Is Pakistan still aiding Kashmir militants?
Separatist violence in Kashmir has fallen to its lowest level since an anti-India insurgency began nearly two decades ago.
Is Pakistan still aiding militants fighting Indian troops in Kashmir, despite Islamabad’s assurances and a slow-moving peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad?
Senior Indian security officials say Pakistan is still arming, training and sending militants to the disputed Kashmir region, making it difficult to end violence in the war-weary region.
“In this situation we should not expect that terrorism can be finished,” said Kuldeep Khuda, police chief of Jammu and Kashmir state – arguably the most difficult policing job in the country.
But Pakistan has consistently denied its involvement in abetting Kashmir militancy that has killed tens of thousands of people across the scenic region since 1989, has left nothing untouched and has brought untold misery to a once carefree society.
Kashmiri residents and local leaders, both pro-India and separatists, attribute the fall of violence involving troops and Muslim militants to the India-Pakistan peace process which started in early 2004 following a ceasefire between two armies on the highly militarised Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between the two.
But a sort of non-violent struggle in the form of near daily street protests could be potentially more challenging to New Delhi than militancy and could provide fertile ground for a new anti-India insurgency.
“A new phase of deadly militancy is most likely to hit Kashmir again. This is not to press the panic button but to understand the outcome of fresh geopolitics in South and West Asia,” Syed Tassadque Hussain wrote in the daily newspaper Rising Kashmir.
Is Kashmir headed toward renewed violence, even as Pakistan says it is cracking down on militant groups it has backed in the past to fight Indian troops in Kashmir?