Over the decades, Pakistan's civlian leaders have sought a political resolution of the Kashmir problem, while Pakistan's military leaders have sought to resolve matters by the force of arms. By 2016 Pakistan's sivlian government had lost control of security policy, whch was firmly in the hands of the military. The militant uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown since 1989 killed nearly 70,000 people. Many Kashmiri favor independence from both India and Pakistan.
The Coalition of Civil Society, a local human rights group, reported and drew attention to thousands of mass graves in remote parts of Kashmir and demanded that the government investigate them to make clear who the dead were and how they were killed. The organization also wrote scathing reports on cases of brutality involving some of the hundreds of thousands of Indian troops in the region and highlighted the widespread powers granted to troops posted in the area, which led to a culture of impunity and widespread rights abuses. The Public Safety Act, which applies only in Jammu and Kashmir, permits state authorities to detain persons without charge or judicial review for up to two years without visitation from family members. Police in Jammu and Kashmir allegedly routinely employed arbitrary detention and denied detainees access to lawyers and medical attention.
The troubled Himalayan region was hit by some of the most serious anti-India protests in recent years. On 08 July 2016 the popular 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen guerrilla leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, who had evaded capture for six years, died fighting Indian troops. The killing of the popular rebel leader triggered protests that left more than 80 people dead and thousands wounded, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotgun pellets to quell the demonstrations.
Terrorist attacks on India were launched at Poonch and Uri on 11 and 18th of September respectively. Almost 20 Pakistani infiltration attempts had been foiled by the Indian army successfully during 2016. Jaish –e- Mohammed masterminded the heavily armed group which attacked the Pathankot Indian Air Force Station on 02 January 2016, killing six Indian security personnel. Pakistani troops along Line of Control (LoC) resorted to unprovoked firing and mortar shelling at various places in Poonch district from time to time since 14 August 2016. Seven militants and a cop were killed in three separate encounters in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district 11 September 2016 while two different gunfights also broke out in Poonch district of Jammu region. The Indian Army claimed to have foiled three infiltration bids. India's Uri Brigade was attacked by four Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen on September 18, leaving 19 soldiers dead and 24 injured. The Uri attack came as 10 Dogra Regiment was in the process of moving out with the 6th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment replacing it.
India’s army launched “surgical strikes" 29 September 2016 against suspected militants along the border with Pakistan, while Islamabad rejected the claim, calling it an incident of cross-border firing. The strikes came after an earlier militant attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers and which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said would not go unpunished. India’s Director General of Military Operations, Ranbir Singh, told a news conference that the strikes were carried out to thwart terrorist teams positioned on launch pads along the disputed Kashmir border. He said that significant casualties were caused to “these terrorists and those who try to support them".
On September 27, 2016 India conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal that "increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Member States by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016." Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka pulled out of the SAARC summit. Afghanistan and Bangladesh also blame Pakistan for supporting terror groups. Host country Pakistan itself postponed the summit, in wake of heightened tensions with India.
Under the 1960 World Bank-mediated Indus Waters Treaty [IWT] between India and Pakistan, Pakistan received exclusive use of waters from the Indus and its westward flowing tributaries, the Jhelum and Chenab, while the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers were allocated for India’s use. "Blood and water can't flow at the same time," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 26 September 2016 during a meeting to review the Indus Water treaty. It was decided that India will "exploit to the maximum" the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water-sharing pact.
Pakistan’s powerful military, is not interested in better relations with India. Real peace would mean an end to the army’s elite status as saviors of the country and possible reductions in its substantial economic power. In twenty years of fighting, Kashmir lost seventy to eighty thousand people, and politically achieved nothing.
At least nine Pakistani and eight Indian civilians had been killed by cross-border shelling in Kashmir during the first week of October 2014, in the heaviest fighting between the two countries in a decade. There had been intermittent exchanges of fire across the LOC since 2008, but none as serious as these. Over 30,000 people on both sides fled their homes. Dismissing war as an option, Pakistan on 10 October 2014 called for immediate diffusion of tensions. "Both countries are aware of each other's capabilities and war was not an option, Pakistan clarified.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 10 October 2014 Pakistan has been taught a "befitting lesson" with the Army "shutting their mouth" after guns fell silent along the International border and Line of Control in Kashmir after nine days of heavy exchange of mortar shelling and gunfire. Defense Minister Arun Jaitley warned Pakistan that India will make the cost of its “adventurism….unaffordable," while Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he wants Pakistan to understand “the reality that times have changed in India."
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.
Pakistan had worked to impart Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) a semblance of self-governance and held elections there in 2015. Indian government, however, described the elections as an attempt to "camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation" of the regions which were an integral part of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi by referring to Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan in his August 2016 Independence Day speech sought to rid India of its seeming diffidence in dealing with the Kashmir issue. His decision to raise the stakes on Kashmir by highlighting Pakistan's own failings in G-B and Balochistan was well received in India's strategic community. PM Modi's comments about goodwill for India in Balochistan and G-B, which were not backed by any substantive outreach to Kashmir, followed a slew of provocative remarks from Pakistan, not least the one by its high commissioner Abdul Basit dedicating Pakistan's Independence Day to freedom of Kashmiris. Of particular significance was Modi's reference to Balochistan as India is now effectively speaking Pakistan's language in suggesting at least moral and political support for Baloch separatistsm.
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