It seems that a sickness has infected our borders. Almost everyday, there are reports of ceasefire violations which frequently result in the killings of civilians and soldiers. On Sunday, five of a family were killed and two injured in Pakistani firing in Mendhar area along the LoC in J&Ks Poonch district. Earlier, Pakistan has reported similar killings on its side by Indian firing. But far from taking steps to put an end to this madness, the two countries seem to be deriving a sadistic pleasure by bleeding each other. And going by the belligerent rhetoric emanating from the two capitals, things seem set to go on regardless.
The current cycle of ceasefire violation is going on amid heightened diplomatic tension between the two countries over alleged harassment of diplomats. Pakistan has temporarily recalled its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood in protest against the alleged harassment. What is more, it has decided to skip the upcoming WTO meet in New Delhi.
In Valley, militancy has made a dramatic return to the scene. Both local recruitment and the infiltration has raised the level of violence. The militancy, on the other hand, has been complemented by an overwhelming public support. The rising violence, in turn, has cast its long shadows on any Indo-Pak rapprochement, already hobbled by the lack of diplomatic contact between the estranged neighbours. The leaders of the two countries have now even given up the pretension of showing interest in the engagement thus abdicating their responsibility towards peace in the region. This has let the violence take the centre stage again.
The developments like these are deeply troubling and doesnt bode well for the near future. The escalating trend of the violent border exchanges have already unravelled the 2003 ceasefire agreement which had held strong for close to a decade. The calm borders had become an important factor in the normalization of the relations between the two countries, enabling New Delhi and Islamabad to start one of the most promising dialogue processes through 2003-2007 which by accounts of the top leaders of the two countries who were at the helm of it was close to a breakthrough on Kashmir. But with return of the border eruptions with a vengeance, and the attendant prospect of a major attack in Kashmir or mainland India, the situation is threatening to go back to square one. And if left unattended, the situation is likely to deteriorate and possibly lead to dangerous consequences. Hence the need for the two countries to reach out to each other and pull the situation back from the brink. With dialogue already suspended and tensions rising high, India and Pakistan can ill-afford to let the border skirmishes go on unchecked and escalate into a major conflict.
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