker Women's Oasis Leggings, Cognac, LargeToday, India and Pakistan have an estimated 140 and 150 nuclear warheads respectively. Unlike Pakistan, India has explicitly ruled out a nuclear first strike.Icebreaker Women's Tech Lite SS Scoop Palm SliceICEGREY Women Wool Blends Coat Zipper up Trench Coats Long Jacket OutwearICEGREY Women's Super Comfy Stretch Denim Skinny Jeans bluee

Pakistan also spends huge amounts on its nuclear program as the country tries to make sure it won’t lag behind its neighbor in military terms.

In 1965, Pakistan once again used military force to try to change the borders, but lost to the Indian military. The neighbors clashed for a third time in 1971, but this time Kashmir was not at the center of the confrontation. Instead, it was the independence struggle in Bangladesh that precipitated the war. India, which supported the Bangladeshi independence fighters, once again defeated Pakistan.

A year later, India and Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement that underlines the importance of the LoC and commits to bilateral negotiations to clarify claims to the Kashmir region once and for all.

In 1984, the nations clashed again; this time over the India-controlled Siachen Glacier. And in 1999, both sides fought for control of military posts on the Indian side of the LoC. In 2003, India and Pakistan signed a new ceasefire — but it has been fragile since 2016.IClosam Women Open Front Cardigan 3 4 Sleeve Long Sleeve Cropped Bolero ShrugICollection Women's PlusSize Faux Leather Trim Corset and GString

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

An unprecedented danger?

On February 27, Pakistan’s military said that it had shot down two Indian fighter jets over disputed Kashmir. A Pakistani military spokesman said the jets were shot down after they’d entered Pakistani airspace. It is the first time in history that two nuclear-armed powers have conducted air strikes against each other.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

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The Pakistani military has released this image to show that Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistani territory for the first time since the countries went to war in 1971. India said the air strike was in response to a recent suicide attack on Indian troops based in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan said there were no casualties and that its airforce repelled India’s aircraft.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

No military solution

Some Indian civil society members believe New Delhi cannot exonerate itself from responsibility by accusing Islamabad of creating unrest in the Kashmir valley. A number of rights organizations demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government reduce the number of troops in Kashmir and let the people decide their fate.

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No end to the violence

On February 14, at least 41 Indian paramilitary police were killed in a suicide bombing near the capital of India-administered Kashmir. The Pakistan-based Jihadi group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, claimed responsibility. The attack, the worst on Indian troops since the insurgency in Kashmir began in 1989, spiked tensions and triggered fears of an armed confrontation between the two nuclear-armed powers.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

A bitter conflict

Since 1989, Muslim insurgents have been fighting Indian forces in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir – a region of 12 million people, about 70 percent of whom are Muslim. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

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India strikes down a militant rebellion

In October 2016, the Indian military has launched an offensive against armed rebels in Kashmir, surrounding at least 20 villages in Shopian district. New Delhi accused Islamabad of backing the militants, who cross over the Pakistani-Indian “Line of Control” and launch attacks on India’s paramilitary forces.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

Death of a Kashmiri separatist

The security situation in the Indian part of Kashmir deteriorated after the killing of Burhan Wani, a young separatist leader, in July 2016. Protests against Indian rule and clashes between separatists and soldiers have claimed hundreds of lives since then.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

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In September 2016, Islamist militants killed at least 17 Indian soldiers and wounded 30 in India-administered Kashmir. The Indian army said the rebels had infiltrated the Indian part of Kashmir from Pakistan, with initial investigations suggesting that the militants belonged to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group, which has been active in Kashmir for over a decade.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

Rights violations

Indian authorities banned a number of social media websites in Kashmir after video clips showing troops committing grave human rights violations went viral on the Internet. One such video that showed a Kashmiri protester tied to an Indian army jeep — apparently as a human shield — generated outrage on social media.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

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Those in favor of an independent Kashmir want Pakistan and India to step aside and let the Kashmiri people decide their future. “It is time India and Pakistan announce the timetable for withdrawal of their forces from the portions they control and hold an internationally supervised referendum,” Toqeer Gilani, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front in Pakistani Kashmir, told DW.

India-Pakistan rivalry: Kashmiris pay a high price

No chance for secession

But most Kashmir observers don’t see it happening in the near future. They say that while the Indian strategy to deal strictly with militants and separatists in Kashmir has partly worked out, sooner or later New Delhi will have to find a political solution to the crisis. Secession, they say, does not stand a chance.

The third neighbor China, which has a long border with Jammu and Kashmir, also plays a role in this conflict. In 1962, China occupied a part of India that borders Kashmir — and entered into an alliance with Pakistan. To this day, China and Pakistan trade via the newly constructed Karakoram Highway, which connects the countries via the western Kashmir region. As part of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, that corridor is being expanded.

This former gravel road is currently being developed into a multi-lane asphalt highway that can be used all year long. China is investing $57 billion (€51 billion) in Pakistani infrastructure and energy projects, more than in any other South Asian country. The economic alliance with its powerful neighbor has helped solidify Pakistan’s claims to the Himalayan foothills.

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The governments of neighboring states are no longer the only parties to the conflict in Kashmir, however. Using violence, militant groups have been trying to disrupt the status quo on both sides of the LoC since at least the 1980s. Their attacks have contributed to a deterioration of the security situation.

At least 45,000 people have been killed in terrorist attacks over the past 30 years. And the total number of deaths resulting from this conflict is at least 70,000, according to estimates by human rights organizations.