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Despite simmering tensions between India and Pakistan, cross-LoC trade and bus service via the Poonch-Rawalakot route will likely resume this week, according to Indian government officials. This comes after a series of goodwill by both arch-rivals last week. 

Both countries released prisoners and fishermen while the Indian government approved medical visas for Pakistani nationals in deserving cases. The Rawalakot-Poonch bus service which started in June 2006, after a hiatus of four months, will resume today.

Read more: China & Pakistan: Evolution of a Strategic Relationship that created CPEC…

The trade and bus service are seen as part of a few Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in an otherwise adversarial relationship. Despite the willingness to continue the trade of goods and the two-way travel, both countries have resorted to exchanging of fires and recriminations across the LoC. Trade and travel were stopped on 11th July when cross-LoC shelling heated up the LoC.

The recent launch of the Chabahar port is being seen by many as an attempt to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC).

The resumption was decided upon in a meeting between senior officials from Poonch and Azad Jammu and Kashmir(AJK). “If everything goes well and the bus service resumes on Monday, the suspended trade is also expected to resume on Tuesday,”custodian of LoC trade from Poonch, Muhammad Tanveer was quoted as saying.

Read more: India’s dirty war inside Pakistan

He, however, added that all was contingent upon the situation along the LoC. “Since both sides decided to resume travel and trade at a meeting near the LoC on Friday, we are hopeful of resumption of the weekly cross-LoC bus service as per schedule on Monday,” Tanveer said.

Iran intends to link Chabahar with Gwadar via a rail link. Watchers feel that years down the line China may invest more in Chabahar than India.

The LoC has since 2016 become a real battleground between Pakistani and Indian forces. India blames Pakistan of stoking up the freedom movement in Indian Occupied Kashmir. However, Pakistan while shunning the allegations of infiltration across the LoC has time and again asserted that they continue to provide moral, diplomatic, and political support to Kashmiris’ right of self-determination.

Given the very many issues between India and Pakistan, many have pointed out the futility of these CBMs, which even otherwise is disrupted by frequent incidents of cross-LoC firing. It is noteworthy to mention that scant breathers at the tactical do little to improve ties between the two countries. However, despite being tactical in nature, disruptive events cause further dents to the even otherwise slim chances of peace in the region.

The Rawalakot-Poonch bus service which started in June 2006, after a hiatus of four months, will resume today

The situation in the Kashmir valley is one that seems intractable; hence, watchers expect both countries to flex their muscles in the days to come. The recent announcement of dialogue in Kashmir by the Home Minister, Rajnath Singh was dealt a severe yet unsurprising blow when PM Modi repudiated the idea of full autonomy to the state within the Constitution of India, let alone independence.

Read more: Does Chabahar matter?

Analysts are certain that not only Kashmir but also the overall gimmickry in the region will fester acrimony between the two neighbors. The recent launch of the Chabahar port is being seen by many as an attempt to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC).Seen as a veritable U.S satellite in the region to counter China, India’s increasing profile worries Pakistan.

The resumption was decided upon in a meeting between senior officials from Poonch and Azad Jammu and Kashmir(AJK)

However, there is a lot more than what meets the eye.Analysts feel that neither the Indo-US plan to increase Delhi’s role in Afghanistan is tenable nor is the hope reposed in Iran. Tehran conducts its foreign relations on the concept of classical realism; it does not intend to lessen its spite for Israel and the US. In addition, it does not share Delhi’s aversion to China’s OBOR initiative. If anything, Iran intends to link Chabahar with Gwadar via a rail link. Watchers feel that years down the line China may invest more in Chabahar than India.

Experts predict the Indo-Pak rivalry to continue at all levels and battlegrounds in the days to come; it will be the new normal in the fluid geopolitical environment of the region. 

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