Modi's Kashmir Blunder: Wider Implications For India, Pakistan and the World

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reckless decision to unilaterally abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution has sent shockwaves across South Asia and the rest of the world. The immediate effect of this action is on Indian Occupied Kashmir which has lost its status as a state and stands divided into union territories directly ruled from New Delhi. It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure.  It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world, including China, by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir:

Regardless of Article 370, the region of of Jammu and Kashmir remains a disputed territory whose status must be resolved according to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 47 (1948) and 80 (1950). India can not unilaterally alter its status without agreement with Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are are parties to it.  Any unilateral action by either India or Pakistan on Kashmir also violates the Simla Agreement which requires bilateral resolution of the disputed region.

Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord. Annexation of Ladakh is also challenge to Chinese claims to it. 

China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, lays claim to Ladakh region. It has objected to India making it a union territory.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Pledge

Domestic Opposition in India:

Mr. Karan Singh, a member of Indian Rajya Sabha (upper house) and the son of Kashmiri Maharaja Hari Singh who "acceded" Jammu and Kashmir to India in 1947, has said that Kashmir is "not an internal matter" of India. Mr. Singh has insisted on restoration of the dialogue process with Pakistan.

“J&K’s relationship with the rest of India is guided by Article 370 and the State Constitution that I signed into law. We must realize that from the very beginning, J&K, rightly or wrongly, has been given a special position. Now [after] that special position from the original three subjects, there have been a whole series of developments — some may call them positive developments of integration, others may say negative developments of reducing autonomy,” Mr. Singh was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Strongest reactions to Mr. Modi's decision to annul article 370 have come from top leaders in Indian Punjab and Tamil Nadu. It has inspired fear that the central government in Delhi could take control of any state, strip it of its statehood and impose direct rule without the consent of its people.

Former union minister P. Chidambaram called Modi's action a "cardinal blunder" and a "fatal legal error"."What you are doing today sends a very wrong signal to every state of country", he added.

Tamil Nadu's DMK party leader MK Stalin took to Twitter to condemn Modi's decision. “This is a dark day in the history of Indian federalism. I urge the President of India to not precipitate the situation and not take any further steps in this regard until a democratically elected Government is formed there. The DMK stands with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters and will oppose any assault on federal structure,” he said in a series of tweets.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of Indian Punjab has denounced the revocation of 370 as “totally unconstitutional”. He tweeted that “the Constitution of India had been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner...This will set a bad precedent as it would mean that the Centre could reorganize any state in the country by simply imposing President’s rule.”

India-Pakistan Escalation:

Most of Kashmir has been under an unprecedented and extended lock-down. People are imprisoned in their homes for several days in a row. There is no Internet, telephone or television.

Eventually when the restrictions are eased, there will be large street protests which the Indian security forces will try to quell by force. When such protests turn violent,  Mr. Modi will cry "terrorism" and falsely accuse Pakistan of being behind it. There will be a familiar replay of the events of the past with Mr. Modi escalating conflict with Pakistan across the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Such escalations pose the danger of spiraling out of control and leading to a nuclear confrontation.

The West, particularly the United States and Canada, are geographically far removed from South Asia. This distance makes many think that any nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would not have a significant impact on life in America and Europe. Dr. Owen Brian Toon and Professor Alan Robock dispute this thinking. They believe the nuclear winter following an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange will kill crops as far as the United States and cause a global famine. Another study by Nobel Peace Prize- winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility reached the same conclusion.

Professors Robock and Toon have calculated that the smoke from just 100-200 Hiroshima sized atomic bombs exploding in South Asia would cover the entire globe within two weeks. This smoke would hang 30-50 miles above the surface of the earth where it never rains. This thick layer of smoke would block the sun causing farmers to lose their crops for years to come. The resulting famine would kill billions of people around the globe.

It seems that the American leadership recognizes the devastating global impact of possible India-Pakistan nuclear war.  In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia", Pakistani-American analyst Dr. Moeed Yusuf talks about the US efforts to prevent India-Pakistan war that could escalate into a full-scale nuclear exchange. He analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."


Indian Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi's abrogation of Article 370 is in clear violation of the Indian constitution and international rules governing resolution of disputes between countries. It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure. It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Kashmiris Observe Black Day

India: A Paper Elephant?

India-Pakistan Nuclear Arms Race

Kashmir: 700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 7 Million Kashmiris

Funding of Hate Groups, NGOs, Think Tanks: Is Money Free Speech?

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25


Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said…
#India must talk with #Pakistan as #Kashmir is not an internal matter of #India, says Karan Singh, son of #Kashmir ruler Maharajah Hari Singh who signed accession document - The Hindu

Son of the erstwhile king of Kashmir, Mr. Singh said the government is weakening its claim on the State by refusing to look at the international dimensions to the issue.
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh urged the government on Wednesday to abstain from stating that the political instability in Jammu and Kashmir was “an internal matter” of India.

Son of the erstwhile king of Kashmir, Mr. Singh said the government is weakening its claim on the State by refusing to look at the international dimensions to the issue as half of the state’s territory is under Pakistani and Chinese occupation.

“Today, we have barely 42,000 square miles under our control,” said Mr.Singh, while addressing the lawmakers at Rajya Sabha. “To say that we will not talk is not a mature response. When we say we do not need to talk to Pakistan, have we legitimised that [Pakistan occupied Kashmir]?”

While insisting on restoration of the dialogue process with Pakistan, Mr. Singh reminded the House that on October 27, 1947, when his father Maharaja Hari Singh, then ruler of the princely state, signed an Instrument of Accession with the Union of India, the development happened on three principles — that only Defence, Communications and Foreign Affairs would be handled by the Centre, and the rest will be under the state.

“I was in the House when the Accession was signed. However, please remember something more, my father acceded for three subjects — Defence, Communications and Foreign Affairs. He signed the same Instrument of Accession that all the other princely states signed. But all other states subsequently merged. And J&K did not merge,” said Mr. Singh.

“J&K’s relationship with the rest of India is guided by Article 370 and the State Constitution that I signed into law. We must realise that from the very beginning, J&K, rightly or wrongly, has been given a special position. Now [after] that special position from the original three subjects, there have been a whole series of developments — some may call them positive developments of integration, others may say negative developments of reducing autonomy,” he added.
Riaz Haq said…
" The Indian state has deployed many strategies to counter the 28-year-old Kashmir insurgency. One of them has been to call this insurgency everything other than what it actually is. When thousands of Kashmiris went for arms training to the part of Kashmir under Pakistani control, and lakhs rallied behind them on the streets of the Valley, New Delhi called this “cross-border terrorism”.

From about 10,000 to 15,000 militants at one point in time, militancy is now run by about 100 youths, mostly Kashmiris. But a resurgent street now complements this residual presence more strongly than ever. Currently, the state is confronted by a new wave of civilian protests coupled with a generation of youth so desperate to pick up arms that they snatch rifles from soldiers and policemen and run to the nearest forest where a small band of militants awaits them. The state and a sizeable section of the Indian media have been trying to explain away this phenomenon by obsessively referring to the so-called radicalisation of Kashmiri youth over the years."

Why does India consistently push the (false) narrative of radicalisation in Kashmir?
No theory has been more forcefully propagated than this one.

Riaz Haq said…
BBC News - #Article370: Has #India pushed #Kashmir to a point of no return? Autonomy had already been largely stripped away by a series of integrative measures imposed on the state by #India's central governments between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under an unprecedented lockdown since last week after India revoked Article 370, a constitutional provision granting the region special status. Sumantra Bose, professor of international and comparative politics at the London School of Economics (LSE), explains why the decision is fraught with challenges.

At the end of October, Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state of India.

Last week, India's parliament approved by a large majority the decision by the federal government to split the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Union territories have much less autonomy from the federal government than states do, and are essentially subject to Delhi's direct rule.

Almost 98% of the erstwhile state's population will be in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, comprising two regions - the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, which has about eight million people, and the Hindu-majority Jammu, which has about six million. The third region, the newly created union territory of Ladakh, is a high-altitude desert inhabited by 300,000 people, with almost equal numbers of Muslims and Buddhists.

Last week's events fulfilled a Hindu nationalist demand dating back to the early 1950s: the abrogation of Article 370.

Hindu nationalists have for seven decades vehemently denounced Article 370 as an example of "appeasement" of India's only Muslim-majority state. This objection to Article 370 was also congruent with the Hindu nationalists' ideological belief that India should be a unitary and centralised nation-state.

The "reorganisation" of Jammu and Kashmir also reflects a longstanding Hindu nationalist agenda.

In 2002 the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the core organisation of the Hindu nationalist movement, demanded the state be divided into three parts: a separate Hindu-majority Jammu state; the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley; plus union territory status for Ladakh.

Simultaneously the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an RSS affiliate, called for the state to be divided into four parts: a separate Jammu state and Ladakh as a union territory, plus the carving out of a sizeable area, also with union territory status, in the Kashmir valley to be inhabited solely by Kashmiri Pandits, the valley's small Hindu minority who were forced to leave nearly en masse when insurgency erupted there in 1990.

Under the VHP plan, what remained of the Kashmir Valley would then be left to the Muslim majority.

The claim made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that the autonomy enshrined by Article 370 is the cause of "separatism" in Jammu and Kashmir is disingenuous.


Many democracies have regions with ingrained secessionist impulses: the United Kingdom in Scotland, Canada in Quebec, Spain in Catalonia.

What the BJP government has done is akin to what Serbia's Milosevic regime did in 1989 by unilaterally revoking Kosovo's autonomy and imposing a police state on Kosovo's Albanian majority.

But the BJP government's approach to Kashmir goes beyond what Milosevic intended for the Kosovo Albanians: subjugation.
The Hindu nationalist government seems to ultimately aspire to assimilate rebellious Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir into a form of Indian national identity defined by its movement's ideology.
Riaz Haq said…
Chris Wood cuts #India’s weight by 1% point. #Kashmir has proved more negative for #MSCI #Pakistan down 11% in first 2 weeks, while India declined 1.5%. Pakistan Index is up 11.2% so far this week, compared with 1.6% decline in India. via @BloombergQuint

Jefferies’ Chris Wood cut India’s weight in portfolio by 1 percentage point on worries that the security situation will get “significantly worse” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government removed the special constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir. “Kashmir aggravation has added an additional negative,” Wood, global head of equity strategy at Jefferies, wrote in his weekly Greed & Fear new

Earnings estimates have continued to come down in the first quarter with Jefferies revising down the FY20 Nifty 50 earnings per share forecast by 7 percent since early July. As a result of the downgrades, the Indian market is not cheaper despite the 10 percent decline in the Nifty Index from the peak in early June, Wood said. “Investors are going to need to see evidence of a cyclical pickup to get
Riaz Haq said…
BBC News: How serious is #India's #economic crisis? The quibble among the members of the economic team of Mr #Modi and his government is not about whether India is facing an economic slowdown or not, but about how grave the current economic crisis is.

Top Indian government officials are engaged in a vociferous public debate over the state of the country's economy.

Rajiv Kumar, the head of the government's think tank Niti Aayog, recently claimed that the current slowdown was unprecedented in 70 years of independent India and called for immediate policy interventions in specific industries.

The Chief Economic Adviser, K Subramanian, disagreed with the idea of industry-specific incentives and argued for structural reforms in land and labour markets. Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic advisory council sound inchoate, resorting to social media and opinion editorials to counter one another.

In essence, the quibble among the members of the economic team of Mr Modi and his government is not about whether India is facing an economic slowdown or not, but about how grave the current economic crisis is.

This is a remarkable reversal in stance of the same group of economists who, until a few months ago, waxed eloquent about how India was the fastest growing economy in the world, generating seven million jobs a year.

To put all this in context, it was less than just two years ago, in November 2017, that the global ratings agency Moody's upgraded India's sovereign ratings - an independent assessment of the creditworthiness of a country - for the first time in 14 years.

Justifying the upgrade, Moody's had then argued that the economy was undergoing dramatic "structural" reforms under Mr Modi.

In the two years since, Moody's has downgraded its 2019 GDP growth forecast for India thrice - from 7.5% to 7.4% to 6.8% to 6.2%.

The immediate questions that arise now are: is India's economic condition really that grim and, if yes, how did it deteriorate so rapidly?

One of India's most celebrated entrepreneurs, the founder of the largest coffee store chain, Café Coffee Day, recently killed himself, ostensibly due to unmanageable debt, slowing growth and alleged harassment by tax authorities.

The auto industry is expected to shed close to a million direct and indirect jobs due to a decline in vehicle sales. Sales growth of men's inner wear clothing, a key barometer of consumption popularised by former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, is negative. Consumption demand that accounts for two-thirds of India's GDP is fast losing steam.

To make matters worse, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her first budget recently with some ominous tax proposals that threatened foreign capital flows and dented investor confidence. It sparked criticism and Ms Sitharaman was forced to roll back many of her proposals.

So, it is indeed true that India is facing a sharp economic downturn and severe loss of business confidence.

The alarm over the economic condition is not merely a reflection of a slowdown in GDP growth but also the poor quality of growth.

Private sector investment, the mainstay of sustainable growth in any economy, is at a 15-year low.

In other words, there is almost no investment in new projects by the private sector. The situation is so bad that many Indian industrialists have complained loudly about the state of the economy, the distrust of the government towards businesses and harassment by tax authorities.

But India's economic slowdown is neither sudden nor a surprise.

Behind the fawning headlines in the press over the past five years about the robustness of India's growth was a vulnerable economy, straddled with massive bad loans in the financial sector, disguised further by a macroeconomic bonanza from low global oil prices.
Riaz Haq said…
Why a top think tank official says #India’s fiscal problems are “unprecedented"? #Economy #Modi #BJP

“Unprecedented” Fears About the Indian Economy?

Last Friday, India’s government finally acknowledged that all was not well in the world’s seventh-largest economy. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rolled back a tax on foreign investors and promised to speed up tax refunds to small businesses, among other announcements. Investors seemed pleased: On Monday, the key Mumbai stock market gained more than 2 percent, after recording its worst July in nearly two decades. And the markets continued to rise on Tuesday.

Broader problems. While the stock market may have received a short-term boost, Sitharaman’s announcements alone won’t fix underlying economic problems. The biggest concern—and a likely factor behind slowing consumer demand—seems to be the country’s 6.1 percent unemployment rate, the highest in 45 years. An estimated 1 million Indians enter the workforce every month, and enough jobs simply aren’t being created for them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, car sales declined by 36 percent in July. Sitharaman announced on Friday a one-off government move to replace its fleet of cars with new ones, but that will hardly encourage the auto industry to ramp up production or hire more workers. (Automakers have laid off an estimated 350,000 workers since April.) Meanwhile GDP growth has slowed, with Nomura analysts predicting a tepid 5.7 percent growth rate for the April-June quarter, expected to be announced next week.

Criticism. Thomas Isaac, the finance minister of the state of Kerala, tweeted that Sitharaman’s announcements didn’t amount to enough. “What is required is a large fiscal spending package,” he wrote. And in a rare example of a top Indian businessman criticizing New Delhi, Adi Godrej, the chairman of the Godrej conglomerate, told Business Standard last week that “the speed of decision-making is very good for example in Kashmir, but the speed of decision-making on business matters is not good.”

One problem may be that even as India’s central bank continues to cut interest rates—which are already at their lowest level in nine years—outdated state banks often avoid passing on cheaper loans to consumers. And the private sector seems too spooked by a global slowdown to make large investments. Put together, these trends led a top government think tank leader to admit last week that India’s economic situation was “unprecedented” and that “nobody is trusting anybody else” in the government and private sector.

Depleting brain trust. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had to cope with the loss of some key lieutenants to ill health. On Saturday, Arun Jaitley, who was finance minister from 2014 to early 2019, died after years of kidney-related illnesses. Sushma Swaraj, who served as external affairs minister over the same period, also died this month after a heart attack. And Manohar Parrikar, who served as defense minister from 2014 to 2017, died from pancreatic cancer in March.

Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir narrative. According to western media outlets, #pulwamaattack was #Pakistan’s doing, not part of long history of J&K resistance. Since 911 US war on #terror, #India cast separatists as “terrorists” and framed #Kashmir struggle "terrorism" via @cjr

IN MID-FEBRUARY, A YOUNG MAN named Adil Ahmed Dar killed 44 Indian paramilitary officers in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama district. It was the deadliest attack against Indian soldiers in three decades. Dar was from a local village, but the militant group that claimed responsibility was based in Pakistan. Fears escalated of a confrontation between the two countries, both nuclear-armed. “Our neighbor will not be allowed to destabilize us,” India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. A few days later, India retaliated by firing rockets into a remote part of Pakistan. The White House called for Pakistan to end its support of Kashmiri “terrorists.”

International news outlets, relying mainly on India and Pakistan analysts to explain Kashmir, distorted the reality on the ground. The New York Times, for one, noted that “an insurgency that was once stoked by Pakistan may have taken on a life of its own, as Kashmiris become more disenfranchised and angry at the central government in Delhi and its use of force.” According to the Times, as well as The Washington Post, the BBC, and other outlets, Kashmir is a “disputed territory”; the attack was Pakistan’s doing rather than part of a long history of regional uprisings. These reports—framed, as Kashmir stories have been for decades, in geopolitical terms, as a rivalry between India and Pakistan—failed to recognize the political struggle led by locals, who have rarely seen their home covered from their point of view. “The Kashmiri narrative doesn’t exist at all,” Feroz Rather, a Kashmiri fiction-writer, told me, “because the two states have held it hostage.”


Soon after the Pulwama attack, several members of the Kashmir diaspora sought to change that. Hafsa Kanjwal, an assistant professor of South Asian and Kashmir history at Lafayette College, got on the phone with about a dozen friends and colleagues: How could they amplify the idea that Kashmir wasn’t just in crisis when India-Pakistan tensions were high, that Kashmir has been in a state of war with India for years? Together, they formed Stand With Kashmir, a group that aims to center the Kashmiri perspective, in part by encouraging journalists to quote more local voices. “We are trying to push that there was already an indigenous uprising,” Kanjwal told me.


Kaul described Kashmir as a “mobilizing issue” for the Hindu Right. The hostility has been advanced by online trolls who attack anyone in the press trying to represent the voices of Kashmiris. Reporters and academics have observed that the Modi government and his party uses social-media trolls to target Kashmiris who might be seen as sympathetic to the independence movement. In 2016, Facebook accounts of several Kashmiri activists who lived outside of the region were suspended, or saw posts deleted, after Facebook received complaints that they violated community standards. Modi’s government has, in the past, requested that Twitter block hundreds of users for “objectionable content.” Since it was created earlier this month, Stand With Kashmir’s Instagram account has been suspended four times.

Over the past few weeks, Kanjwal, Kaul, and Trisal have been accused of erasing the history of Kashmiri Hindus or of being terrorist sympathizers, because of articles they’ve written, lectures they’ve given, even for tweets they’ve liked. Kanjwal described this month as a “pivotal moment,” both for Kashmir and the world’s awareness of the situation there. Writing for The Washington Post, she called India’s move the “beginnings of a settler colonial project in Kashmir,” comparing the dynamic to that of Israel and Palestine.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #economic growth plunges to 6-year low of 5%, the weakest growth rate recorded under #Modi, who first swept to power 5 years ago promising to take India's #economy to new heights and create millions of #jobs every year. #AchheDin #BJP #Hindutva

India's economic slump risks becoming a crisis, with growth plunging to levels not seen since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014 on a promise to turn the country into a global powerhouse.

Gross domestic product grew by just 5% in the three months to June, according to government data released Friday. That compares with growth of 8% in the same period last year. It was also a huge drop from growth of 5.8% recorded the previous quarter.
The data mean Asia's third biggest economy is now growing at its slowest pace in over six years.
It's also the weakest growth rate recorded under Modi, who first swept to power five years ago promising to take India's economy to new heights and create millions of jobs every year.

But the downward spiral has now lasted a year, and India faces a steep road to recovery.

Several sectors of the economy have been struggling in recent months — the country's automotive industry has already shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, and consumer goods companies like Unilever (UL) are reportedly slashing prices because of slowing demand.
Since winning re-election by a landslide in May, Modi and his government have scrambled to boost the economy. A week ago, India unveiled tax breaks for startups, cheaper home and car loans, and an injection of 700 billion rupees ($9.8 billion) into state-run banks, among other measures.
A few days later, the government followed with an announcement that rules on foreign investment would be eased, opening up India's huge coal industry. It also said it would relax local sourcing regulations that have blocked companies like Apple (AAPL) and other global retailers from opening stores.
Another move came Friday just before the dire quarterly growth figures were released. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that 10 of India's state-run banks would be merged into four to boost lending to business.
No quick fix
Analysts say a lot more needs to be done.
"[The] government is taking steps to mitigate the difficulties faced by the economy but these measures will play out only in the medium term," Devendra Pant, chief economist at Fitch subsidiary India Ratings and Research, said in a statement after the figures were released. "There is no quick fix solution to the downturn which has been in the making for past few years."
Modi is getting help from the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. It has slashed interest rates four times since the start of 2019 — bringing them to their lowest level in nine years — and earlier this week transferred excess reserves of around $25 billion to the government.
Pant said he expects "at least one more rate cut ... to boost demand."
Riaz Haq said…
#India excludes nearly 2 million people from Assam citizen list. #India has passed law that grants citizenship to people who moved to India from #Bangladesh, #Pakistan and #Afghanistan as recently as 6 years ago - as long as they are not #Muslim @AJENews

Nearly two million people have been excluded from a list of citizens in India's northeastern Assam state, raising fears they could be rendered stateless.

The list, known as the National Register of Citizens (NRC), was published on Saturday after a years-long exercise aimed at identifying legal residents in the impoverished border state.

A total of 31.1 million people were included in the final list, leaving out 1.9 million people, according to a statement from the Assam government.

"The entire process of NRC update has been meticulously carried out in an objective and transparent manner. Adequate opportunity of being heard has been given to all persons at every stage of the process. The entire process is conducted as per statutory provisions and due procedure followed at every stage," it said.

The government said it carried out the mammoth exercise to detect and deport undocumented immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, but critics viewed the exercise as an attempt to deport millions of Muslims, who make up a third of the state's population.


The BJP governs Assam and critics say the NRC process reflects the BJP's goal to serve only people of the Hindu faith.

In January, India's lower house passed legislation that grants citizenship to people who moved to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as recently as six years ago - as long as they are not Muslims.

Critics say the BJP was planning to pass new legislation to help Hindus who have been excluded from the NRC get Indian citizenship.

Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, Modi's right-hand-man, has called for the ejection of "termites" and said before the BJP's thumping re-election victory in May that it would "run a countrywide campaign to send back the infiltrators".

Samujjal Bhattacharya from the All Assam Students' Union, a key driver of the NRC, said the register was necessary to protect Assam's indigenous "sons of the soil".

"We are not ready to live here like second-class citizens in our own motherland," he said.
Riaz Haq said…
Dear PM #Modi, #India's #Economy Needs Strong Policies & Not Headlines. #Manufacturing from growing more than 12% in the same time last year, to stalling at 0.6% now. #Car sales have crashed to 20-year lows. #Indian Central Bank: "our economy is ‘grim.’" Every village idiot knows the way out of income slowdown is meaningful economic policy, not blocking communication lines in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir or listing 2 million Assamese as ‘illegals’.

In a stadium in New Delhi, on August 29, prime minister Narendra Modi said, "Whether it is the boardroom or Bollywood, whoever is fit touches the sky. If the body is fit, the mind is hit."

The banality, of course, is par for anybody who has lent an ear to Mr Modi for nearly a decade. But cruel reality check hit India less than 24 hours later.

In separate missives, the official statistical department released data that said India’s economy was in dire straits: growth during the (first) April-June quarter, was 5%, the lowest since 2014-15 when Modi stormed to power.

At the time, he accused the previous, Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA-II) of pouring sand in the machinery of work, wealth and aspiration. Modi promised achhe din, or better days, ahead. That has proved to be a mirage.

Manufacturing, around 16% of India’s economy has collapsed: from growing more than 12% in the same time last year, to stalling at 0.6% now. Car sales have crashed to 20-year lows. Manufacturing responds to demand from either consumption or investment.

Consumption, now around 60% of the economy, has also fallen: sales of low-cost biscuits to innerwear are down. Incomes of around 70% of Indians who depend on farm and farm-related activity grew barely 2% in Q1, compared to 5.1% in the year-ago period.

The growth of construction, which employs much of India’s vast army of ‘unorganised’ workforce has nearly halved, from 9.6% to 5.7%.

Meanwhile, on Thursday India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reported its own take on the economy. It says our economic scene is ‘grim.’ Stripped of jargon, this is what it says: Sometimes, economies go through happy or bad times, depending on peoples’ moods and how well the rest of the world is behaving.

Also Read : The road to $5 trillion economy with 5% growth rate?

Where Are Meaningful Economic Reforms?
This can be set right with shock reform, changes in tax or interest rates, buying and selling government debt, manipulating currency trades. Intended goal: to break out of a ‘cyclical’ downturn. Otherwise, economies can choke on bigger problems, for example a lack of functioning markets in farm produce which causes 40% of the stuff to rot, or the absence of banks in the hinterland, which forces people to borrow from moneylenders at cut-throat rates. Policy wonks classify these failures as structural hassles.

Every village idiot knows the way out of income slowdown is meaningful economic policy, not blocking communication lines in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir or listing 2 million Assamese as ‘illegals’.

But the Modi government has reacted to the crisis with, first, blather: “The government is alive to the situation and has taken several measures on the slowdown of Indian economy. The slowdown in growth is due to endogenous and exogenous factors,” said Krishnamurthy Subramanian, our top sarkari economist.

Now, Subramanian isn’t the brightest lightbulb in the room, but his words must reflect something about the regime’s willingness to battle an economic crisis. So far, an Alfred E Neumanesque, “What, me worry?”
Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir Is a Dress Rehearsal for #Hindu Nationalist Fantasies. The joy stems from the humiliation of Kashmir’s #Muslims for daring to be different and the thought that this is a warning signal to all of #India’s Muslims. #BJP #Modi #Hindutva #Fascism

Activists chanted in the center of Ranchi, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand and my parental city: “Kashmir azaad ho gaya aaj” (“Kashmir has been freed today”). The activists were celebrating the deathblow to Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy struck by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Aug. 5. They were not the only ones; much of the Indian public shared their vulgar joy.

It’s not the assimilation of Kashmir—whose autonomy in practice has long disappeared, diluted over the decades by military and bureaucratic means from the center—that brings this excitement. It’s not even the thought of giving the finger to India’s old archenemy, Pakistan, for daring to court U.S. President Donald Trump over Kashmir. The joy stems from the humiliation of Kashmir’s Muslims for daring to be different and the thought that this is a warning signal to all of India’s Muslims that the Hindu body politic is resurgent and unstoppable.


The brutal swiftness of the move has shown that through the use of a narrative of national security, the BJP can break opposition parties and secure overwhelming parliamentary support, spur its grassroots workers, and keep the jingoist media on board.

The brutal swiftness of the move has shown that through the use of a narrative of national security, the BJP can break opposition parties and secure overwhelming parliamentary support, spur its grassroots workers, and keep the jingoist media on board.The widespread support for this act of constitutional vandalism shows that there is little hope of checking the BJP on other divisive domestic issues, such as the building of a grand temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of the former Babri Mosque and taking away the existing rights of religious minorities to be governed by distinct personal laws on family matters including marriage and inheritance.
Riaz Haq said…
Arundhati Roy: "If #Indians believe it was ok for #India to militarily intervene in #EastPakistan (now #Bangladesh) in 1971, why is it not ok for #Pakistan to do the same in #Indian Occupied #Kashmir" #Modi #BJP | Upfront via @YouTube
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump's silence on #Kashmir sends a dangerous signal. #Modi and #Netanyahu willing to resort to incendiary and threatening language against the #Muslim. And both are abetted by the active support — or telling silence — of Trump. #Hindutva #BJP #India

Just when we thought we’d seen every trick in the illiberal democratic playbook, along comes a particularly unnerving new one: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to remove the long-standing autonomy of Kashmir, the northern region at the heart of India’s 70-year dispute with its western neighbor, Pakistan.

The region was awarded to India during the 1947 partition that divided the subcontinent into two new states, India and Pakistan. But according to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was to be granted autonomy over most governance issues, aside from defense and foreign affairs. Article 370 was largely honored until early this month, when Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, a member of the BJP party of Modi, followed up on the prime minister’s crackdown with a series of orders revoking the state’s autonomy.

Overnight, Kashmir’s historic status was lifted, and a communications blackout was imposed. Since then, thousands of Kashmiris have been arrested by Indian federal authorities.

There is, of course, a backstory to the Indian government’s actions. Muslims constitute nearly 70% of the population of the state and, therefore, represent a constant irritant and threat to the Hindu nationalists of Modi’s BJP, who aspire to achieve ethnic purity in India. Now that Modi has consolidated power with a landslide election in 2019, he is moving rapidly and boldly toward realizing the BJP vision of a Hindu India — one that bears little relation to the vision laid out in India’s Constitution, which guarantees justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to all.


Now, Modi has followed suit in Kashmir. While the world’s attention was fixed on a host of other vexing issues — mass shootings in America, Brexit chaos, and climate change, to mention a few — Indian troops swept in, ostensibly to ensure security and prosperity to the restive area. The world has barely uttered a peep.

Given the ineffective response, first with Crimea and now with Kashmr, it may only be a matter of time before another of the illiberal squad strikes. Netanyahu, currently immersed in a fateful election campaign, might decide, say, to annex the West Bank.

The parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian situation and that of India and Kashmir are striking. Both are byproducts of attempted partitions after British imperial rule. Both Kashmir and the West Bank contain populations deemed hostile and undesirable by the ethnic purists in their respective countries. Both Modi and Netanyahu have shown themselves to be willing to resort to incendiary and threatening language against the Muslim populations in their midst. And both are abetted by the active support — or telling silence — of Trump.

What would Trump do if Netanyahu went ahead with his periodic pledge to annex the West Bank and its nearly 3 million Palestinians? Would he and his fellow illiberals sit back and crow that this is the new way of the world?

Perhaps so, and that is why the rest of us must rise up in protest each time illiberal leaders attempt to expand their powers in illegal and undemocratic ways. We must support civil society organizations that fight for the equality of their countries’ citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity. And we must insist that democratic countries honor the noble principles enshrined in their constitutions and other founding documents, for they are the best antidote to the xenophobia, racism and discrimination of today’s illiberalism.

David N. Myers teaches Jewish history at UCLA, where he directs the Luskin Center for History and Policy. He is also president of the board of the New Israel Fund.
Riaz Haq said…
Analysis: A moment of reckoning for Indian Americans
Varghese K. GeorgeSEPTEMBER 06, 2019 15:50 IST

Influential Hindutva voices in America have turned against Democrats, and are moving closer to the Trump camp
After Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017, it took several weeks before the new President, Donald Trump, condemned it, only obliquely still, upsetting the community. Democrat Bernie Sanders instantly came out in support of the family and the community, and said the President’s rhetoric on immigration led to the murder.

As campaign for the 2020 presidential election picks up, a dominant section of the Indian Americans linked to Hindutva politics is gunning for Mr. Sanders and aligning with the nationalist politics of Mr. Trump, for their respective positions on Kashmir. This rapidly evolving realignment will polarise the community and could alter the basis of India-U.S. ties.

Indian Americans have largely been supporters of the Democratic Party to which all five U.S. lawmakers of Indian origin also belong. Democrats have been more supportive of immigration and religious and cultural rights of the minorities. The simultaneous rise of nationalism in India and America, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Trump, had put the community in a paradoxical situation, as they were largely jubilant about Hindutva in India while being at the receiving end of nationalism in their adopted land.

The Kashmir factor
Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder. Not only Mr. Sanders, but Democrats such as Congressman from Silicon Valley Ro Khanna, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and several other friends of India and Indian Americans have denounced Hindutva politics in the wake of the prolonged lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir following the unilateral end to its autonomy.

“India’s behaviour is unacceptable,” said Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Khanna, grandson of a freedom fighter and a member of the first Parliament of India, said, “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.”

Influential Hindutva voices in America have turned against these Democrats, and accused them of pro-Pakistan sympathies and being in the spell of anti-India, Muslim advisers. Mr. Trump does not sweat over India’s Kashmir policy barring its impact on his own plans for an American military withdrawal from Afghanistan. His tirade against immigrants, particularly the Indian techies notwithstanding, the Hindutva sections had found his bluster against Muslims appealing. Kashmir has brought them closer to Mr. Trump and their journey to his camp could be completed ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. There are many ironies in this, but this might end one central paradox of Hindutva-leaning Indian American politics that has been sympathetic to religious majoritarianism and cultural supremacism in India while demanding religious and cultural rights in America.

Political realignment
The dualism of Indian-American politics has now become unsustainable as Democratic leaders find it increasingly impossible to side with Mr. Modi as he advances the Hindutva agenda. Many of these friends of India were mislead, and had misread Mr. Modi’s politics and they interpreted his success in 2014 as a turn in Indian politics towards more neo-liberal reforms and globalism. Such an image of Mr. Modi was also projected by Indian diplomacy in America. But one American thinker, who interpreted Mr. Modi’s victory as a nativist revolt against a global elite, was none other than Stephen Bannon, the most authentic interpreter of Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics. Mr. Bannon has also been particularly a critic of the H-1B visa and Indian-American immigration. That the Indian Ambassador to the...
Riaz Haq said…
#Hindutva Group of 100 protests outside #WashingtonPost's office over its coverage of #Indian Occupied #Kashmir. Post's response: “The Post’s coverage of #India’s actions in Kashmir since the Aug. 5 crackdown has been fair, accurate and comprehensive" .

About 100 people demonstrated outside The Washington Post’s building on Saturday to protest its coverage of the recent crisis in India’s Kashmir region.

