This year has been marked by skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani forces over the countries’ disputed de facto border in Kashmir, as well as an upcoming change of government in Pakistan, each of which may slow down the long and difficult peace process between India and Pakistan. In an email interview, Sadika Hameed, a fellow in the Crisis, Conflict and Cooperation program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has researched cooperation in South Asia, discussed the state of the India-Pakistan peace process.
WPR: What is the current state of the India-Pakistan peace process, especially in light of skirmishes across Kashmir's de facto border earlier this year?
Sadika Hameed: Following the clashes in January across the Line of Control, which separates Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh initially said that there could no longer be “business as usual” for India-Pakistan relations. While then-ongoing efforts for the peace process were initially halted, the mid-January skirmishes were “de-escalated” after a great deal of diplomatic back-and forth, as well as talks between the Pakistani and Indian military commanders along the Line of Control, who have continued to speak on a cross-LOC hotline to maintain the cease-fire. Pakistan’s then-prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, made a “private” visit to India on March 9 and met with India’s external affairs minister. This visit was the first high-level meeting after the January skirmishes.