February 17, 2005


A passage to India and Pakistan (BBC, 2/16/05)

The launch of the first bus service between Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir since partition is hugely significant.

The two parts of Kashmir have until recently been so rigidly divided that legitimate travel across the Line Of Control (LOC) that separates them has been impossible.

It is a divide that has been arguably more pronounced than the division of West and East Germany during the Cold War.

Land routes that connected the two regions when Kashmir was part of British India have become neglected.

There are no air links between Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Trade between the two regions has been almost non-existent over the past five decades, as have cultural exchanges, which have only recently begun to increase as relations between India and Pakistan grow warmer.

The only people who regularly succeed in crossing the LOC are militants fighting the Indian army. Delhi says they sneak across from bases located on the Pakistani side. [...]

It may not sound much on the face of things, but in Kashmir it is a landmark breakthrough between two nuclear armed countries that only a few years ago came close to all-out war.

Kashmir bus route to reopen (CNN, February 16, 2005)
In the midst of easing tensions, India and Pakistan are also discussing other confidence-building measures, including talks on a proposed gas pipeline between Iran and India via Pakistan and starting other rail and road links between the neighbors.

The negotiations are part of a slow but steady peace process initiated by leaders of India and Pakistan in January 2004.

it seems safe to say that al qaeda didn't envision this as one result of 9-11.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2005 3:42 PM

Five decades of enmity and isolation overcome in three years by Bushstupid. Only Tom Friedman could explain this satisfactorialy. Quick, someone give him a dinner invitation so he can get cracking before the obvious becomes rampant!

Posted by: Luciferous at February 17, 2005 4:35 PM

It is only a matter of time before this bus line becomes merely another way for Muslim terrorists trained by the Pakistani ISI and funded by Saudi Arabia use it as a conduit into India.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 10:17 AM