Vijay K. Sazawal, a protest organizer, said he believes The Post’s reporting has been overly sympathetic to Kashmir’s Muslim-majority community while overlooking the concerns of Hindus and other minorities who live there.

“The point The Post has consistently failed to recognize is the injustice that has been done to the minorities of Kashmir by the majority community, which is the Muslim community,” said Saza­wal, international coordinator for the Indo-American Kashmir Forum. “You don’t recognize, we have been ethnically cleansed from the Kashmir Valley in the past 20 years.”

A smaller group of counterdemonstrators gathered nearby.

“The Post’s coverage of India’s actions in Kashmir since the Aug. 5 crackdown has been fair, accurate and comprehensive — at a time when India has imposed tight restrictions on the flow of information and has severely limited access by our journalists trying to cover this important story,” Post Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl said.

Last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following a path long advocated by Hindu nationalists, revoked a measure of Kashmir’s autonomy and imposed a communications blackout over the majority-Muslim region and detained thousands of people, including politicians and activists. The move, breaking with decades of history, has affected millions in the region.

Critics called the prime minister’s action unconstitutional and warned that the crackdown would backfire by stirring violent protest and separatist passions. Although India’s government has said the situation has eased in recent days, the Kashmir valley is still cut off without Internet or mobile phone service. Stores have closed in protest, and nearly all of the region’s political leadership is under arrest.
Riaz Haq said…
#PallavBagla #India Loses Contact With #Chandrayaan2 #Vikram Moon Lander During Its Descent. “This is all about national (#Hindutva) pride,’’ said Pallava Bagla, co-author of a book about #Indian space exploration and a dedicated space journalist #Modi

India’s attempt to land a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole on Saturday appeared to end in failure.

The initial parts of the descent went smoothly. But less than two miles above the surface, the trajectory diverged from the planned path. The mission control room fell silent as communications from the lander were lost. A member of the staff was seen patting the back of K. Sivan, the director of India’s space program.

He later announced that the spacecraft was operating as expected until an altitude of 2.1 kilometers, or 1.3 miles. “The data is being analyzed,” he said.

The partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission — an orbiter remains in operation — would delay the country’s bid to join an elite club of nations that have landed in one piece on the moon’s surface.


An Israeli nonprofit sent a small robotic spacecraft named Beresheet to the moon, but its landing attempt in April went awry in a manner similar to Chandrayaan-2. The initial descent went as planned, but then communications were lost near the surface. It was later discovered that a command to shut off the engine was incorrectly sent.

Chandrayaan-2 launched in July, taking a long, fuel-efficient path to the moon. Earlier this week, the 3,200-pound lander, named Vikram after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program, separated from the orbiter and maneuvered toward the moon’s surface.

Fifteen minutes before the planned landing, the Vikram lander was traveling at more than 2,000 miles per hour at an altitude of about 20 miles. Four of its engines fired to quickly slow it down as it headed toward its landing site on a high, flat plain near the South Pole. Later in the landing process, it appeared that Vikram was descending too fast and then data from the spacecraft ended.

The moon is littered with the remains of spacecraft that have tried and failed to land in one piece. Two American craft, from the robotic Surveyor series that helped blaze the trail for Apollo, crashed in the 1960s. Several probes from the Soviet Luna program also collided with the moon’s surface.

Applause swept through viewing parties in Bangalore for most of the lander’s descent. At the command center, scientists rose to their feet as they tracked the mission’s progress. When communication was abruptly lost, Sathya Narayanan, 21, an educator with Astroport, a group in Bangalore that spreads awareness about astronomy, said his heart dropped.

“At this point, it is a partial failure,” he said. “We will push until the end.”

While the mission may briefly soften the muscular nationalism espoused by Mr. Modi, whose government is already facing challenges from job losses and international criticism of his recent moves in the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister tried to reframe Saturday’s landing attempt as an opportunity for improvement in brief remarks after contact was lost.

Hours later and back at the space center in Bangalore, the prime minister greeted the scientists, engineers and staff of the space agency after delivering a motivational speech that was broadcast nationally in India. He stopped short of stating explicitly that the lander had failed.

“We came very close, but we will need to cover more ground in the times to come,” he said.

Later in his address, Mr. Modi added, “As important as the final result is the journey and the effort. I can proudly say that the effort was worth it and so was the journey.”

Space has become a popular topic in India.
Riaz Haq said…
#Beijing backs #Pakistan amid #Kashmir tensions. #China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi: “No matter how the situation in the region changes, China will firmly support the Pakistani side in safeguarding sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity.” #India

The two countries are ‘all-weather’ partners with a rock-solid relationship, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi says
Balancing India’s influence and promoting the Beijing-funded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are among their common interests

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has pledged support to Pakistan and described the two countries as “all-weather” partners as Beijing moves to protect its regional interests amid tensions with India.
Wang met Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the Pakistan capital Islamabad, where they had an “in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest”, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Monday.

“No matter how the situation in the region changes, China will firmly support the Pakistani side in safeguarding sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity,” Wang, who began a four-day trip to Pakistan and Nepal on Saturday, was quoted as saying.
“[China] firmly supports the Pakistani government in achieving national stability and development and prosperity, and firmly supports Pakistan to play a more constructive role in regional and international affairs,” Wang said, referring to the two countries as “all-weather strategic partners” with “rock-solid” relations.

Wang’s comments come amid fresh tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over Kashmir. India decided last month to strip the Jammu and Kashmir autonomous state of its special status and break it into two federally controlled territories, which China said infringed its territorial integrity.

Both India and Pakistan claim the whole of Kashmir, which was partitioned between the two after the end of British rule in 1948, and have fought wars over the territory.

China has formally backed Pakistan’s request for the United Nations Security Council to hold “closed consultations” on the revoking of the state’s autonomy.
India is also involved in the Indo-Pacific strategy led by the United States, which Beijing views as a containment strategy to hinder China’s military expansion.

Wang stressed that China and Pakistan should cooperate to secure their common economic interests.
“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] is a long-term development plan for Pakistan,” Wang said. “The Pakistani military has made unremitting efforts in corridor construction, especially security.”
Ranjit Singh said…
Shias and Ahmadis were instrumental in the creation of Pakistan. In fact Jamaat e Islami was dead against the creation of Pakistan. Today both Shias and Ahmadis are considered as kafirs in Pakistan, and for this reason these groups have opted out of Jehadi freedom movement. Ms. Carin I guess you’re unaware that these were the same Jehadis who attacked Mumbai and derived the greatest pleasure in killing Americans and Jews. They attacked places where the Westerners stayed and hung out and the biggest price was the Jewish Center where they tortured and killed a young Jewish couple. Go to YouTube and just check the so called freedom fighters sent by Pakistan. Half of Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan and today there isn’t a
single Hindu, Sikh, or Christian left there and Pakistan wants to do the same on the Indian side of Kashmir. The Indian Kashmiri Police are mostly Muslims and there do not want to harm fellow Muslims, but the Jehadis have no compulsion in killing them. To me all religions are one and should be respected and every live matters.
Riaz Haq said…
RS: "Shias and Ahmadis were instrumental in the creation of Pakistan. In fact Jamaat e Islami was dead against the creation of Pakistan. Today both Shias and Ahmadis are considered as kafirs in Pakistan, and for this reason these groups have opted out of Jehadi freedom movement. "

Yes, there are sectarian groups in Pakistan but they are a small fringe. They do not have the kind of broad support that Hindutva groups and Modi enjoy in India. Shias in Pakistan are heavily represented at all levels in politics, government, bureaucracy, judiciary, military etc etc
Carin Fischer said…
Ranjit Singh:I lived in Kashmir for ten years until 2016. My views are very different from yours. I do not consider the armed rebellion in Kashmir terrorism or Jehad. In my view Kashmiris have every right to defend themselves against the Indian military occupation. Even the UN charter provides for that. What happened in Mumbai is very different and there was not a single Kashmiri who did not condemn it. Please do not discuss Kashmir with me. Freedom from India for Kashmiris is my only cause in life. I lived in India before moving Kashmir and have very strong views about its secularism and democracy. Naya India is so much worse than Pakistan T Also the JK Police have been the biggest killers since 2008 when the fight went to the streets. Don't talk to me about them. Take care.and please do not respond.
Ranjit Singh said…
Carin you may have lived in Kashmir, but do you know how the Kashmir issue started? In late 1947 Pakistan Army with Pathan tribals invaded Kashmir. They almost captured Srinagar and murdered every non Muslims they could lay their hands on. They even raped the nuns. In 1989 your friendly Jehadis murdered and
drove out about 300,000 Hindus from Kashmir valley. Just last year they murdered a prominent Muslim journalist. Indian Army entered Kashmir after Pakistan and the Indian Army is a defensive force meaning they are there just to guard against Pakistani aggression. Granted the Kashmiri Police has no clue in dealing with stone throwers. In Kashmir if the Jehadi Militants orders a shutdown do you know why people comply? Because they will be shot dead. In Western countries how many Hindus executed a terrorist attack? Do you know how many Pakistanis were involved in these attacks in USA? I have many Muslim friends and relatives and the Pakistan Army consists mostly of my clan, the Jats and Rajputs and I served in the USA Army unlike you I am not partial to any religion. Kashmiris are very nice people, but some of them have become very intolerant and this has driven the Hindus to become intolerant. I do not wish to change your view, but I living on the Pakistani side of Kashmir where Pakistani Army has very tight control. There is no article 370 on the Pakistani side. China and Pakistan are using Kashmiri land without giving Kashmiri any compensation. Kashmiri Militants have destroyed the tourist industry and no one wants to invest in Kashmir because of threats from Militants. Anyway, thanks for replying.
Riaz Haq said…
Ranjit Singh: In 1989 your friendly Jehadis murdered and drove out about 300,000 Hindus from Kashmir valley.

your story is one sided. It ignores what happened to Muslim majority in Jammu that gave rise to Muslim response in Kashmir

Selective #Hindutva narrative of #JammuAndKashmir about #KashmiriPandits ignores that #Jammu had #Muslim majority in 1947. Within weeks, riots and mass killings and forced migration of #Muslims turned it into a #Hindu-majority area
Opinion via @htTweets

by Karan Thapar

"“Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area … apparently with at least the tacit consent of state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, he asserts “some two hundred thousand are … not accounted for”. Christopher Snedden, in Kashmir: The Unwritten History, estimates between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed. Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack in India’s World believe 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced. Last year, the columnist Swaminathan Aiyar wrote: “In sheer scale this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later”. So why is a horror of this scale not remembered? Habibullah, who’s written about it in My Kashmir: The Dying of the Light, suggests two reasons. First, it occurred when communal riots and brutal massacres were happening right across northern India. In that bigger outrage, this smaller tragedy seems to have been forgotten. His second reason is intriguing. Sheikh Abdullah, then the undisputed leader of the Kashmir Valley, who one would have expected to draw attention to this massacre, deliberately chose to ignore it because the Muslims of Jammu did not support his National Conference, but leaned towards Jinnah’s Muslim League. The Sheikh’s politics seems to have silenced his conscience.""
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Press Attache: #India should allow #international #HumanRights observers and #media into (#Indian Occupied) #Kashmir so that the whole world can learn from its grand experiment of delivering #development at gunpoint. #Modi #Hindutva #BJP

In “India Is Making Kashmir Stronger” (Op-Ed, Sept. 20), Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s ambassador to the United States, failed to answer the fundamental question that is bothering all right-thinking people across the globe: Why has India laid siege to Kashmir and cut off eight million Kashmiris from the rest of the world for the last seven weeks?

