Tensions within Indian-administered Kashmir remained high as protestors demonstrated around Srinagar and Kashmir Valley against rising incidence of “braid-chopping” assaults on women by attackers who cut their hair off. Police reported over 100 such attacks in Sept; protesters accused security agencies of being behind attacks. Police 6 Oct imposed restrictions to stop protests and detained separatist leaders, but protestors took to streets and some reportedly attacked suspected “braid choppers”; state govt initiated investigation into attacks. As protests spread, state govt 12-13 Oct closed all educational institutions in Kashmir Valley; strikes and protests 13 Oct across state resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and police. During debate at university in London, former Indian intelligence chief Amarjit Singh Dulat 6 Oct acknowledged India had created a “mess” in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir since mid-2016. Indian army 2 Oct said it killed five militants attempting to cross Line of Control (LoC) into Indian-administered territory. One policeman killed after militants infiltrated camp at Srinagar airport disguised as soldiers 3 Oct; three militants also reportedly killed in attack, which was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad. Intermittent firing across LoC continued, including incident Pakistani army 24 Oct said killed two people; Indian army said Pakistani artillery 21 Oct killed army porter and injured girl, and 12 Oct reported deaths of army jawan and porter; exchange of fire on 18 Oct resulted in at least eight people wounded. Pakistan protested reported killing of six civilians in firing on 22 Sept.
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.