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Inside Story

Kashmir: A never-ending cycle of violence?

As tensions between India and Pakistan flare up again, we examine the impact on attempts to resume formal peace talks.

Last Modified: 07 Aug 2013 12:38
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India has accused Pakistan's military of an attack on its army patrol along the disputed border of the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashimir region, in which five Indian soldiers were killed.

India's government says that gunmen dressed in Pakistani Army uniform attacked the Indian soldiers - an accusation that threatens to derail renewed efforts to resume peace talks. 

The Pakistani military routinely denies involvement in aggressive actions but  … nobody in India buys those denials ...  here in India there is public outrage over these killings. After all, such incidents are not common, shootings are common, but [the] killing of soldiers, especially killings of five soldiers is exceptionally rare.

Brahma Chellaney,  a professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research 

"We strongly condemn this unprovoked incident. The government of India has lodged strong protest with government of Pakistan through diplomatic channels. I assure you and the house that the army is fully ready to take all necessary steps to uphold the sanctity of LoC (Line of control)," India's defence minister A.K. Antony said.

The Line of Control, which divides the region between Pakistani and Indian administered areas, has been a flashpoint area for over 60 years now. Tensions in Kashmir have resulted in thousands of deaths.

More than a dozen armed rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989, demanding independence or a referendum on the future of Kashmir.

The last cross border clash between the two countries was in January 2013, when two Indian soldiers were killed and one of the bodies was mutilated.

Pakistan and India had been preparing to try to restart peace talks before this latest spate of violence.

In July, Pakistan's new government led by Nawaz Sharif proposed dates for talks to take place.

But New Delhi has not responded and says that the latest shooting has violated the ceasefire between the two countries.

Pakistan's foreign ministry dismissed the allegation as "baseless and unfounded" and said that Pakistan remained committed to the 2003 ceasefire in Kashmir.

So, is Pakistan really responsible for these attacks? What does it mean for the formal resumption of peace talks between the two countries and for the people of Kashmir?

To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Mike Hannah, is joined by guests: Naveed Ahmad, an investigative journalist; Brahma Chellaney, a professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research; and Victoria Schofield, an expert on Kashmir.

"This is a fairly regular pattern within India and Pakistan tragically. There would be a claim and there would be a counter claim but I think it is very important that we find out exactly what happened .... We really need to find out ... what was the nature of the ambush, who were these people who perpetrated the action and put that within [the] context of Pakistan's denials."

Victoria Schofield, an expert on Kashmir

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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