Instead, he resorted to using India’s familiar playbook of pointing the finger at Pakistan, and tarring the Kashmiris’ indigenous and legitimate struggle for self-determination with the brush of “terrorism.”

Rather than attacking Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan, he should have explained what this “prosperity” is that India feels that it can deliver to the Kashmiris only at the pointed end of bayonets. How does India plan to foster “hope for development” through mass incarceration, torture and cowardly night raids into homes to pick up children?

India appears to be testing a model of economic development on the Kashmiri people, who want none of it, if the deserted marketplaces and more than 700 protests in Kashmir since Aug. 5 are any indication.

Perhaps India should allow international human rights observers and media into Kashmir so that the whole world can learn from its grand experiment of delivering development at gunpoint.

Abid Saeed
Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir: Goodbye, pro-#India politics. Words like “#Gaza” and “settler #occupation” are entering the public discourse. Low-scale militancy appears to be of no use. #Pakistan is seen as being weak and unable to take on India. | Newslaundry via @newslaundry

“They have sealed our fate,” my father said as he heard news of the abrogation of Article 370. “The politics of Kashmir has ended forever, now there is only the politics of Delhi.” This was the first reaction in my home to India’s dismantling of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy and it expressed the absolute political disempowerment of our people. My mother, an apolitical commoner, heard my father speak and remarked, “Just our bad luck.”

Both their faces were gloomy, overwhelmed by sadness as the move brought on a harsh security lockdown and communications blackout, which has now lasted over 50 days.

I, meanwhile, was trying to comprehend all that was being televised from the Parliament. It soon became clear that the sovereignty of the people of Kashmir had been stolen.

Sovereignty, after all, was what undergird Kashmir’s reluctant accession to the Indian Union. As Jammu and Kashmir’s sovereign ruler, Hari Singh, had agreed to delegate certain powers over Kashmir to Delhi, and not vice versa. So, it was India that enjoyed special status in Kashmir, not the other way round. Article 370 testified to this: the constitutional provision was temporary not because India was authorised to discard it someday, but because Jammu and Kashmir was still an undecided matter at the United Nations -- and the people of Kashmir were yet to exercise their right to permanently accede to India or Pakistan.


Today, the average Kashmiri feels threatened, and not only because of torture, humiliation and economic breakdown. They are reluctant to come out of their homes. The armed forces are looking angrier than ever. People in mainland India are openly lusting after Kashmiri women. Some state governments are longing for their land. Corporates are eyeing their small businesses. Words like “Gaza” and “settler occupation” are entering the public discourse. Low-scale militancy appears to be of no use. Pakistan is seen as being weak and unable to take on India. The people are in a bind: India does not own them, Pakistan does not “liberate” them. Pro-India politics is dead. The Hurriyat has the sentiment, but no solution. People fear Ram Madhav’s punishment. They worry about demographic change. Men see their future in jail. Women are numbed by speeches of Indian leaders. Constitutional guarantees do not exist. The narrative of development does not appease them. The world is not interested in the human cost of the security lockdown. So, where does the common Kashmiri go from here?

I spent 40 days under the lockdown and all I saw it engender was hopelessness. And that bodes ill for Kashmir, and India.

Rameez Bhat is a political columnist from Kashmir.
Riaz Haq said…
Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe
Owen B. Toon1,*, Charles G. Bardeen2, Alan Robock3, Lili Xia3, Hans Kristensen4, Matthew McKinzie5, R. J. Peterson6,

Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45-kt values to a few hundred kilotons. If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield. The smoke will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35%, cooling the global surface by 2° to 5°C and reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, with larger regional impacts. Recovery takes more than 10 years. Net primary productivity declines 15 to 30% on land and 5 to 15% in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities.

The nuclear arsenals of Britain, France, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan are thought (1–3) to lie in the range of ~100 to 300 warheads each (Fig. 1). Although the use of these weapons by any of these countries could produce a regional, and likely global, disaster, India and Pakistan are of special concern because of a long history of military clashes including serious recent ones, lack of progress in resolving territorial issues, densely populated urban areas, and ongoing rapid expansion of their respective nuclear arsenals. Here, we examine the possible repercussions of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan circa 2025 in which cities are one class of target, either by direct or collateral targeting. These repercussions have not been investigated previously. Because of the near-term regional effects of nuclear blast, thermal radiation, and prompt nuclear radiation, we find that perhaps for the first time in human history, the fatalities in a regional war could double the yearly natural global death rate. Moreover, the environmental stresses related to climate changes caused by smoke produced from burning cities could lead to widespread starvation and ecosystem disruption far outside of the war zone itself.

Nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan
The United States and Russia account for around 93% of the world’s estimated 13,900 nuclear weapons. Seven other nuclear-armed nations are not bound by treaties that require them to divulge information, such as the number of strategic launchers and the number of warheads deployed on missiles, allowing estimates of the numbers of nuclear warheads and yields in their arsenals, but between them, the seven nations may now hold a total of 1200 warheads. As shown in Fig. 1, India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear forces in 2019 each may contain 140 to 150 warheads, with a possible expansion to 200 to 250 warheads in each country by 2025 (1, 3–5). Britain (~215), France (~300), China (~270), and Israel (~80) have a similar number of weapons but have been maintaining relatively constant arsenals (2). Estimates of the numbers of warheads possessed by India and Pakistan are based on the capacity of delivery systems that can be observed from remote sensing, rather than on the amount of enriched uranium and plutonium fuel that the countries may have produced.
Riaz Haq said…
A #Nuclear War Between #India and #Pakistan Could Kill Twice As Many People As #WWII , Study Finds

The immediate effects of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan could cause up to 125 million deaths, a new study published in Science Advances has found. That's 2.5 times the fatalities of the Second World War, when an estimated 50 million people were killed as a direct consequence of military action.

The study, co-authored by researchers at Rutgers University, quantifies just how catastrophic a nuclear conflict between the two nations would be. In addition to the 100 million-plus death toll in the immediate aftermath, the study authors warn we could expect global vegetation growth to decline 20 to 35 percent as ocean productivity fell 5 to 15 percent⁠—a result that would cause mass starvation, ecosystem disruption and more deaths. It could take over a decade to fully recover from the impacts, they say.

"Nine countries have nuclear weapons, but Pakistan and India are the only ones rapidly increasing their arsenals," said Alan Robock, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University—New Brunswick.

"Because of the continuing unrest between these two nuclear-armed countries, particularly over Kashmir, it is important to understand the consequences of a nuclear war."

Ads by
Indeed, only last week in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed for international support against India's decision to remove semi-autonomous status from its share of Kashmir last month and impose a lockdown on the majority Muslim population—stressing the threat of nuclear war.

"If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen," said Khan. "But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbor is faced with the choice: either you surrender, or you fight for your freedom till death, what will we do?"

"I ask myself this question and my belief is la ilaha illallah, there is no god but one, and we will fight. And when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will consequence far beyond the borders."

Robock et al.'s calculations are based on a potential war scenario for 2025, when it is estimated the two countries could have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons between them. Each nuke could have an explosive power between 15 kilotons—equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, i.e. the same size as the "Little Boy" that fell on Hiroshima in 1945—and a few hundred kilotons, the researchers say. The largest known nuclear weapon in existence today, the Tsar Bomba, far exceeds those considered in the study with an explosive power of 50 megatons.

The researchers conclude that were India to release 100 strategic weapons in a nuclear conflict and Pakistan 150, the number of fatalities caused by the initial effects could total 50 million to 125 million people—the exact size depends on the size of the weapons used. For context, an estimated 50 million people were killed in the Second World War, although that number excludes those who died from disease and starvation. Many more would die from the mass starvation that would almost certainly follow, they add.

Riaz Haq said…
A #Nuclear War Between #India and #Pakistan Could Kill Twice As Many People As #WWII , Study Finds

Starvation is likely because the explosions would cause fires that could, between them, release 16 million to 35 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. This soot would absorb solar radiation and heat the air, which would then cause the smoke to rise further, blocking our sun's light so that 20 to 35 percent less would fall on the Earth. This would trigger a period of global cooling—resulting in a nuclear winter—that would see surface temperatures drop 3.6 F to 9 F to levels not seen on Earth since the last ice age. We could also see global precipitation levels plummet 15 to 30 percent, affecting some regions more than others, the study's authors conclude.

As a result, they predict 15 to 30 percent less vegetation growth and a 5 to 15 percent decline in ocean productivity worldwide.

"Such a war would threaten not only the locations where bombs might be targeted but the entire world," said Robock.

"I think we have been lucky in the 74 years since that last nuclear war that we have not had another due to mistakes, panic, misunderstanding, technical failures or hacking," Robock told Newsweek.

"If the weapons exist, they can be used. And the ongoing conflict in Kashmir has the potential to escalate."

Neither party is likely to initiate a nuclear conflict without major provocation, the study's authors wrote. However, they did warn of a new Cold War.

"India and Pakistan may be repeating the unfortunate example set by the United States and Russia during the 'Cold War' era: that is, building destructive nuclear forces far out of proportion to their role in deterrence," they write.
Riaz Haq said…
#Nagaland leader Muivah wary of #India after #Kashmir status scrapped, says #NewDelhi's abrupt decision to revoke #Article370 'unacceptable'. Wants Nagalim to include all Naga-majority parts of #Manipur, #Assam, #ArunachalPradesh #Modi #Hindutva @AJENews

'Divisions among rebel ranks'
Alex Waterman, a research fellow at the University of Leeds, said that bilateral talks have suited New Delhi's interests.

"This meant the [Naga] parties were divided and couldn't bring combined clout to the negotiating table," he told Al Jazeera referring to divisions among rebel ranks.

"It also suited the NSCN-IM, as it has needed to be able to stake the claim that its peace process is the only legitimate one to fend off rival factions and consolidate its 'government' in its areas of influence."

But now, Muivah alleges, the government has gone back on its commitment.

Despite repeated requests, government interlocutor and current Nagaland Governor RN Ravi declined to give a comment to Al Jazeera.

On the face of it, NSCN-IM demand for an integrated Nagalim goes head to head with Modi's vision of "one nation one constitution".

Soon after independence from Britain in 1947, India integrated about 500 provinces and princely states but some of them joined on the condition that they would be accorded special rights. Hence India's constitution guaranteed limited autonomy to some northeast states as well as disputed Kashmir region.

Senior journalist Bharat Bhushan says the Modi government is "keen on forging India as a unitary state".

"Our federalism is asymmetric as there are special constitutional provisions for different states. However, keen on forging India as a unitary state, the present political dispensation in Delhi seeks uniformity in dealing with all the states of the union in the same manner," he told Al Jazeera.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan PM #ImranKhan blasts #media 'double standard' over #HongKong protests. #HK "is a part of #China, but this (#Kashmir) is a disputed territory". "The story of barbarism (in Kashmir) hardly gets reported in international media," via @Yahoo

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan accused international media Friday of a "double standard", saying news outlets give more prominence to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong than to the situation in disputed Kashmir.

Khan, who returned this week from a trip to Beijing, also told a crowd of roughly 300 people at a rally in Islamabad that Hong Kong "is a part of China, but this (Kashmir) is a disputed territory".

"The story of barbarism (in Kashmir) hardly gets reported in international media," Khan said.

"So I want to put this double standard in front of the world."

Hong Kong has been battered by 18 consecutive weekends of unrest, fanned by widespread public anger over Chinese rule and the police response to protests.

While for more than two months now Indian-held Kashmir has been under a security lockdown after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status.

