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Ceasefire continued to hold along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir), while insecurity persisted inside Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). India-Pakistan relations seemed to ease as details on backchannel talks emerged and both sides respected LoC ceasefire. After Islamabad 31 March announced resumption of trade ties with India, suspended since Aug 2019, Pakistan’s PM Khan 1 April backtracked and 4 April said there would be “no normalisation of relations with India until it reversed its illegal actions” in J&K. Media report 23 April indicated Pakistan expects India to take first step in creating “enabling environment” for dialogue, for example by releasing political prisoners, easing movement, or reducing military presence. United Arab Emirates (UAE) 14 April confirmed for first time their mediation role in Feb agreement in which India and Pakistan pledged to respect ceasefire along LoC. U.S. National Intelligence Council 7 April warned India and Pakistan may stumble into large-scale war neither side wants, “especially following a terrorist attack that the Indian government judges to be significant”. Inside J&K, attack on ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader 1 April killed one police officer. Security forces next day killed three militants in Pulwama district, including two allegedly involved in BJP leader attack. Anti-India protests erupted in response to operation, injuring at least four civilians. Militants 9 April shot dead soldier in Anantnag district. Security forces 11 April killed five militants in Anantnag and Shopian districts. Militants same day killed civilian in Budgam district. Police 13 April arrested two alleged militants and three alleged militant sympathisers in Kupwara district; authorities next day arrested alleged militant and three alleged sympathisers in Kulgram district, and alleged militant in Budgam district 24 April. Police 15-16 April arrested and fired female special police officer for “glorifying terrorism” and “obstructing” security operation in Kulgram district, and arrested teacher in Bandipora district for allegedly supporting Laskhar-e-Tayyaba group. J&K police chief Vijay Kumar early April advised journalists to avoid live media coverage of security operations against militants or protests; J&K’s press club responded that “any such attack on press freedom and journalism is highly distressful”.
Ceasefire held along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir) as rhetoric cooled between India and Pakistan; deadly violence continued in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad eased following Feb agreement to observe ceasefire along Kashmir’s LoC. Pakistan’s Army Chief Bajwa 18 March said Pakistan supported “peace process or meaningful dialogue” but cautioned that “our neighbour would have to create a conducive environment, particularly in Indian-occupied Kashmir”; Pakistan’s PM Khan previous day said “India would have to take the first step [to normalise ties]”. India’s PM Modi in message to Khan on Pakistan day 23 March said India desired “cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. For this an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative”. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commissioners 23-24 met in India’s capital New Delhi; first such meeting since India’s Aug 2019 actions in J&K. India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy 17 March told parliament of “instances of supply of weapons via drones from across the Pakistan border”; J&K’s police chief 20 March repeated allegation. Within J&K, clashes with security forces and militant attacks continued: Indian security forces 9 March killed alleged militant commander in Baramulla district; J&K police next day arrested four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants in Pampore district; security forces same day killed two militants in Anantnag district. Grenade attack on police post in Baramulla district 13 March injured two police officers. Security forces 14 March killed one militant in Shopian district; locals demonstrating against security operation 16 March clashed with police, leaving several injured. Attack on outskirts of regional capital Srinagar 25 March killed two paramilitary soldiers and injured two. Two militants and one soldier killed on 28 March in Shopian district. Grenade attack on police 28 March killed two civilians in Anantnag district; militant attack next day killed local official and his security guard in Baramulla. Militants 29 March killed policeman and councillor in Baramulla district.
