NEW DELHI Aug 6,(Reuters)- Five Indian soldiers were killed on Tuesday in an ambush by militants and Pakistani soldiers along the disputed border with Pakistan in Kashmir, Indian officials said. Pakistan dismissed the accusation as “baseless” and said it was committed to the 2003 ceasefire agreement.
Here is a look at some highs and lows in relations between India and Pakistan.
1947 – Britain divides its Indian empire into secular but mainly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, triggering one of the greatest and bloodiest migrations of modern history.
1947/48 – India and Pakistan go to war over Kashmir. The war ends with a U.N.-ordered ceasefire and resolution seeking a plebiscite for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether to become part of India or Pakistan.
1965 – India and Pakistan fight their second war over Kashmir. Fighting ends after the United Nations calls for a ceasefire.
1971 – Pakistan and India go to war for a third time, this time over East Pakistan, which becomes independent Bangladesh.
1972 – Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sign agreement in Indian town of Simla over principles meant to govern relations.
1974 – India detonates its first nuclear device.
1989 – Separatist revolt starts in Indian Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of arming and sending Islamist militants into Indian Kashmir, which Pakistan denies.
1998 – India carries out nuclear tests. Pakistan responds with its own tests.
February 1999 – Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee holds summit with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore.
1999 – India and Pakistan wage brief conflict in the mountains above Kargil on the Line of Control, the ceasefire line dividing Jammu and Kashmir.
July 2001 – Summit between Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf and Vajpayee in Agra in India ends in failure.
December 2001 – Militants attack Indian parliament. India blames Pakistan-based Kashmiri separatist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad. One million troops are mobilised on either side of the border; war only averted months later in June 2002.
2003 – Pakistan, India agree ceasefire on the Line of Control.
2004 – The two countries launch a formal peace process.
November 2008 – Gunmen launch three days of multiple attacks in Mumbai, killing 166 people. India blames Pakistan-based militants and freezes talks with Pakistan.
February 2009 – India cautiously welcomes Pakistan’s probe into Mumbai attack. Pakistan admits the attack was launched and partly planned from Pakistan.
June 2009 – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari meet on the sidelines of an international gathering in Russia. Singh tells Zardari he wants him to ensure militants cannot operate from Pakistan.
July 2011 – Foreign ministers of India and Pakistan hold talks in New Delhi, hailing a “new era” in ties.
April 2012 – Zardari meets Singh in New Delhi in the highest-level meeting on each other’s soil in seven years.
November 2012 – India secretly hangs the lone survivor of the Pakistan-based militant squad responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
January 2013 – India accuses Pakistan of “barbaric and inhuman” behaviour after two Indian soldiers are killed in a firefight in Kashmir and at least one of the bodies is mutilated. Peace talks stall and Indian Prime Minister Singh says there can be no “business as usual”.
February 2013 – India hangs a Kashmiri man for the 2001 attack on its parliament that New Delhi blamed on militants backed by Pakistan.
May 2013 – Nawaz Sharif returns to power in Pakistan vowing to improve relations with India and ease decades of mistrust.
July 2013 – Pakistan proposes dates for resuming talks at a senior bureaucrat level on disputed water and territorial issues, possibly in August and September. Indian officials say they are also considering a proposal by Islamabad for Sharif and Singh to meet in New York in September, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
August 2013 – Defence Minister A.K. Antony says the number of infiltration attempts from the Pakistani side of Kashmir is double that reported in January-August 2012. There has also been an 80 percent increase in ceasefire violations over the same period.
(Reporting by Matthias Williams; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
India-Pakistan talks in jeopardy as Indian soldiers killed
(Recasts with details of attackers, adds protest)
By Fayaz Bukhari
Aug 6 (Reuters) – India said a group of militants from Pakistan killed five of its soldiers in an ambush along the disputed border in Kashmir on Tuesday, an accusation that threatens to derail efforts to resume peace talks.
Pakistan rejected the allegation, saying there had been no exchange of fire along the heavily militarised border in Kashmir, the cause of two of three wars between the nuclear rivals. It said it was committed to a decade-old ceasefire and wanted to restart talks.
But the attack, one of the worst since the 2003 truce along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Himalayan region, puts the Indian government under pressure to respond aggressively as it heads into a tough election next year.
While tit-for-tat attacks along the border are common, defence analysts said they did not expect the killings to trigger large-scale retaliation by India.
“It is in the interest of both of these nuclear-armed countries to ratchet this down,” said Harsh Pant, an expert on Indian foreign and security policy at King’s College London.
India summoned Pakistan’s deputy envoy to New Delhi and lodged a protest over the killings in the Poonch region of Kashmir, officials said.
“The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told parliament.
Earlier his ministry in a statement had directly accused the Pakistani army of launching the attack alongside militants, but it subsequently withdrew the allegation, which could have escalated tensions between the rivals.
Troops were on heightened alert along the 740-km (460-mile) Line of Control, according to an Indian army colonel in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.
The attack came just days after a botched attempt to bomb the Indian consulate in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, a country where India and Pakistan are competing for influence.
SOLDIERS WERE ON PATROL
Indian army sources said the latest attack took place in the early hours of Tuesday about 450 m (500 yards) inside Indian territory, where six soldiers were on patrol. One soldier was wounded.
“I assure the house that our army is fully ready to take all necessary steps to uphold the sanctity of the LoC,” Antony said.
The killings caused an uproar in parliament and a senior leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Yashwant Sinha, said the Indian army should give a “befitting reply” to Pakistan. He called on the government to abandon planned talks with Islamabad.
Dozens of BJP supporters protested outside Antony’s New Delhi residence and police used water cannons to disperse them.
India says Pakistan-based militants are trying to breach the Kashmir border in increasing numbers, reinforcing Indian fears that these groups are turning their focus to Kashmir as foreign troops begin to leave Afghanistan.
But the Pakistan Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations about the latest incident as baseless and said it hoped to begin talks soon. These were called off in January after two Indian soldiers were killed in a clash on the border. One of the bodies was mutilated, according to Indian officials.
“Pakistan is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India and looks forward to an early resumption of the dialogue process,” the ministry said in a statement.
Islamabad has also been pushing for a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – who made better ties with India a theme in his election campaign in May – and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September, Indian officials said.
“It would be fruitless at this point to negotiate with the PMLN (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz),” said K.C. Singh, a former Indian ambassador.
ATTACK AIMED AT SABOTAGING PEACE TALKS?
New Delhi has sought to engage Pakistan’s civilian leadership and support its peace initiatives while demanding that Pakistan’s powerful military cut ties to militant groups that have carried out attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai assaults which killed 166 people and which India blamed on Pakistan-based gunmen.
Both Hindu-majority India and Islamic Pakistan claim Kashmir, a Muslim-dominated region.
An Indian army officer in Kashmir said the raid in January in which two soldiers were killed was carried out by Pakistan’s Border Action Team. The unit includes members of Pakistan’s commando Special Services Group and irregular forces like Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group.
Army sources blamed the Border Action Team for Tuesday’s attack.
“It looks like part of a pattern of sabotage activities carried out by war lobbies, by people who are not interested in peace, who are not interested in the normalisation of talks,” said Imtiaz Gul, a prominent Pakistani security analyst.
A lasting peace between Pakistan and India, which have fought three wars since they were carved out of British colonial India in 1947, has long proved elusive.
Indian Defence Minister Antony said the number of infiltration attempts from the Pakistani side of Kashmir had doubled so far this year compared to January-August of 2012. (Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld and Maria Golovnina in Islamabad, Shyamantha Asokan, Anurag Kotoky, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Matthias Williams and Nigam Prusty in New Delhi; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Ross Colvin and Michael Roddy)Courtesy: Reuters