The move has angered nuclear arch-rival Pakistan, which also administers part of the territory and, like India, claims it in full.

Khan appeared to minimise the impact of the Hong Kong protests.

"As far as I know, till now only a few people have been injured, maybe two or three people have been killed due to accidents" in the strife-torn city, he said.

But in Kashmir, he said, "eight million" people were living under curfew, while "100,000" have been killed in the past three decades.

Hundreds have been wounded in the four months of clashes in Hong Kong. One death has been linked to the unrest, when a demonstrator protesting on the side of a building fell during a botched rescue attempt.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed since the Kashmir insurgency erupted in the 1980s. New Delhi puts the toll at 47,000, while rights groups hover around 70,000.

The curfew is no longer in place there, though tens of thousands of extra security forces are still in place, some restrictions on movement remain and communications are still largely blacked out.

Khan, whose government has been criticised for shrinking press freedoms in recent months, also expressed his frustration with the global community, which has historically stayed out of Kashmir.

"I regret that the world only sees that (India) is a country with one billion (people), so they can trade and make money from them, and money is more important for these countries then humans," he said.

Riaz Haq said…
Economist Jean Dreze contests #AmitShah (#Modi's partner in crime) with #Gujarat data. Dreze showed how Jammu and #Kashmir outscored Gujarat on the basis of a raft of #development indices.

“I want to tell the people of Jammu and Kashmir what damage Articles 370 and 35A has done to the state,” Shah had told the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

“It’s because of these sections that democracy was never fully implemented and corruption increased in the state; no development could take place…. The Ayushman Bharat scheme is there but where are the hospitals? Where are the doctors and nurses? Those supporting 35A, please tell me which famous doctor will go and live there and practise? He can’t own land or a house, nor can his children vote.”

Ambedkar University student Sweta Dash tweeted a video of Dreze explaining how, “in almost any economic or social indicator, Jammu and Kashmir is way ahead of Gujarat”.

Dreze attributed this to “extensive land reforms in the 1950s” and asserted: “It is Article 370 that made these land reforms possible.”

The economist cited 2015-2016 figures of life expectancy, under-five mortality rate, total fertility rate and the percentages of girls aged 15-19 with eight years of schooling, underweight children, adult women with low body mass index and fully immunised children.

He also cited 2011-12 figures for rural poverty and the wages of rural labourers. Kashmir scored better than Gujarat in all the indices.

Dreze told The Telegraph: “The basic point is that Jammu and Kashmir had its own Constitution, making it possible to expropriate the big landowners and redistribute their land without compensation. Under the Indian Constitution, that would not have been permitted.”

In the footnote to his essay, “Dr Ambedkar and the future of Indian democracy”, Dreze had written: “The Constitution of India could have provided for radical land reform. In the initial scheme of things, however, property was a fundamental right, making land reform very difficult.

“In contrast, extensive land reforms took place in the early 1950s in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), where it was possible to expropriate the landlords without compensation.

“Radical land reforms in J&K were immensely popular and laid a lasting basis for a relatively prosperous and egalitarian rural economy, with very low poverty rates by Indian standards.

“Beyond land reform, government policy in J&K before 1956 (when the Constitution of J&K was ratified) was strongly influenced by Naya Kashmir, the socialist manifesto adopted by the National Conference in 1944.”

The essay is part of The Radical in Ambedkar, edited by Suraj Yengde and Anand Teltumbde, who is out on bail in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case of an alleged conspiracy with Maoists to incite violence and target Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The book was published last year.
Riaz Haq said…
#Gandhi: "The real sovereign of the State are the people of the State. If the ruler is not the servant of the people then he is not the ruler..The people of #Kashmir should be asked whether they want to join #Pakistan or #India. Let them do as they want."

The Wire brings you a short excerpt from Gandhi’s prayer discourse of July 29, 1947, from The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 88, as published online by the Gandhi Heritage Portal.

Kashmir has a Maharaja and also the subjects of the Maharaja. I am not going to suggest to the Maharaja to accede to India and not to Pakistan. This is not my intention. The real sovereign of the State are the people of the State. If the ruler is not the servant of the people then he is not the ruler. This is my belief and that is why I became a rebel because the British claimed to be the rulers of India and I refused to recognise them as rulers. Now they are about to leave India…

So long the Maharaja of Kashmir could do as he liked under the protection of the Viceroy. Now the power belongs to the people…In Kashmir shawl-making, embroidery, etc., are well-developed handicrafts. The charkha has also done good work there. The poor people of Kashmir know me.

The people of Kashmir should be asked whether they want to join Pakistan or India. Let them do as they want. The ruler is nothing. The people are everything. The ruler will be dead one of these days but the people will remain.
Riaz Haq said…
Aakarvani : World is taking note that new India is not living up to its image. #Modi wants to screw #minorities with the entire #Indian polity from #government to #judiciary playing along but still wants to retain #India's image as tolerant and peaceful.
Happenings in America expose a fundamental hypocrisy about this new India of ours. We want to screw over our minorities but also want to retain our image as tolerant and peaceful. This is not going to be possible unfortunately, given the transparency and viciousness with which we are going about our atrocities. With the entire Indian polity from government to judiciary playing along, it is only natural that the world will observe and object.

India’s response after the shellacking we received in the US Congress on the issues of Assam and Kashmir was predictably defensive and petty. In pushing back against the accusation that we were manhandling our own people, the foreign ministry moaned about cross border terrorism and whined about Pakistan not getting criticised sufficiently. And then we strut about the world pretending to be a great power.

It was excruciating to watch the studied clarity with which the American legislators arrived at an understanding of what India was doing to Muslims in Assam. The national register of citizens (NRC) was aimed at identifying who was not Indian? Correct. The absolute requirement was a full set of documents? Correct. The burden of proof for this was on the individual and not the state? Correct. Those who were suspected to be without them were locked up by India in concentration camps? Correct. There was a law that specifically excluded all but Muslims from these jails? Correct. Was it a “crackpot” idea or a serious legislation? It was a serious legislation.

Even the bureaucrats of the Trump administration, wheeled out to defend India against this reckless slander from the liberals, found it impossible to. This is how the Citizenship Amendment Bill — which excludes only South Asia’s Muslims from getting Indian citizenship while offering it by default to Hindus, Sikhs and others — was discussed in a report. The co-chair of the India caucus (India’s friend) Brad Sherman commented that “human rights abuse doesn’t cease to be human rights abuse just because it is consistent with law”.

He then sought a clarification whether there was a Bill in the Indian Parliament that seeks to discriminate against Muslims on the issue of citizenship.

Assistant secretary Robert Destro acknowledged that the Bill gave a presumption of citizenship to all religious groups but leaves Muslims out. “Is this a serious legislative proposal or just a crackpot idea going nowhere?” an astonished Sherman asked. Destro said that it was indeed “a serious legislative proposal”, but “thankfully, it is not going through the Upper House”.

Sherman demanded to know whether the US had condemned the concept of defining someone’s legal rights obligations based on their religion. To this Destro replied that “we are doing it right here. This is a good opportunity to do it.”

Destro commented that most religious groups are not discriminated against, but there was pressure to make special rules for Muslims for which US administration was “calling them out”. “India’s Constitution provides for secularism and we want the same to continue,” he added. And there were other equally damaging revelations about what we were doing to Kashmiris.
Riaz Haq said…
Narendra Modi’s India
The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies.
By Dexter Filkins

When (Rana) Ayyub and the photographer were detained at the hospital in Srinagar, I found a hiding place across the street, screened by a wall and a fruit vender; Ayyub would have faced serious repercussions if she was found to have snuck in a foreigner. After about an hour, they emerged. Ayyub said that an intelligence officer had questioned them intently, then released them with an admonition: “Don’t come back.”

The next morning, we drove to the village of Parigam, near the site of the suicide attack that prompted Modi’s air strikes against Pakistan. We’d heard that Indian security forces had swept through the town and detained several men. The insurgency has broad support in the villages outside the capital, and the road to Parigam was marked by the sandbags and razor wire of Indian Army checkpoints. For most of the way, the roads were otherwise deserted.

In the village, Ayyub stopped the car to chat with locals. Within a few minutes, she’d figured out whom we should talk to first: Shabbir Ahmed, the proprietor of a local bakery. We found him sitting cross-legged on his porch, shelling almonds into a huge pile. In interviews, Ayyub slows down from her usual debate-team pace; she took a spot on the porch as if she had dropped by for a visit. Ahmed, who is fifty-five, told her that, during the sweeps, an armored vehicle rumbled up to his home just past midnight one night. A dozen soldiers from the Rashtriya Rifles, an élite counter-insurgency unit of the Indian Army, rushed out and began smashing his windows. When Ahmed and his two sons came outside, he said, the soldiers hauled the young men into the street and began beating them. “I was screaming for help, but nobody came out,” Ahmed said. “Everyone was too afraid.”

Ahmed’s sons joined us on the porch. One of them, Muzaffar, said that the soldiers had been enraged by young people who throw rocks at their patrols. They dragged Muzaffar down the street toward a mosque. “Throw stones at the mosque like you throw stones at us,” one of the soldiers commanded him.

Muzaffar said that he and his brother, Ali, were taken to a local base, where the soldiers shackled them to chairs and beat them with bamboo rods. “They kept asking me, ‘Do you know any stone throwers?’—and I kept saying I don’t know any, but they kept beating me,” he said. When Muzaffar fainted, he said, a soldier attached electrodes to his legs and stomach and jolted him with an electrical current. Muzaffar rolled up his pants to reveal patches of burned skin on the back of his leg. It went on like that for some time, he said: he would pass out, and when he regained consciousness the beating started again. “My body was going into spasms,” he said, and began to cry.

After Muzaffar and Ali were released, their father took them to the local hospital. “They have broken my bones,” Muzaffar said. “I can no longer prostrate myself before God.”

It was impossible to verify the brothers’ tale, but, as with many accounts that Ayyub and I heard in the valley, the anguish was persuasive. “I am a slightly more civilized version of these people,” Ayyub told me. “I see what’s happening—with the propaganda, with the lies, what the government is doing to people. Their issues are way more extensive—their lives. But I have everything in common with these people. I feel their pain.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Kashmir #HumanRights film "No Fathers in Kashmir" divides #UK’s #Indian and #Pakistani communities. The film is about #British-#Kashmiri teenage girl whose father is killed after being taken away by #Indian soldiers for interrogation. #Modi #Article370

Ahvin Kumar, director of No Fathers in Kashmir, says it shows the plight of families and people in Britain must not ignore their suffering

A controversial film highlighting “disappearances” in Kashmir that premieres in Britain this week has led to fears of heightened tension between the country’s Indian and Pakistani communities.

No Fathers in Kashmir tells the story of a British-Kashmiri teenage girl who travels to the Indian Himalayan state to search for her father, only to discover that he “disappeared” and was then killed after being taken away by Indian soldiers for interrogation.

The film is set against the backdrop of the continuing turmoil in Indian-administered Kashmir and vividly addresses the contentious issue of human rights violations that are alleged to have been committed by security forces as they battle to suppress a popular insurgency that has raged for the past 30 years.

According to human rights campaigners, an estimated 8,000 people have “disappeared” during this time.

The film, partly funded by a group of British Kashmiris, opens in Bradford followed by screenings in London and other cities where there is a substantial South Asian population.

Last year, Kashmir exploded into renewed turmoil after the Indian government revoked its special status and placed it in lockdown. Known as Article 370, the move stripped away the autonomy Kashmir had been granted in exchange for joining the Indian union after independence in 1947. Another part of the state remained within Pakistan. Both countries claim it as their own.

