Friday, July 30, 2004

New Tension Emerge in India-Pakistan Peace Efforts

Seven months after India and Pakistan began a peace effort, signs of strain are emerging.

Pakistani officials are expressing growing frustration over the failure of the two countries to engage in a detailed discussion of Kashmir, the disputed territory over which the nuclear-armed neighbors nearly fought a third war in 2002.

Indian officials, saying the process should not be rushed, accuse Pakistan of failing to dismantle militants' camps and charge that the infiltration of Pakistani-backed militants into the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir has resumed in recent weeks. American diplomats, who also called for the dismantling of training camps earlier this month, say they continue to back the peace efforts strongly. A peace agreement between India and Pakistan is considered vital to stabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan, two major fronts in the American-led effort to curb terrorism.

The dispute over the majority Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir, a small but staggeringly beautiful Himalayan territory that India and Pakistan claim, is one of the most stubborn in the world, rivaling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its passions, suspicions and deadlock.

When India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947, Kashmir's Hindu maharaja acceded to majority Hindu India. Majority Muslim Pakistan, maintaining that Kashmir belonged to it, has demanded that Kashmiris be allowed to vote for independence or to join India or Pakistan.

The nuclear armed rivals have fought two wars over Kashmir, with the first leaving the territory divided between them. Since 1989 Pakistan has covertly backed a separatist insurgency by Islamic militants against India, which has killed between 40,000 and 80,000 people.

Some of the oveview about the conflict of the Kashmir also can get from the BBC.

(courtesy to New York Times)