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.
Pakistan attempted to restart bilateral dialogue process with India, while militant attacks against security forces continued in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Pakistani PM Khan and FM Qureshi renewed offers to resume dialogue – frozen since 2016 terror attacks in India’s Punjab province that New Delhi attributes to Pakistan-based militants Jaish-e-Mohammad (Jaish) – in letters sent to Indian counterparts 8 June; Pakistani official 20 June claimed Indian PM Modi and FM Jaishankar “responded positively”; Indian officials same day rejected Pakistani account, reporting Modi stressed importance of environment “free of terror” as condition to resume talks. In J&K, militant-related violence continued. In Pulwama district, security forces 7-14 June killed six alleged Jaish militants, including two police deserters, and 26 June killed suspected Lashkar-e-Tayyaba member while explosion killed two soldiers 17 June. In Anantang district, militants 12-18 June launched several attacks on security forces, leaving at least ten soldiers and four militants dead. Security forces 11 June gunned down two militants in Shopian district. Following May general elections and low turnout in J&K, former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti 19 June called for ceasefire and resumption of political dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir.
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.