Rebel incursions into Kashmir from Pakistan at all-time low
Summer has set in in scenic Kashmir, melting snow on the high Himalayan mountain passes and allowing easier movement of separatist militants from the Pakistani side.
Syed Atta Hasnain, General Officer Commanding of the Indian army’s Kashmir-based 15 Corps, recently said that for the first time infiltration has come down to zero in the last 20 years.
No militant has been able to sneak into the Kashmir Valley so far this year, local media reports. There were two failed infiltration bids near the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarised ceasefire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
But peace still remains a distant prospect in Kashmir, a region at the heart of decades of animosity between Pakistan and India, and more recently, the scene of massive street protests which erupted in the past three summers.
The Indian army built a three-metre high barbed wire fence along much of the 742-km (460-mile) LoC in 2003. But the fence failed to stop incursions.
Is the Pakistani government making efforts this time to stop infiltration and give peaceful resolution a chance?
Top diplomats of the two countries met last month and in their first formal talks on disputed Kashmir in two-and-a-half years, agreed to expand trade and travel across the ceasefire line dividing the region.
Families on both sides of Kashmir have been cut off from each other and old trade routes have been closed since the subcontinent’s partition in 1947.
But the fresh peace efforts are vulnerable to any attempts by militants to try and spark a war between India and Pakistan by launching big attacks in or outside Kashmir.
The first five months of the year have been the most peaceful in Kashmir, compared to corresponding periods of the past two decades.
Will the LoC, one of the world’s most heavily militarised and volatile frontiers, witness increased travel and trade in the future or militant incursions and bloodshed?