India and Pakistan pledged to respect ceasefire agreement along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir); militant attacks continued in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). India and Pakistan’s directors general of military operations 25 Feb agreed to observe immediately all agreements and ceasefire along LoC; U.S. State Dept same day welcomed agreement, expressed support for direct India-Pakistan dialogue; Indian army northern commander 27 Feb said agreement would have no bearing on counter-terrorism operations in region. Earlier in month, Pakistan claimed Indian fire 2 Feb injured four, and India said Pakistani cross-LoC fire 3 Feb killed soldier in Rajouri district. Indian border forces 8 Feb claimed to have killed Pakistani intruder along international border in Jammu, 10 Feb said they killed another intruder near LoC. In briefing to foreign representatives visiting J&K, senior Indian army officials 18 Feb accused Islamabad of helping terrorists infiltrate across LoC by organising training camps; Pakistani FM 15 Feb said such “guided tours” are intended to divert international community’s attention away from India’s “egregious human rights violations”. Meanwhile, militant attacks continued at high intensity in J&K: militants 6 Feb injured paramilitary soldier in Chanapora area; son of Hindu restaurant owner 17 Feb shot and wounded in regional capital Srinagar, died 28 Feb. Encounter between militants and security forces 18-19 Feb killed one police in Budgam district. Security forces 19 Feb killed three militants in Shopian district; militants same day gunned down two police in Srinagar. In light of attacks, inspector general of Kashmir police 21 Feb directed an increase in security deployment at all vital locations in area. Security forces 24 Feb killed two militants in Anantnag district. Previously, police 13 Feb arrested militant allegedly responsible for killing three Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Kulgram district last year; security forces next day claimed to have foiled terrorist plot planned on anniversary of 2019 Pulwama attack which killed scores of Indian security personnel. J&K police chief same day disclosed arrests of two militant commanders on 6 and 13 Feb. High speed internet services, previously shut down on 4 Aug 2019, 5 Feb restored in J&K.
India-Pakistan tensions continued as both sides accused each other of supporting terrorism amid military clashes along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir). Cross-LOC incidents continued throughout month. India claimed Pakistani cross-LoC fire 1 and 11 Jan killed one soldier and injured a child; said Pakistani firing 19 Jan responsible for injuring four soldiers and three militants killed during incident; also alleged two Indian soldiers killed 21 and 24 Jan. Pakistan claimed Indian cross-LoC fire 14 Jan killed one soldier; 10 and 22 Jan injured three civilians. Earlier in month, Pakistani FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi 9 Jan rejected accusation made by Indian external affairs ministry that it held “farcical trials” of UN-designated individuals to avoid blacklisting by inter-govt agency Financial Action Task Force. U.S. State Department same day called on Pakistan to hold Laskhar-e-Jhangvi leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi “accountable for his involvement in terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks”; Lakhvi previous day sentenced to three concurrent five-year sentences for terrorism financing in Pakistan. Pakistan’s MFA 10 Jan expressed concern over India becoming chair of three key panels of UN Security Council including the Taliban sanctions and counter-terrorism committees, claimed that India is “state sponsor and perpetrator of terrorism” and “massive violator of human rights”. In Jammu and Kashmir, militant attacks continued: grenade attack 2 Jan injured at least six civilians in Pulwama district; militant attack on security forces 6 Jan injured two civilians when grenade missed intended target in regional capital Srinagar. Militant grenade attack 27 Jan killed one soldier and injured three in Kulgam district. Qureshi 22 Jan said “the onus lies on India” to reverse steps and improve situation in Kashmir. Earlier in month, after family members claimed that security forces 30 Dec killed three civilians who had no links to militancy and demanded investigation into incident, Kashmir’s police 1 Jan said three individuals had provided logistical support to militants. Police 10 Jan charged army captain with killing and branding three labourers as terrorists in Shopian district last July to claim reward money.
Military clashes persisted along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir), while tensions escalated in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) amid local elections. India 1 Dec claimed Pakistani cross-LoC fire killed oneborder security force officer. Pakistani military said Indian fire 9, 15, 23 and 30 Dec killed total of four soldiers. Pakistani MFA 18 Dec said Indian cross-LoC damaged two UN vehicles; India denied responsibility, UN same day said they were investigating. New Delhipolice 7 Dec arrested five suspected terrorists for alleged involvement in Pakistani attempt to link Kashmiri militant outfits with Sikh separatists. Pakistan’s armed forces 9 Dec reportedly on high alert following intelligence reports of India allegedly preparing an attack across LoC; Pakistan’s FM 18 Dec said that India plans “surgical strike against Pakistan”. In Indian-administered Kashmir, security forces 9 Dec killed two militants in Pulwama district; 13 Dec killed two militants and captured another in Poonch district, alleging theyhad infiltrated from Pakistan’s side of LoC to disrupt ongoing local elections which began 28 Nov. Militant attack on security forces 12 Dec killed two civilians in Baramulla district; 14 Dec attacked home of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former Hizbul Mujahideen militant Haji Parvez in regional capital Srinagar, killing one. J&K police 30 Dec announced death of three “terrorists” after 20-hour “encounter” with army on outskirts of Srinagar; families immediately protested outside police office, alleging all three were actually civilians. Opposition alliance accused govt of crackdown during local elections, which concluded 19 Dec with opposition alliance winning 112 of 280 seats. Notably, authorities 9 Dec placed former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti under house arrest for third time in two weeks; Mufti next day tweeted that armed forces were being used “to rig this election and favour a particular party”.In Anantnag district, police 10 Dec detained three journalists covering polls; militants 4 Dec also shot candidate. New Delhi 26 Dec arrested at least 75 Kashmiri political leaders and activists, placing them in “preventive detention” allegedly to pre-empt protests and violence.
