Two years ago this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government repealed the special autonomous status of India-administered Kashmir, stripping the region of its statehood and incorporating it into the country as a union territory.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.