An Indian woman walks after defecating on a railway track, on World Toilet Day in Gauhati, India, Wednesday, Nov. 19 2014

New Delhi: As tensions between India and Pakistan escalated, following New Delhi’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, Islamabad had downgraded its diplomatic relations, suspended trade and severed communication links.

On Friday, India announced the cancellation of the last transport link with Pakistan, a railway link between Jodhpur in western Rajasthan and the port city of Karachi.

The Thar Express is an international passenger train operated weekly by Pakistan Railways between Karachi and Khokhrapar and from the Zero Point Railway Station, passengers cross over to Munabao in India to board the Thar Link Express to Jodhpur operated by Indian Railways.

Islamabad had already suspended the Samjhauta Express, which ran between New Delhi and Lahore and also the bus service between New Delhi and Lahore.

Thar Express, since re-introduction in 2006, was a popular mode of travel among Indians and Pakistanis divided at the time of the partition in 1947. Since then, it continued to run unaffected by any flare-ups between the two warring nations. 

Tensions between the two nuclear-powered neighbours escalated following India’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. New Delhi, through a Presidential decree, amended Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, revoking the special status granted to the former princely state when it chose to accede to India in 1947.

The Indian Parliament endorsed the Presidential decree and also passed legislation to divide the state into two federally administered territories.

Pakistan, which claims to be a stakeholder of Kashmir came out strongly against the Indian decision and has mounted a multilateral diplomatic offensive against India.

It has also taken up the issue with United Nations Security Council, which is likely to take it up on Friday for “closed consultations”.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been witnessing unrest for almost four decades, which New Delhi holds is being stirred by Pakistan. Kashmir has been a bone of contention between the two countries since they gained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both govern it in parts but claim it in full. The two rivals also fought two wars over Kashmir.