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In the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the disputed territory of Kashmir last month, separatist rebels stepped up attacks against India with lethal bombing raids in New Delhi and a political assassination in Srinagar. Despite these attempts to derail the two-year old peace process between India and Pakistan, the rival countries are still intent on opening portions of the heavily fortified ceasefire line dividing Kashmir to facilitate aid to the victims and reunite families.

India and Pakistan have been embroiled in conflict over Kashmir since the subcontinent was partitioned at independence in 1947. Kashmir was the battleground for two of the three Indo-Pak wars, and in 1989 an insurgency was launched against Indian rule in the predominantly Muslim province of Jammu and Kashmir. War nearly erupted again in 2001 when militants stormed the parliament building in New Delhi. India has often accused Pakistan of sponsoring the insurgents who infiltrate the border from the Pakistan side.

The Oct. 8 earthquake killed close to 80,000 and has left more than 3 million homeless. Only a fraction of the aid pledged by the outside world has reached Kashmir and casualties could mount if victims don't get help quickly, especially as winter encroaches. At the same time, it seems apparent that the Kashmiri separatists will continue to put pressure on India. Keeping the peace process on track in the midst of such turmoil will pose a formidable challenge for both countries in the coming months.

From CIAO's database:

Pugwash Meeting on Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Pakistan Dialogue: The Prospects Ahead

Path to Kashmir Resolution will be Arduous, but Uneasy Truce Should Hold

The Kashmir Policy of the United States: A Study of the Perceptions, Conflicts and Dilemmas

Opening a Window in Kashmir

Outside Links*:

House of Commons Research Paper: Kashmir

Flashpoint: Kashmir (Counsel on Foreign Relations)

Behind the Kashmir Conflict (Human Rights Watch)

The Political Economy of the Kashmir Conflict (US Institute of Peace)

Kashmir Virtual Library

* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine [].