*Authors note: Short update today with the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States*
Following completion of the Line of Control fencing (LoC) in 2004, hostilities and tension between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region decreased markedly. Now, in autumn of 2016 the strain has rebounded. Relations between the two powers are souring, in great part because of the situation in the disputed northern region. The LoC, long hoped to be a permanent solution to the Kashmir Issue, is in near-imminent danger of breaking down as tensions escalate.
Shelling and gunfire around the de facto border flared up on Wednesday. According to Pakistan, Indian forces fired on a bus traveling on Pakistan’s side of the LoC causing the deaths of nine passengers. Pakistani authorities also claim that Indian military forces were responsible for killing three Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan’s military retaliated, resulting in the deaths of seven Indian troops.
On Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif argued that India has “failed to comprehend the gravity of the situation.” Both nations have summoned diplomatic representatives of the other to register formal complaints about the latest bout of ceasefire violations.
Kashmir is historically a very volatile flashpoint. India and Pakistan have fought major wars over the region in 1947 and 1965. The smaller Kargil conflict was fought between May and July of 1999. As both India and Pakistan now certified nuclear powers it’s in the best interests of Islamabad and New Delhi to stabilize conditions before they reach a point where escalation becomes imminent.
This situation will be discussed more next week.