Pakistan 6 March claimed to have shot down Indian spy drone which it said was crossing Line of Control (LoC); next day Pakistani and Indian border security forces shelling killed five people on both sides of LoC. Indian security forces reported several clashes with militants in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, including: 12 March clash in Anantnag district in which India said its forces killed three militants; 16 March gunfight in Srinagar in which two suspected militants were killed; clashes 20-22 March during cordon-and-search operation in Kupwara district, during which five security personnel and five reported Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) militants were killed; and clash 25 March in Budgam district in which one LeT militant was killed and a girl injured. Pakistan 10 March lodged formal protest with India over alleged harassment of New Delhi-based Pakistani diplomats and their families in series of incidents which began 7 March, and accused Indian authorities of complicity; Pakistan 15 March said it had recalled its high commissioner to India for “consultations” over alleged harassment of Pakistani diplomats and families by Indian security agencies, returning 22 March. Amid broader push against terror financing and money laundering by Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa authorities mid-March seized assets and closed properties belonging to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (charity front of radical group anti-India Lashkar-e-Tayyaba) (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.