Pakistani army general urges nuclear rival India to ‘bury the past’, help create conditions for peace

The head of the Pakistani army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said on Thursday that India should move beyond previous conflicts with its neighbor and towards peace, while making clear the US has a part to play in regional stability.

“We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” Bajwa said in a speech at a conference in Islamabad.

He said the administration of US President Joe Biden gave him “hope” for such developments, and that Washington has a role to play in helping maintain peace in the Asian region.

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However, he added that the onus is on India to “create a conducive environment” for peace, especially in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Kashmir has been a source of tension between the neighboring states in the decades since the partition of the former British colony of India, resulting in sporadic conflict in the shared region.

The worst skirmishes in recent times broke out in 2019. In February, the two Asian countries announced a surprise joint ceasefire in a bid to end the violence in Kashmir, which had led to the deaths of at least 74 people in 2020.

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The disputed Himalayan region contains the so-called ‘line of control’, which acts as the de facto international border between the two nations.

Relations between Delhi and Islamabad deteriorated significantly from 2019, when India accused Pakistan-based militant groups of a suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed at least 40 Indian troops.

Tensions escalated further that year, as Delhi stripped Kashmir of its special status under Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which had allowed the region a degree of autonomy over its internal affairs for more than 70 years.

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