The move prompted anger in Britain and protests outside the Indian High Commission, which resulted in violence, vandalism and several arrests. Demonstrations were also held in other cities, including Birmingham and Manchester.

Of the 1.1 million British Pakistanis, more than one million originate from the part of Kashmir governed by Pakistan. While there are no official figures for the number of Indian Kashmiris in Britain, the overall British Indian community numbers almost 1.4 million people, and support for India’s position is strong among some sections of that community.

Sabir Gull, a senior member of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, which was founded in Birmingham in 1977 and campaigns for the state’s independence, said: “We don’t want this film to create more problems but there’s no getting away from the fact that it definitely could – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown.

“Kashmir is a sensitive matter for both British Indian and Pakistani communities. Drawing attention to human rights violations through film or any other medium is giving the oppressed a voice. Disappearances and the other crimes that have been committed against the Kashmiri people will not go away if we bury our heads in the sand. At the end of the day, we are all British but we can’t ignore what’s going on.”

Kuldeep Shekhawat, head of the UK branch of the Overseas Friends of the BJP, which supports India’s governing party and aims to increase its popularity among British Indians, said: “This film does not serve any purpose. It will just inflame hostility and tension. Things were difficult enough last year between the two communities but have calmed down a lot since then. If Kashmir is an issue then it is between India and Pakistan. We are all British here, so why should we be getting so obsessed with Kashmir?

Riaz Haq said…
#India’s nationalist TV anchors are silent on Davinder Singh. From Arnab Goswami to Sudhir Chaudhary, all are concerned more about ‘dreaded’ student protesters than a police officer being caught with militants allegedly planning #terror attack in #Kashmir.

In one of the most sensational stories to have come out of Kashmir in recent times, a police officer was arrested on Saturday along with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, one of whom is wanted for killing migrant workers.

Davinder Singh is a deputy superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir police. He has served as a counterinsurgency specialist for nearly two decades and has been awarded a gallantry medal. Preliminary investigations suggest Singh was acting as a “carrier” for the militants and that he did it for money.

What makes this matter especially serious is a letter that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru had written to his lawyer Sushil Kumar from Tihar Jail in 2004. In it, Guru claimed it was Singh who had introduced him to one of the men who later attacked Parliament. Singh had asked him to arrange for a car and a place to stay for the attacker, Guru alleged. Singh later admitted to torturing Guru.

Cut to 2020, and Singh is caught with two militants who were allegedly on their way to carry out a terror attack on Republic Day in Delhi. Normally, a story of this import would be picked up by leading TV news channels on primetime, especially our nationalist news anchors.

One could go so far as to imagine that it would be used to denounce the ongoing protests by students and other Indians against the citizenship law. You would expect your favourite nationalist news anchor to go ballistic, screaming something like: “TERRORISTS CAUGHT on their way to attack India. What DOES Kanhaiya Kumar HAVE TO SAY NOW?!?! Does he SUPPORT THEM??”

Oddly, there was no such clownery on TV over the past two days. Instead, our nationalist anchors completely ignored the story.

On Times Now, Arnab Goswami’s prodigal disciple, Navika Kumar, and Arnab-lite Rahul Shivshankar (RSS), kept busy talking about the “distressing” Jamia protests, which have apparently taken a radical Islamic turn.
Riaz Haq said…
Chomsky: #India's Symptoms Of #Fascism: “Well, I mean, the whole institutional structure of India, plus the great mass of the Hindu population, is evidently very supportive of the undermining of Kashmiri autonomy and opening up to Indian settlement” #Modi

Chomsky: I don’t think its true that the middle-class (in India) has gained, its basically stagnating, the figures are pretty clear on that. As I say, in the United States, which is one of the most effective economies, its basically been no gains in 40 years for working people and petty bourgeouise. They are angry. And the anger can be exploited by somebody like Trump, who says its not your fault, it’s the fault of poor people, it’s the blacks, or Hispanics, or muslims. And Modi does the same thing. Turn the attention to extreme Hindu nationalism. They are taking our country away from us, get rid of these muslims.

Chomsky: "Yea, the support for what Modi did in Kashmir is overwhelming among the Hindu population."
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan equestrian Usman Khan from #Lahore rides his horse named Azad Kashmir to #Olympics2020. At #Tokyo 2020, Pakistan's first rider to qualify for the Games will compete with horse named after the disputed #Himalayan region of #Kashmir. @AJEnglish

Usman Khan was seven when he first started horse riding. His father, a military officer at the time, would take him and his younger brother, Salman, for lessons at the Cavalry Ground army riding school in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore.

"Growing up, I always wanted to do something as an athlete for Pakistan," Khan, the country's top equestrian athlete, told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Melbourne, Australia, where he resides.

"I wanted to be able to compete at the Olympic level, but motivation has always been about Pakistan," the equestrian holding dual nationalities said.

Equestrian is considered an elitist sport in Pakistan, unheard of by many. Yet, it is one of a handful of sporting events in which the cricket-loving South Asian nation will be represented at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which kick off in the Japanese capital in July.

Khan and his horse, Azad Kashmir - named after the Muslim-majority Himalayan region administered by Pakistan - secured their maiden Olympic spot in the individual eventing discipline in December, becoming the first Pakistani to do so.

For the 38-year-old rider, it was a culmination of a 15-year struggle that has taken a physical and financial toll on him.

The challenges have been countless, he said.

"When you choose a very unpopular sport in Pakistan, and it's a very expensive sport ... When you make a decision like that, you have to do it all by yourself."

Khan went to a university in Adelaide and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Geographical Information System, but soon after switched gears and picked up eventing - an equestrian discipline which combines dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

In 2005, the Lahore-native left his master's research scholarship in Geography and Environmental Sciences at Melbourne's Monash University to focus on his riding career, which was only brought to an abrupt halt in 2006 when he broke his leg, forcing him out of the sport for two years.

He resumed riding in 2008, but was broke and without any sponsors to support him.

For almost 15 years, the overseas Pakistani juggled riding with a day job working as an IT consultant to keep his Olympic dream alive.

He twice represented Pakistan at the Asian Games in 2014 and 2018 - another maiden feat for the country - and travelled across Australia to different International Federation for Equestrian (FEI) events.

He said he has spent approximately 3 million Australian dollars ($2m) from his personal savings to fund his athletic career.

His Olympic horse, Azad Kashmir, a 13-year-old New Zealand thoroughbred, alone cost him 110,00 Australian dollars ($74,000).
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian Occupied #Kashmir DSP #DavinderSingh, now suspended, has said he was part of a covert #intelligence operation that required him to ferry militants including #RiyazNaikoo who was recently killed by #India's military. via @ThePrintIndia

The arrested J&K deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Davinder Singh, has told investigators that he was part of a covert operation that required him to ferry militants to Jammu.

In his interrogation, DSP Singh has claimed that after ferrying Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Syed Naveed to Jammu, he intended to bring another of the organisation’s commanders, Riyaz Naikoo, there as well.

Sources told ThePrint that the arrested officer wanted his investigators to believe that he was part of a covert mission whose goal was the arrest or killing of the Hizbul militants.

The DSP is said to have told his interrogators that he was “building faith” with the militant group’s leadership, eventually prompting them to travel all the way to Jammu, which he wanted them to believe was safe for meetings.

Given his reputation as a counter-insurgent operative, investigators might have given the DSP the benefit of the doubt had it not been for the testimony of Naveed, whom the officer was ferrying, and the intelligence gathered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on the morning of his arrest.

Investigators are said to have indulged Singh during interrogation and even tried to find out if he indeed was part of an operation by finding out if the arrested officer had kept any of his superiors updated about the so-called operation.

His call records revealed that Singh was in touch with his superiors but even as information was being collected to find out if Singh’s superiors knew what the officer had been up to, a revelation by Naveed, who was being interrogated separately, undermined the officer’s narrative.

Riaz Haq said…
Prof Ashok Swain's tweet: My Piece which no one in India Published: #India must remember that #Balochistan is not #Bangladesh

Following Prime Minister Modi’s comments about Balochistan in his independence day speech, Ashok Swain warns that open support for Baloch separatists will not solve the Kashmir conflict. What is more, he writes that by threatening its neighbour’s territorial integrity India risks alienating key allies, and in the worst case scenario intervention could result in a nuclear conflict which would threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on 15 August 2016 raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. This has brought a new excitement in New Delhi, particularly among the right wing commentators as if India has finally found a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Since the death of a charismatic militant Burhan Wani in the hands of the security agencies on 8 July 2016, Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violent protest. Modi and his advisors hope that Kashmir unrest will come to an end if India starts spreading the fire in Balochistan. If Modi and his advisors really believe that the Balochistan threat will dissuade Pakistani agencies to stay out of Kashmir and the contested state will be peaceful forever, they are living in a cloud-cuckoo land. History shows that Pakistani military establishment does not succumb to Indian threats. Instead, it uses this threat to accumulate more power for itself. India’s direct support to the East Pakistan liberation movement, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, did not succeed in changing the perception of Pakistani agencies. It only exacerbated their paranoia towards India further.

In the last decade, while Western attention has been mostly on the Taliban, the separatist struggle is turning quite violent in this scarcely populated but mineral-rich province in the south west of Pakistan. The Baloch have waged two major violent ‘freedom’ struggles against the state: an uprising from 1973 to 1977, which was crushed by the Pakistani Army using brute force. The second ongoing struggle started in 2005.

It is no secret that India has been supporting the separatists in Balochistan in their fight again Pakistani military without openly admitting it. Baloch activists have repeatedly admitted of receiving India’s ‘moral’ support and a representative of Balochistan Liberation Organization (BLO) has been living in New Delhi since 2009. Pakistan has been regularly accusing India for using its consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar to fund, train and arm Baloch militants. A decade back, senior officials of Pakistan had even alleged that 600 Baloch tribals were being trained by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Afghanistan to handle explosives, engineer bomb blasts, and use sophisticated weapons.

Pakistan has failed to provide much proof about Indian involvement, however, according to 2010 WikiLeaks cables, US and British intelligence cautiously agrees with the Pakistani accusations. Last year, Pakistan had handed over a dossier to the UN Secretary General containing ‘evidence’ of Indian support to violence in Balochistan. In March this year, Pakistan claimed to arrest an alleged RAW operative from Balochistan. India has been always denied these accusations, but has continued to remain engaged unofficially. However, by openly committing India to Balochistan’s cause in his speech, Modi is likely to expose India’s geo-strategic limitations without gaining any additional advantage, and there is a lot to lose.
Riaz Haq said…
Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "Pakistan's Choice of Regional Economic Blocs: CARE...":

New #Nepal map heightens land dispute with #India. It shows a sliver of land - including Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani - jutting out from the northwestern tip of Nepal. #NepalIndiaBorder #LimpiyadhuraBelongsToNepal #kalapaniBelongsToNepal @AJENews

Nepal's communist Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has been under intense pressure from student groups and members of parliament to issue the new map since India inaugurated a controversial road this month.

On March 8, India opened an 80km (50-mile) road linking its northern state of Uttarakhand with Lipulekh on the border with Tibet across the controversial piece of land.

Nepal claims the territory under an 1816 treaty with the British East India Company, which sets the Kali river as its western boundary with India and says the land lying east of the river was its territory.

Nepalese officials said the exact size of the territory was being calculated.

