By Gujari Singh
Pakistan and India are continuing their verbal assault on each other concerning the so-called line of control (LOC), which is the disputed border between the two countries in Kashmir. The back and forth between the counties has played out on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly. “Pakistan regretted that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been deprived of their right to self-determination,” said Diyar Kahn, a counselor at Pakistan’s U.N. Mission. India’s Mayank Joshi, First Secretary to the Indian mission to the U.N., called Kahn’s comments, “unsolicited,” and “factually in-correct.” Both countries claim Kashmir in entirety and the dispute has continued for 60 years.
In the past months, fighting on the LOC has increased dramatically. In October, nine civilians were killed from continued shelling along the border. Relations between the two countries have also been strained since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled planned talks with Pakistan aimed at renewing dialogue between the two countries.
Military officers on both sides have increased action. The reason for this spike in aggression is not known, but there have been more than 1,000 mortars fired. One source says that Modi’s accusations aimed at Pakistan could be the cause of part of the aggression. Modi said in regards to Pakistan that it is “helping Islamist militants cross into its side (India) to keep alive a 25-year armed revolt in India’s only Muslim-majority state.”
Pakistan disputed this claim, however, and stated that it only provides moral and diplomatic support to Kashmir’s “rightful struggle to self-determination.” This aggressive exchange of ideas could be the stimulus that brought the current rise in aggression along the LOC.
When discussing the aggression south of Kashmir along the undisputed border of Pakistan and India, it cannot be separated from the dispute along the LOC. With the current rise in attacks along the LOC, there is speculation that the increased tension between the countries is creating aggression along the entire border of the two countries. On Nov. 2, 45 people were killed at the Wagah border crossing, which is the only land crossing between the two countries.
The U.S. government has raised its concern over the current violence on the LOC. Senior American Diplomat and U.S. Special Representative of Pakistan and Afghanistan Dan Feldman spoke at an Atlantic Council Forum about his worries. “I’ve personally raised these concerns with each side – and urged them to engage in dialogue to reduce tensions and end the violence.” Feldman also said that “there is no relationship more critical to Pakistan’s future than its relationship with its neighbor.”
With the increased international concern over this topic, the hope is that Pakistan and India will soon come to a resolution. While no certain agreement is on the horizon, the international community can take comfort that the two nations continue to communicate in forums such as the U.N. General Assembly.
Map of Kashmir region courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.