It’s been almost seven years since the Mumbai attacks — seven years without improved relations between Pakistan and India, and no end in sight. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has at least publicly announced a visit to Pakistan, though, something his predecessor never managed to do. Repairing ties with Pakistan has not been a high priority for Modi, who reaches out to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when regional leaders gather. To remain aloof during these events would frost relations more than Modi would like, and New Delhi gets annoyed when outsiders – especially Washington – worry that ties between India and Pakistan may be spiralling downward. So there are photo opportunities and telephone calls, carefully choreographed so as not to seem too bilateral, after which not much happens, except firing across the Kashmir divide.
The ceasefire across the Line of Control, arranged a year after the Twin Peaks crisis sparked by the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, is long gone. Whatever was left of the ceasefire eroded badly in late 2012. Modi and other senior Indian officials have warned that firing on Indian soldiers and civilians would be returned many times over. This deterrent message hasn’t stopped the firing, which now approximates pre-Twin Peaks levels.
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