One year ago, India rescinded constitutional provisions giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed territory also claimed by Pakistan. Kashmiri militancy is growing, often with Pakistani encouragement. Allies should urge New Delhi to relax its clampdown and Islamabad to stop backing jihadist proxies.
COVID-19 crisis continued to grip country as Maoist violence persisted in centre and west, and tens of thousands of farmers marked six months of protest movement. Country continued to reel under COVID-19 crisis as official tallies surpassed 300,000 deaths and 25mn cases, with unofficial cases and mortality rate possibly reaching far greater numbers; hundreds of corpses mid-month were spotted floating in river Ganges and washing up on embankments in various northern states. Maoist violence persisted. In Chhattisgarh state (centre), Maoists 11 May killed police constable in Sukma district, and next day killed civilian suspected of being police informer in Narayanpur district; IED 18 May killed police head constable in Bijapur district. Police 14 May killed Maoist in Dantewada district; exchanges of fire between police and Maoists 17 May killed three suspected Maoists in Sukma district; police 22 and 31 May killed Maoist in Dantewada district. In Maharashtra state (west), security forces 13 May killed two Maoists and 21 May killed 13 Maoists in Gadchiroli district. Ahead of six-month anniversary of farmer protests on 26 May, leaders of protest movement 21 May called on PM Modi to resume talks on their key demands, threatening intensification of protests if govt declines to engage; tens of thousands of farmers 26 May demonstrated across country. At border dispute with China, reports 10 May surfaced that China had equipped troops on Indian border with modified truck-mounted rocket, affording military greater mobility and flexibility. Indian army chief general 20 May said India will continue enhanced troop presence along border until de-escalation takes place and denied that talks with Beijing had reached impasse, saying trust had increased following disengagement deal in Feb.
Their recent dialogue process provides the best chance yet for bilateral peace and regional stability, but Pakistan and India must still overcome serious mistrust among hardliners in their security elites.
India needs to push Sri Lanka harder towards steps that will avert a return to violent conflict on the island.
When the third round of the normalisation talks concludes in July 2006, India and Pakistan will be no closer than when they began the process in February 2004 to resolving differences, including over Kashmir.
The agreement between Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, and India's new prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to continue talks on all contentious issues including Kashmir has inspired optimism about reduced tensions in South Asia.
For half a century Kashmir has been the major issue of contention between India and Pakistan.
Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years.
A 14 February suicide attack by Pakistan-based militants was their bloodiest strike in Indian-administered Kashmir in over three decades. In this Q&A, our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller warns that even a limited Indian retaliatory strike could spark a sharp escalation in conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Originally published in Política Exterior
Originally published in The Hindu