Relations between India and Pakistan worsened in 2016.
This worries world leaders. The South Asian neighbors have fought several wars and each has nuclear weapons.
The two countries had better relations a year ago. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised many observers when he went to the wedding of the granddaughter of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last December. Many hoped the visit would improve relations that had been tense for months.
But in January, Kashmiri militants attacked an Indian air base in Pathankot, 50 kilometers from the Pakistani border. The attack damaged relations between Pakistan and India.
In July, Indian troops shot and killed Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri separatist leader. People protested his killing for months. Indian troops and protesters fought. Many people, including security forces, died.
Pakistan strongly supports those who are fighting for Kashmiri independence from India. Pakistani leaders worked in international meetings to bring attention to reported human rights violations in the area. The Modi administration then protested reported human rights violations by Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan province. Indian leaders had never done that before. Tensions worsened further.
In September, four gunmen attacked an Indian military base in Uri, in Kashmir. Eighteen Indian soldiers were killed. India blamed the attack on militant groups based in Pakistan.
Modi said he would try to isolate Pakistan internationally.
The same week, Sharif strongly criticized India in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
“This indigenous uprising of the Kashmiris had been met, as usual, with brutal repression by India’s occupation force of over half a million soldiers.”
India reacted sharply to the speech. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj suggested that Pakistan is a supporter and exporter of terrorism.
Soon, India said it had carried out attacks against militants on the Pakistani side of the Kashmiri border. Pakistan rejected the claim. But it warned that it would consider any such attacks acts of war.
Continued fighting along the so-called Line of Control has killed many people, most of them civilians. The line is unofficially considered the border in Kashmir.
Pakistan’s army trained near the Indian border. Then, India persuaded some countries not to attend a meeting of nations planned for Islamabad. Pakistan was forced to cancel the meeting.
The two countries continue to attack one another, but many observers hope relations will improve in 2017.
I’m Jill Robbins.
VOA Correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem reported this story from Islamabad. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
isolate – v. to put or keep (someone or something) in a place or situation that is separate from others
indigenous – adj. produced, living or existing naturally in a particular region or environment