Kashmir is on the boil. That is likely going to be not just a test case for Pakistan-India relations but would probably also determine future course of the entire region. New Delhis determination not to concede to demands of Kashmiri people is obvious from deployment of (still) more troops and their resort to open fire on innocent, young boys. But the boys refuse to give in, taking the situation to a maintained stalemate. Meanwhile, there are speculations about preparation of war by India, against Pakistan and China. India is on a mad spree of acquiring modern weapons and the increasing defense collaboration with Israel is also being taken in the region as indicative of New Delhis aggressive intents. So building bridges between longstanding rivals and enemies will be as much a political challenge for Pakistani and Indian leaders as crossing over to meet. The shadows of November 26 mayhem in Mumbai are also long and dark on the peace process. There can be no doubt that it had been engineered to scuttle the peace process and revive tensions between Pakistan and India. The 'terrorists, whoever they were, succeeded in reversing what Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called an irreversible peace process. In the event, the two countries reversed so far back they were almost on the brink of a third war between them. There have been many initiatives on the way, most of the confidence-building measures being taken by Pakistan, but all were short-lived. The commitment on part of New Delhi, towards resolving the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir especially was weak and India also took hard positions on withdrawal of troops from Siachen and Sir Creek. And while talking peace, India resorted to building dams on Pakistan-specific rivers. Then, at the height of irrigational seasons, the water flowing to Pakistan was often blocked which caused a lot of damage to crops here. In time, a view emerged in Pakistan that the dialogue process only seemed to benefit India and was being used as a time-gaining tactic. That the two countries have not been able to firm up the peace process has its roots in sentiments of the ultra-nationalists on either side. They are so ideologically and emotionally entrenched in communal hatred that it is difficult for them to accept each other. As someone from the other side recently observed, India even with its better democratic credentials and a more pluralist political culture, is not free of the curse of Hindu extremism. The Hindu extremists frequently attack and kill members of minority groups and have been responsible for massacres in Gujarat, Malegaon and even a terrorist attack on Samjotha Express, a train carrying Pakistani families back home from India. More tragic is the fact that most culprits, including prominent politicians that instigated communal violence have gone unpunished. War should not be an option between Pakistan and India. But both countries need a commitment to the peace process by enlarging their respective peace constituencies. The first step towards that is resolving the Kashmir dispute. -MAHMOOD GHAZNAVI, Lahore, September 21.