The India-Pakistan Thaw Is on a Road to Nowhere

The India-Pakistan Thaw Is on a Road to Nowhere
Indian soldiers patrol along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Poonch, about 156 miles from Jammu, India, Dec. 18, 2020 (AP photo by Channi Anand).

Two years ago this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government repealed the special autonomous status of India-administered Kashmir, stripping the region of its statehood and incorporating it into the country as a union territory. The move was denounced by Pakistan, which also claims the disputed region. Bilateral relations—already tense from an escalation of military tensions earlier in 2019—plunged into deep crisis.

India-Pakistan ties remained deeply strained until February 2021, when the two rivals signed a cease-fire that pledged to end violence along the de facto border that divides India- and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The truce, which came as a major surprise to many observers, sparked hopes of a broader détente between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

The subsequent months saw some encouraging signs. Indian and Pakistani officials met to discuss sharing of the Indus river’s waters, and the two countries participated in a summit with other South Asian states about pandemic cooperation. Statements from senior Pakistani officials expressed support for regional peace, and New Delhi welcomed these conciliatory statements

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