Indian and Pakistani Inter-Border Conflict in Kashmir

Refugees take shelter at a relief camp after fleeing their villages Refugees take shelter at a relief camp after fleeing their villages Channi Anand/ AP Photo

1 June 2018

Violence escalates in Kashmir, killing dozens and displacing thousands

The longstanding border war between India and Pakistan was reignited on May 18, when shelling began in the fiercely-contested Kashmir region. The shelling continued unabated for six days, and is only the most recent episode of violence in the long history of the region. Kashmir, which has been split between Indian and Palestinian control since 1947, was the epicenter of the fighting. The Kashmiri people have long been victims of the conflict between the two countries. Reports show that on the sixth day of fighting alone, six civilians and one combatant were killed during the intensified conflict. These casualties bring the death toll to 16 during this one-week period.  

Due to the worsening conditions, many of the Kashmiri people have fled the region fearing for their lives. A reported 80,000 people living in the border area have been forced out of their homes since the fighting escalated. While most have left out of fear, others have had their homes destroyed by mortars and have nowhere left to go. Many have sought refuge with family and friends in nearby villages. The suffering of the displaced people is exacerbated by the concurrence of this violence with the month of Ramadan, one of the most holy holidays in the Islamic religion. Displaced Muslims have been unable to properly celebrate, out of fear of attack, and from lack of food.

Violence in the region has steadily increased since September 2016, after a major attack on the Uri Military base in Kashmir left 17 Indian soldiers dead. The attackers were allegedly members of a Pakistani terror group, and the Pakistan government was accused of training and supplying these combatants. Indian troops escalated the conflict in response, despite Pakistan’s denial of any involvement. The situation continues to deteriorate. Over 150 civilians and combatants, both Indian and Pakistani, have been killed since the attack on Uri military base.

Recognizing that the ever-increasing levels of violence are becoming too taxing, Indian and Pakistani leadership have announced a united effort to reduce border clashes. Promising a return to the ceasefire agreement signed between the two countries in 2003, the Indian and Pakistani military leaders are hopeful that this renewed peacekeeping effort will increase cooperation between the feuding countries. Only time will tell if this renewed commitment to peaceful resolutions in Kashmir will hold.


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