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Time line: Conflict over Kashmir

Updated: 2004-02-16 15:14

As two nations united by history but divided by destiny, India and Pakistan are almost like two estranged siblings.

Their rivalries over five decades have prevented both countries from realizing their full economic and geopolitical potential.

The two countries have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed region of Kashmir.

The region is small, but nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas its strategic importance and beauty make it a prized possession.

August 15, 1947: India and Pakistan gain independence from Britain.

October 27, 1947: Kashmir becomes part of India.

1948: India and Pakistan go to war over Kashmir and finally agree to withdraw all troops behind a mutually agreed ceasefire line, later known as the Line of Control.

1965: India and Pakistan at war again over Kashmir. The war ends when both countries decide to adopt a UN-sponsored resolution to stick to the Line of Control.

1972: India and Pakistan agree to work bilaterally rather than via international forums. The two sides also agree to respect the Line of Control until the issue is resolved.

1974: India detonates its first nuclear device beneath the Rajasthan desert.

1998: India conducts five underground nuclear tests near the Pakistani border. Pakistan responds with its own series of nuclear tests.

1999: The Indian Army patrols detect intruders on Kargil ridges in Kashmir and India fights to regain lost territory. Two months later Pakistani and Indian military officials agree to end the fighting in the region and disengage their forces.

May 2001: India ends a six-month military ceasefire against Islamic guerillas in Kashmir while also inviting Pakistani military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to peace talks.

July 14-16, 2001: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee meet in Agra, India for a three-day summit but the talks fail to produce a joint statement on Kashmir.

August 2001: India imposes an indefinite curfew in Jammu as tension runs high in the city after the massacre of 11 people at a railway station.

October 2001: Militants attack the Kashmiri assembly in Srinagar, leaving 38 people dead. Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah urges the Indian government to launch a crackdown on militant training camps across the border in Pakistan.

December 2001: Unidentified men attack the Indian parliament in New Delhi. Fourteen people are killed, including the five assailants.

January 2002: The row over the parliament attack triggers military build-up, diplomatic sanctions, and closure of transport links between the two nations. India's army chief says the nation is ready for war.

May 2002: Tension dramatically increases, prompting an intense international diplomatic effort to avert war between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

October 2002: Four rounds of polls to choose a new state administration conclude in Indian-controlled Kashmir. About 500 people are killed during the blood-soaked election campaign.

January 2003: India's defense minister says that India could easily absorb a nuclear hit, whereas Pakistan would "cease to exist." Pakistan's information minister retorts that India would learn a 'historic and unforgettable lesson' in such scenario.

February 2003: India says it has shot down an unmanned Pakistani spy plane that has intruded into Indian airspace in Kashmir, as a top Indian official says he is ready and willing to hold talks with Pakistan over Kashmir.

May 2003: India says it will restore full diplomatic ties with Pakistan, appointing a new ambassador to Islamabad and renewing air links between the two neighbors.

October 2003: Heavily armed militants attack the residence of the top elected official in Indian-Kashmir. Several soldiers are killed but Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed is not at home at the time of the attack.

India expands offer to restore air and bus links as well as renew sporting ties with Pakistan as part of an initiative to revive the stalled peace process with its neighbor.

Also, after years of refusing to talk with Kashmiri separatist groups, India announces it is prepared to hold negotiations with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance that brings together Kashmiri religious and political groups.

November 2003: India agrees to a Pakistani offer of a cease-fire along their borders in the disputed region of Kashmir. The cease-fire goes into effect November 26.

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