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Kashmir Will Keep India and Pakistan at Risk of Conflict Again in 2020

Dec 12, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Newly recruited Indian army soldiers from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) stand in formation during a passing out parade at JAKLI army headquarters in Srinagar on Dec. 7, 2019.

Newly recruited Indian army soldiers from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) stand in formation during a passing out parade at JAKLI army headquarters in Srinagar on Dec. 7, 2019. Seven decades on from partition, Kashmir continues to drive a wedge between India and Pakistan.

(TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Kashmir question will make the already-dim prospects for a de-escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan even more remote in 2020, raising the chances of conflict between the two South Asian powers. Tensions spiked in February, when, for the first time in nearly five decades, the longtime rivals carried out airstrikes against each other. The exchange began after India blamed a Pakistan-based group for a suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that month. Ratcheting tensions up even further, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government -- reelected in May -- revoked Jammu and Kashmir state's autonomy in August, prompting strong condemnation from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's government. Together, the developments will make for a fraught year for bilateral relations due to the dispute over Kashmir, where ongoing militant activity could trigger another military confrontation. Moreover, it will limit Modi's ambitions for the territory....

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