It has been called a powerful symbol of rapprochement between India and Pakistan. Buses have set off across the divided territory of Kashmir for the first time in almost sixty years. Passengers are travelling from the capital of Indian Kashmir to the Pakistani side, while others are going in the opposite direction. Some will be seeing relatives for the first time in decades.
The disputed territory has drawn the nuclear-armed neighbours into two wars and dangerously close to a third in 2002. The risks of such a journey are high. Yesterday Islamic militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir stormed the compound in Srinagar where the passengers were staying.
Six people were injured and all the insurgents were killed. That has not deterred the guerrilla movement, however, which has threatened to turn the buses into coffins. They say the so-called “caravan of peace” is an insult to their 15-year struggle and will merely play into Indian hands.