Kashmir border skirmishes raise India-Pakistan tensions
Pakistani forces allegedly shelled an Indian military post Wednesday, prompting renewed emphasis on peace talks.
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The violence along the border only heightens the tensions between the two countries that were sparked by the string of bomb attacks in India on Saturday, which left at least 45 dead and 160 wounded, reports The Christian Science Monitor. Although a little-known group called the Indian Muhajideen claimed responsibility for the attacks, experts believe that Islamist insurgents in Pakistan and Bangladesh are to blame.Skip to next paragraph
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"The way in which the attack in Ahmedabad took place – the multiplicity of the bombs and the way in which they were coordinated – suggests a level of expertise not yet associated with any Indian group," says Uday Bhaskar, a security analyst and former director of New Delhi's Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses. "It is reasonable to say this group has benefited from external involvement," he adds.
Other observers say the "Indian Mujahideen" was coined to cover the involvement of Pakistani groups, although few here doubt that Indian Muslims are involved at some level....
Many believe that Islamabad retains links to militant groups, although the degree to which it remains operationally in control is unclear, especially at a time when Pakistan itself is suffering from an upsurge of Islamic militancy. Pakistan, meanwhile, denies backing any Islamic militants, including those operating in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir.
Agence France-Presse reports that the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers will discuss the rising tensions during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meetings this weekend in Sri Lanka. Although neither government has commented on the subject of the talks, experts believe that both sides are looking to calm the rising tensions between them.
"I think the effort of both sides will be to see that even if there is no breakthrough, there is no break-off," said analyst C. Uday Bhaskar, former head of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses think-tank in New Delhi.
Retired Indian diplomat Kanwal Sibal also said that "both countries will aim to keep the dialogue process alive."
"The level of trust that had been slowly built up over the past four years has been affected," Sibal said. "This in turn will affect the content of the dialogue process."
But Reuters reports that the meetings may be somewhat confrontational, citing an Indian source who says that Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian foreign minister, will send a "strong message" to his counterpart that Pakistan needs to do more to rein in anti-Indian insurgents based within Pakistan's borders.