Pakistan’s and India’s general directors of military operations 29 May agreed to restore ceasefire after speaking over hotline; move follows continued Cross-Line of Control (LoC) firing by Pakistani and Indian militaries since late April, which came despite protests by Pakistani foreign ministry in April and military chiefs speaking by hotline 29 April. At least four Pakistani civilians, four Indian civilians and one Indian soldier reportedly killed in cross-LoC fighting 17-18 May, with Pakistani officials reporting that three of the victims were children; seven killed 23 May – five civilians on Indian side, one civilian and one soldier on Pakistani side – on sixth consecutive day of cross-border shelling. Pakistan 22 May raised Kashmir issue at UN Security Council. Unrest continued in Indian-administered Kashmir. Indian police 5 May claimed to have killed three separatist militants in Srinagar, sparking protests in which one civilian was killed by police vehicle. Security forces 6 May killed five alleged Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including commander Saddam Padder, in Shopian district, provoking another wave of protests; police fired on hundreds of stone-throwing demonstrators, killing five; another died later from injuries 8 May, sparking fresh clashes. India 16 May announced suspension of military operations for month of Ramadan, reserving right to retaliate, however clashes continued. Army 26 May killed five suspected militants during infiltration attempts across LoC. Separatist groups 19 May organised strikes in Srinagar to protest visit by Indian PM Modi; shops shut while govt cut mobile services, closed schools and universities, and instigated partial curfew. Modi inaugurated Kishanganga hydropower project in Gurez during visit; Pakistan claims project violates 1960 Indus Water Treaty.
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.
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.
More than five decades after independence, Pakistan is no closer to a resolution with India of the dispute over Kashmir.