Militants in Indian-administered Kashmir have increased the targeted killing of Hindus, who are a small minority in the region, spreading panic among them. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Praveen Donthi draws upon interviews with residents to explore the implications of this violence.
India and Pakistan continued mutual reproaches, while security operations and militant attacks persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Tensions persisted between New Delhi and Islamabad. After Pakistan’s foreign ministry late Oct protested Indian defence minister’s remarks that “the mission will complete only when Gilgit Baltistan and areas of [Pakistan-administered Kashmir] reunite with India”, Indian PM Narenda Modi 18 Nov said “it is well known that [militant] organisations get money through several sources”, including “state support”. India’s home ministry 8 Nov reported 73 cross-border infiltration attempts in 2021, lowest in five years, and stated ongoing militancy in J&K “is linked with infiltration of [militants] from across the border”. Indian security forces 9 Nov claimed to have shot down drone entering from Pakistan into Punjab’s Ferozepur district.
Security operations and militant attacks continued in J&K despite onset of winter. Security forces continued operations: 1 Nov killed three Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Pulwama district; 3 Nov killed three militants trying to infiltrate border in Poonch district; 11 Nov killed Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad militant in Shopian district; 15 Nov arrested four alleged members of armed group The Resistance Front in Srinagar city; 19 Nov killed alleged Pakistani militant infiltrating border in Rajouri district, Jammu region; alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant was 19 Nov shot dead in police custody in Anantnag district in unclear circumstances, in second such incident since Oct. Militants 3 Nov shot two non-local labourers in Anantnag district; militant fired on two non-local labourers in Anantnag district. India’s northern command chief 22 Nov claimed “82 Pakistani and 53 local terrorists are active” in region, alongside 170 additional unidentified insurgents.
In other important developments. The Resistance Front 13 Nov threatened 21 journalists working for Kashmir’s prominent local English language newspapers and news agency, accusing them of siding with India; at least six journalists shortly afterward announced resignations.
Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.
As the decades-old conflict continues in Kashmir, with incidents occurring every week, dangerous tensions make future violence possible. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to push for India and Pakistan to rebuild mutual respect and peaceful relations by resuming formal bilateral ties and re-engaging with Kashmiri political leaders.
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.
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.
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.
Even if India and Pakistan appear willing to allow more interaction across the Line of Control (LOC) that separates the parts of Kashmir they administer, any Kashmir-based dialogue will fail if they do not put its inhabitants first.
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.
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