Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Dying insurgency slowly resurrecting in Kashmir

A visit today by Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to Indian-administered Kashmir comes a day after militants killed eight troops in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar, the main city in the region. Singh, who was there along with Congress party Chief Sonia Gandhi to open a power project in Kishtwar, did not comment on the attack, however, security has been stepped up in Srinagar following the incident.
The attack marks a recent spike in military activity in the disputed territory between India and Pakistan, which has born witness to an insurgency since 1989. Over the weekend, two policemen were shot and killed by militants after India launched sustained mortar shelling of targets in Rawalakot, Pakistani-administered Kashmir, last week, killing a nine-year-old girl and injuring several others. Considering that similar skirmishes in this district back in January almost derailed the two neighbours' fragile peace negotiations, this increase in violence is extremely worrying and could be indicative of a slowly resurrecting insurgency that was at its peak in the 1990s.
Pakistan is blamed for fuelling the Islamist insurgency that erupted in 1989 and has claimed nearly 70,000 lives. Islamabad has denied directly sponsoring the insurgency but has admitted that its territory was used by militant groups who are battling India's control of Kashmir. Border skirmishes also broke out in 1998, lasting 11 weeks and claiming the lives of 1,200 soldiers.
Since the creation of separate India and Pakistan states in 1947 after independence from Britain, the issue of the Muslim-majority Kashmir has remained unsolved. The two countries have fought three wars, of which two have been over Kashmir. The tensions have remained ever since and have been especially fuelled since 1998 when both countries became nuclear states. Both India and Pakistan control part of Kashmir, but claim it in full.

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