The Kashmir conflict dates back to 1947 when India and Pakistan gained independence from British colonial rule. Both countries claim the Himalayan region in its entirety. The dispute is blamed for causing two of their three wars and in 1999 again brought the nuclear-armed rivals to the brink of war. Both sides declared a cease-fire on the line of control in 2003. The cease-fire largely held until early August 2013 when skirmishes broke out over the killing of five Indian soldiers in a remote district of Kashmir. Pakistan denied allegations its forces were responsible. Officials in both countries accused each other of cease-fire violations since then, raising tensions that some worry could derail efforts to resume stalled wide-ranging peace talks.
According to the Indian Government, the numbers of infiltration attempts had doubled in 2013 in comparison to the corresponding period (1 Jan- 5 Aug) of 2012. There had also been 57 Cease Fire Violations as of 05 august 2013, which was 80% more than the violations during the same corresponding period in 2012. The Indian Army successfully eliminated 19 hardcore terrorists in the months of July and August along the Line of Control and in the hinterland in J&K. The effective counter infiltration grid on the Line of Control ensured that 17 infiltration bids were foiled in 2013.
In August 2013 members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfit in Pakistan, the group blamed for the 2008 commando-style raid on Mumbai that killed 166 people, told Reuters they were preparing to take the fight to India once again, this time across the region.
A ceasefire has been in force with Pakistan since the midnight of 25th November, 2003 along the international border (IB), Line of Control (LoC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). According to the US National Counter Terrorism Center [NCTC], in 2004 there were a total of 284 attacks in Kashmir that met the statutory criteria for significant terrorist incidents. In early 2005 India and Pakistan launched a landmark bus service across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, allowing families divided by the Line to be reunited for the first time in nearly 60 years.
October of 2005 brought increased tension and disaster to Kashmir. On 8 October, 2005 a massive earthquake rocked the region causing enormous devastation including the deaths of tens of thousands of Kashmiri residents and the displacement of even greater numbers of the populace. The humanitarian crisis that ensued provided both Pakistan and India reasons to soften their policies slightly in the region in order to allow displaced people greater movement through the “line of control” and the movement of aid personnel and equipment to remote areas.
On 29 October, 2005 a coordinated bombing attack by suspected Pakistani based terrorist group fighting Indian rule of Kashmir threatened to derail peace efforts. It was believed the bombing was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) possibly in conjunction with the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). While LET was banned by the Pakistani government, India has consistently accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye to their activities. The three bombings were conducted within 30 minutes of each other in Delhi, resulting in the deaths of more than 60 people and the wounding of 200 others. The attacks were meant to threaten peace attempts between Pakistani President Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Singh, however, the overwhelming destruction and need to bring aid to the earthquake stricken region overshadowed tensions caused by the bombing.
In June of 2006 President Musharraf of Pakistan announced a series of alternatives that could provide a solution to the Kashmir issue. His idea revolved loosely around the concept of a self-governance system for Kashmir with the inclusion of a period of joint management of the region by Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri’s. This announcement by Musharraf was received by India with slight annoyance because it was purveyed through media covered interview sessions with the Pakistani president rather than closed door meetings with Indian officials.
On July 11th, 2006, a series of bombings aboard passenger trains during commuting hours in Mumbai, India, threatened to further destabilize peace efforts in Kashmir between Pakistan and India. The coordinated bombings which cost the lives of more than 200 Indian civilians and the wounding of another 700, again brought to he surface Pakistan’s inability to control terrorist groups within its own territory. It was believed the attack was jointly conducted by LET and the SIMI.
On 5 December 2006, President Musharraf, in an interview with India's NDTV, said that Pakistan would withdraw troops and guarantee self-governance for Kashmiris if India accepted his peace proposals. The Indian Foreign Ministry responded by saying that it could agree as long as the borders were rendered "irrelevant." The response among was generally positive but cautious because India and Pakistan have been in negotiations on-and-off for years that have yet to come to a conclusion.
Since 2006, India and Pakistan have continued to take part in the Composite Dialogue process in an effort to maintain the peace process and strengthen bilateral relations. Following Pakistani elections in February 2008 the Indian Minister of External Affairs and the Indian Foreign Secretary met with their new counterparts to advance the Composite Dialogue talks, reaffirming a commitment to maintain the ceasefire along the Line-of-Control as well as increasing people-to-people connections through improving cross-border bus services. The July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008 increased tensions between India and Pakistan. Although Prime Minister Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani agreed to resume talks following the 2010 SAARC summit, India continued to insist that Pakistan must do its part to dismantle terror networks operating from its territory and prosecute those who had a hand in planning the Mumbai attacks.
India reported that there were 93 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control Sector in J&K in 2012. This includes violations in the Uri, Poonch and Rajouri Sectors. One Indian soldier was killed and six were injured in cross LoC firing in the year 2012. In 2012, Indian sources continued to attribute violence and deaths in Jammu and Kashmir to transnational terrorist groups it alleges are backed by Pakistan. India and Pakistan attempted to decrease tensions in their bilateral relationship by increasing official dialogue between their two governments, lessening trade restrictions, and relaxing some visa requirements in 2012. Continued allegations of violations of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan (the border along Jammu and Kashmir), however, and Indian concerns about Pakistani-based terrorist groups remained impediments to normalizing relations.
The January 2013 clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbors were the worst outbreak of violence in Kashmir since a cease-fire took effect in 2003. India accused Pakistani troops of killing two Indian soldiers in a cross-border attack. Indian officials said the bodies of the two soldiers were subject to "barbaric and inhuman mutilation," and that one of them was beheaded. Pakistan claimed Indian troops crossed the border and raided a Pakistani military post, killing a Pakistani soldier. Pakistan's military said a Pakistani soldier was killed by "unprovoked firing" on a Pakistani military post in the Hotspring sector. A military spokesman said the attack was the 10th ceasefire violation by India so far this year.
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