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Indian passengers returning from Pakistan on the Samjhauta Express, also called the Friendship Express Indian passengers returning from Pakistan on the Samjhauta Express, also called the Friendship Express  (AFP or licensors)

Tension eases between India and Pakistan

A key train service between Pakistan and India resumed on Monday, signalling an easing of tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries after a major escalation of tension last week over the disputed Kashmir region.

By Sister CarmelAnn Coutinho

A Pakistan Railways spokesman said the train service, known as Samjhauta Express, left the eastern city of Lahore on Monday for India's border town of Atari, with some 180 passengers on board.

Pakistan suspended the train service last week as tensions rose following a mid-February suicide bombing by extremist militants in Indian controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops and that led to a dangerous exchange of attacks between the two nations.

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of India and Pakistan both issued appeals for dialogue and reason amid global concern regarding possible conflict.

Meanwhile, villagers near the disputed boundary have left their homes in the area along the so-called Line of Control - the demarcation line that divides the troubled Himalayan region into an Indian and a Pakistani sector.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947. The two countries each claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two of the three wars between them over it.

The rivals struck a cease-fire deal in 2003 but regularly trade cross-border fire.

 

04 March 2019, 15:53