Cross-border tensions escalated sharply amid deadly incidents along Line of Control (LoC) dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir, while insecurity persisted inside Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Violence along LoC rose between New Delhi and Islamabad, with India suffering highest military casualty toll since April. Pakistan military said Indian fire 13, 22 and 25 Nov killed one soldier and 17 civilians. In turn, Indian officials claimed several attacks: 8 Nov clash with three militants attempting to infiltrate Indian side of LoC in Kupwara district, killing four soldiers; 13 Nov clash along LoC, killing five soldiers and six civilians, and Pakistani shelling same day, injuring 19 civilians; 21 Nov said Pakistani firing killed one soldier, and cross-LoC Pakistani firing injured two civilians; 27 Nov claimed two soldiers killed by Pakistani cross-LoC firing. Meanwhile in J&K, security forces 1 Nov killed leader of Kashmir’s largest militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, on outskirts of regional capital Srinagar. In Pulwama district, militants 5 Nov killed one civilian and injured another in two separate attacks, and security forces next day killed two militants. Security forces 19 Nov killed four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants on highway leading to Srinagar; New Delhi 21 Nov lodged protest with Pakistan’s top diplomat, alleging four suspected JeM militants had infiltrated from Pakistan intending to carry out major terror attack. India 23 Nov claimed to have killed another intruder along international border, while militants 26 Nov killed two soldiers in Srinagar. Opposition alliance raised clampdown on its leaders and activists as authorities 25 Nov arrested Peoples Democratic Party youth wing leader on alleged terrorism charges. Pakistani FM Qureshi 14 Nov accused India of “financial and material sponsorship” of multiple Pakistani terrorist groups; Delhi next day rejected allegations. India 23 Nov shared file with UN Security Council members, alleging infiltration and attempted attacks by Pakistani militants in J&K; Pakistan’s UN ambassador next day responded by accusing India of sponsoring Pakistani terrorist groups. Organisation of Islamic Cooperation 28 Nov called on India to rescind 5 Aug actions that changed status of J&K; India next day rejected call. First District Development Council local election held 28 Nov.
Militant attacks and counter-insurgency operations inside Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continued at high intensity, while clashes persisted across Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir). Inside J&K, militants 5 Oct killed three paramilitary police officers in Pulwama district and two others in regional capital Srinagar; militants 6 Oct attacked a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Ganderbal district, killing security guard. Security forces same day killed three militants in Shopian district; in further operations police killed four militants in Kulgam and Pulwama districts 10 Oct, two in Srinagar 12 Oct and another in Anantnag district 17 Oct; security forces 26 Oct killed militant in Pulwama district, and two others in Bugdgam district the next day. Additional militant attacks injured police officer and civilian 17 Oct and paramilitary officer 18 Oct, both in Pulwama, and killed police officer in Anantnag district 19 Oct. Militants 29 Oct killed three BJP politicians in Kulgam. Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad continued over reciprocal allegations of cross-LoC fire and Pakistan’s intention to hold legislative elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly part of J&K, on 15 Nov; India accused Pakistan of cross-LoC fire that killed two soldiers and injured five others 1 Oct, killed army officer 5 Oct, and injured civilian and two border guards 10 Oct in two separate incidents that day. Pakistan claimed Indian fire was responsible for wounding two civilians 14 Oct. Authorities 13 Oct released former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti after over one year in detention under controversial Public Safety Act, which allows detention for up to two years without charges, trials or judicial review; following release, Mufti said Kashmiris need to take back what New Delhi had taken away “illegally and in an undemocratic manner”, referring to govt’s 5 Aug 2019 revocation of constitutional article 370; all mainstream J&K parties 15 Oct formed alliance calling for restoration of region’s special constitutional status. Opposition parties also protested 27 Oct notification allowing non-residents to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir for first time.