Exchanges of fire along the Line of Control (LoC) left at least six civilians dead 11 and 13 May. India 1 May accused Pakistani soldiers of killing and mutilating two Indian soldiers as they patrolled LoC, Pakistan denied its forces responsible; Indian vice army chief next day said India would respond at “time and place of our choosing”. Tensions in Indian-administered Kashmir continued: security forces 2 May carried out large-scale anti-militancy operation; in villages of Sug and Tarkwangan, protesters threw stones at security forces. Anti-India protesters and security forces clashed in Srinagar 9 and 12 May, Shopian district 12 May and Pulwama town 15 May. In Kulgam district, militants 6 May killed policeman in ambush, three civilians also dead; suspected militants 7 May killed five police and two civilians as they ambushed bank van carrying cash. Authorities 1 May extended house arrest of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) leader and alleged mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks Hafiz Saeed. Hizbul Mujahideen head Zakir Musa 13 May quit insurgent group and declared support for al-Qaeda. India 8 May initiated proceedings against Pakistan at International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing it of violating Vienna Convention by denying consular access to alleged spy Kulbhushan Yadav, currently sentenced to death. ICJ 18 May ordered Pakistan to delay execution until India’s case is examined. Islamabad repeated accusation that India sponsors militant attacks in Balochistan (see Pakistan).
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.