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Cosmopolitan Commentary: New tensions in Kashmir

Tensions between Pakistan and India, nuclear-armed neighbors, have been on the rise in the last few months. But this nuclear-armed fight between the two countries is nothing new; after gaining independence from Britain, the Indian Independence Act was an act that made Kashmir, a northern province in the region, become either part of India or Pakistan. Initially, in 1947, the local ruler of Kashmir chose India which prompted a two-year war between India and Pakistan.

However, the story did not end there, as another war followed years later in 1965, and another one in 1999 when India fought a conflict with Pakistan-backed forces. Even so, some people of this India-ruled land prefer to be governed by Pakistan.

Part of this want to be governed by Pakistan spawns from religious aspects; 60% of Kashmir’s population is Muslim which makes it the only state in which Muslims are the majority in India. There have also been high unemployment rates and many complaints regarding human rights.

Despite the many hostilities between the two countries, India and Pakistan decided to halt their fighting in 2003 after years of bloodshed along the border known as the Line of Control. But then in 2014, a new Indian government came into place which said they wanted to have a tough line on Pakistan while still trying to keep the peace.

This peace was attempted to be kept through gestures such as the prime minister of Pakistan attending the swearing-in ceremony of a new Indian government official. However, shortly after, India blamed Pakistani groups for an attack on their airbase.

This prompted tensions to rise once again between the two powers. Violent attacks followed in Kashmir in 2016 which shut down hopes for lasting peace in the area. As time went on, more attacks have occurred which the two countries have blamed on one another, such as the death of 40 Indian soldiers on the 14th of February in a suicide attack. After the bombing, India said it would take all possible diplomatic steps to isolate Pakistan from the international community. Air strikes and raids then started in an attempt to continue to protect their country.

However, something I find interesting is that this conflict has not brought any other countries into it. Any time lives are lost, usually the world turns their attention to it which is why I find it odd how their long conflict has only been confined to the two nations.

Overall, I think there needs to be new policies implemented to alleviate tensions. Policies require a conversation to take place which needs to be spearheaded by the governments. But most of all, there needs to be accountability for the innocent lives that have been lost.