Text: Gina Ho
A terrorist bombing on 14 February saw 40 Indian troops killed in Pulwama, Kashmir, a disputed territory divided between India and Pakistan since 1948. Last week, tensions between India and Pakistan reached a new high, as Pakistan shot down an Indian jet and India retaliated with airstrikes.
Kashmir is home to terrorist organizations
‘The suicide bomber was only 22 years old; he was from the terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). With 200 kilos of explosives loaded onto his SUV, he crashed into a bus carrying 40 Indian soldiers. In the Indian army, you only get 10 to 15 days holidays every six months and these soldiers were going back to their families for their break. It is not the first time that JeM has been involved in attacks on the Indian army: in 2016, 17 Indian soldiers were killed by this terrorist cell in Kashmir as well.
India and Pakistan have been fighting over the Kashmir region since independence from the British in 1947. From what I know, there’s nothing special about that region, it’s just a piece of land off the Himalayas – it’s not like there are oil or coal reserves to claim. Most people there survive mainly on farming and some tourism. Perhaps the easiest way would be for the two countries to split the region in half, but things are not that simple. Kashmir is also home to terrorist organizations that kill innocent people, so it’s a lot more complicated.
There are other Islamic terrorist groups besides JeM based in Pakistan. Another example is Lashkar-e-Taiba, who were responsible for the open shootings in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed more than 170 people. The UN have addressed Pakistan in the past, urging them to take action against terrorist groups operating in the country, but deadly attacks are still happening. I think Pakistan really needs to make the effort to sort out its terrorist problem, otherwise the peace with India is only superficial.’