A cabinet meeting on Monday decided to publish a new map that includes Lipulekh and zones in Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, Nepal's Law Minister Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe told AFP news agency.

The zones form a region of more than 300sq km (115sq miles) considered important because it is where the Nepalese and Indian borders touch China.

"Nepal will initiate dialogues with India simultaneously to resolve the boundary issue through diplomatic channels," she said.

'Unilateral act'
But India, which says the land is its territory, rejected Nepal's "unilateral act", saying it was not based on historical facts and evidence.

"It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue," India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

"Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India," he said.

India has stationed a security post in the Kalapani area since its border war with China in 1962.

India and Nepal had both shown Kalapani and Lipulekh in their political maps, but Nepal had not previously shown Limpiyadhura.

"It was an issue of contention when Nepal first drew its map in the 1970s, but it was decided that [the] Limpiyadhura area would be drawn after a discussion with India," border expert Buddhi Narayan Shrestha said.

Nepali officials said the new map will be printed in school and college textbooks and official documents and will be used for all administrative purposes.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan army chief warns #India: "#Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge the disputed status including any political cum military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might".

Pakistan's army on Sunday warned that any attempt to challenge the disputed status of Indian-administered Kashmir, including any move towards aggression, will be answered with full military might.

"Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge the disputed status including any political cum military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might," army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said while addressing troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) - a de facto border that divides the disputed Himalayan valley between the two nuclear rivals.

"Disturbing the strategic stability matrix in South Asia can lead to dire consequences," he cautioned, referring to New Delhi's scrapping of the disputed region's decades-long special status last August.

Bajwa, who spent Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with frontline soldiers at the Kashmir border, lauded their "professionalism, operational preparedness, and befitting response" to alleged violations of a 2003 ceasefire agreement by Indian border force.

"Pakistan Army is observing Eid solemnly in solidarity with Kashmiris under Indian occupation particularly since the Aug. 5 illegal, inhuman lockdown, and ensuing atrocities," he went on to say, according to a statement from the army.

India, he added, is trying to shift global attention away from "worsening humanitarian crisis and violence" in Kashmir to the Line of Control by "targeting innocent civilians."

"Pakistan Army is fully alive to the threat spectrum, and will remain ever ready to perform its part in line with national aspirations," he said.

He said he hoped the international community would weigh in to ensure freedom of movement for UN observers inside Indian-administered Kashmir, as ensured by Pakistan in its controlled part of the valley, "so that the tragic consequences of ongoing atrocities and inhuman clampdown inside occupied territory is reported to the United Nations Security Council and the world at large."

"Indian occupying forces can never suppress the valiant spirit of Kashmiris who rightfully await plebiscite under UN resolution. Regardless of ordeal, their struggle is destined to succeed, InshaAllah [God willing]," he concluded.

Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict in the region since 1989.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan factor behind #India-#China stand-off in #Ladakh. “There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year... Pakistan has become exceptionally important to China.." #CPEC The Hindu

China’s heightened concerns over Aksai Chin and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is routed, in part, through Gilgit-Baltistan, may have set the backdrop for the ongoing stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh.

“There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year and created the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India has always claimed Aksai Chin, but the issue appears to have been re-interpreted in China after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked,” says P. Stobdan, former ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, who specialises in trans-Himalayan studies.

Mr. Stobdan added that the CPEC — China’s strategic pathway to the Indian Ocean — which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan — has emerged as an entirely new factor, reinforcing and clubbing the already strong security relationship between China and Pakistan. “Pakistan has become exceptionally important to China as CPEC — which gives access to Gwadar port and helps Beijing reduce its vulnerability on the Americans who dominate Malacca Strait — is the gateway governing China’s international trade. The CPEC has imparted game-changing strategic ballast to the Sino-Pak relationship.”

The CPEC is “too big to fail,” as China has already staked its prestige in the enterprise, which has been showcased as the flagship of the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The CPEC plan was robustly challenged in the aftermath of the August 5 change in the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir, which covers Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Gilgit-Baltistan, on the corridor’s route. Speaking in the Lok Sabha on August 6 last year, Home Minister Amit Shah unambiguously nailed India’s claims over PoK and Aksai Chin.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it,” he said. For the record, Mr. Shah was echoing a February 1994 unanimous Parliament resolution that categorically stated that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and that Pakistan must vacate parts of the State under its occupation. Besides, a Parliament resolution passed on November 14, 1962, commits India to recover Aksai Chin and other areas of J&K occupied/annexed by China.
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump’s embrace of #Modi stokes India-China stand-off in #Ladakh. #India-#American analyst Ashley Tellis: "They #Chinese) think India is uppity, they think India is punching above its weight and they want to bring it down a notch or 2" via @financialtimes

The flare-up comes at a time of growing Chinese assertiveness, with Beijing stamping its dominance over Hong Kong and the South China Sea. Analysts said the confrontation in Ladakh reflected Beijing’s growing sense of grievance towards India, and its desire to reinforce New Delhi’s subordinate status.

“They think India is uppity, they think India is punching above its weight and they want to bring it down a notch or two,” said Ashley Tellis, an expert on Asian strategic competition at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. “They decided that they are going to punch India in the nose.”

New Delhi recently imposed blunt restrictions on Chinese investment in the country, and has been drawing ever closer to countries that Beijing considers hostile. Mr Trump’s invitation to India to participate in the upcoming G7 meeting drew scathing comment from the Global Times, a nationalistic Chinese tabloid.

“India has been active in many of US plans that target China,” Liu Zongyi, a South Asia expert at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the newspaper. “If India hastily joins a small circle that perceives China as an imaginary enemy, China-India relations will deteriorate.”

The border crisis has generated plenty of angst in New Delhi. According to independent Indian security analysts, India’s cancellation of its spring military training exercises in Ladakh due to coronavirus gave People’s Liberation Army troops the ideal opportunity to seize several positions long claimed and patrolled by India.

Indian army trucks near Pangong Lake. New Delhi has been trying to upgrade roads and military infrastructure on its side of the border © Manish Swarup/AP
Turf now held by Chinese soldiers includes positions in the Galwan Valley that overlook a new Indian highway built to supply New Delhi’s most forward military base at Daulat Beg Oldi.

“The Chinese have presented a fait accompli to India, and they are deeply entrenched and sitting pretty in vantage locations overlooking the highway, which is now in easy artillery range of the PLA,” said Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research.

China has not elaborated on the nature of the conflict, but last week Beijing permitted violent imagery from the Himalayas to pulse through the country’s highly censored social media networks. Posts labelled China-India border conflict have been viewed tens of millions of times.

The Global Times recently listed Beijing’s military hardware in the disputed region, including tanks, helicopters and drones, and quoted Chinese analysts who said the equipment “should give China the advantage in high-altitude conflicts should they arise”.

Anxious about a domestic backlash, New Delhi has publicly denied that Chinese troops have encroached on Indian-claimed territory. But a government official told the Financial Times that Chinese troops were “closer to our side of the line of actual control than they were two months ago”.

New Delhi is braced for a long stand-off. “There is a change in the status quo — the Chinese have changed their position and they have to go back,” the official said. But analysts are sceptical about New Delhi’s prospects of dislodging the Chinese troops without big concessions.

India has been working steadily to upgrade the roads and military infrastructure on its side of the border, which was traditionally far less developed than what China had built in its territory.

Riaz Haq said…
Here's Why All's Not Well for India on the Ladakh Front
The Chinese have created new facts on the ground and pushed the Indian political leadership to react in ways that will further disadvantage the Indian military.

Held in August and September (close to border with north Ladakh), the month-long Shaheen-VIII (China-Pakistan) joint exercise was reportedly most advanced. According to PLA commander, Xin Xin,

“The Shaheen series joint exercises started as one-on-one dog fight, but now it has evolved into systematic mock battles featuring more war planes, multiple military branches which include ground forces that deploy missiles and electronic counter-measures.”

Another commentary on this exercise noted that there were two opposing teams: Red team comprising the PLA Air Force, and Blue team constituted of PLAAF and Pakistan Air Force. The scope of such exercise does not require elaboration.

What could be the strategic, political, military and diplomatic objectives of the likely joint combat?

The Pakistan Army’s strategic objective for a localised war in north Ladakh could be to provide depth to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC);
The political objective could be to make India’s hold over the Kashmir Valley more tenuous;
The military objective could be to force the Indian Army out of the Siachen Glacier; and
The diplomatic objective could be to draw the international community’s attention to the possibility of a full-scale war between adversaries with nuclear weapons.
China is likely to endorse the above war objectives, as well as its participation with a caveat: the PLA will not use its kinetic war capabilities until attacked by the Indian military.
Riaz Haq said…
#China Government Think Tank CICIR Scholar: #India's revocation of Article 370 "has posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex" #Kashmir #Pakistan #Ladakh #Beijing

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government announced the abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to Indian-administered Kashmir, the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the establishment of two union territories, "Jammu and Kashmir" and "Ladakh." India's unilateral move to change the status quo of Kashmir constitutes a serious threat to regional peace and stability.

First, this has posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex.

For Pakistan, the ownership of Kashmir is a matter of the very foundation for building Pakistan. Pakistan was founded as "the home of Muslims in South Asia" and Kashmir is an area with a majority Muslim population, so the Pakistan side believes Kashmir is supposed to be one part of its territory. The whole of Pakistan was seething with anger over India's unilateral move to change the status quo of Indian-administered Kashmir. The Indian and Pakistani troops made separate platoon deployment near the Kashmir Line of Control, with the high-intensity confrontation lasting until now.

The Pakistani authorities, meanwhile, made frequent requests for the international community to keep a close watch and intervene on the Kashmir issue. More specifically, it accused the Indian authorities of massive human-rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir, which seriously affected India's image globally.

On the Chinese side, India "opened up new territory on the map," incorporated part of the areas under the local jurisdiction of Xinjiang and Tibet into its Ladakh union territory, and placed Pakistani-administered Kashmir within its so-called union territories of Jammu and Kashmir. This forced China into the Kashmir dispute, stimulated China and Pakistan to take counter-actions on the Kashmir issue, and dramatically increased the difficulty in resolving the border issue between China and India.

Just as what Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister, mentioned in his meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's moves challenged China's sovereign rights and interests and violated the agreement on maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas between the two countries. The Chinese side was seriously concerned about this. India's moves will have no effect on the Chinese side, nor will they change the fact that China exercises sovereignty over relevant territories and the status quo that China exercises effective jurisdiction.

Secondly, India used domestic legislation to deny the U.N.'s designation of Kashmir as a disputed region. The U.N. initiated active mediation over the war between India and Pakistan due to the ownership of Kashmir in 1947 and adopted resolutions 38, 39, 47 and 51 in the year 1948 alone, followed by several other resolutions.

The above resolutions suggest that the U.N. recognizes Kashmir as a region with undetermined status and that Kashmir is a disputed territory recognized by the international community. India substantially changed the status of Indian-administered Kashmir with domestic legislation and treated it as a general domestic provincial state unit. Such a unilateral move obviously violated the U.N. resolutions, but also altered Kashmir's status quo.

Riaz Haq said…
#UN Human Rights Chief Raises #Kashmir at Start of HRC Session, #India Regrets Mention of “incidents of military and police violence against civilians continue, including use of pellet guns, as well as incidents related to militancy”. #KashmiriLivesMatter

UN high commissioner for human rights Michele Bachelet has welcomed the release of some Jammu and Kashmir political leaders and the limited internet restoration in two Kashmir districts, but expressed concern that many still remained behind bars and called for the full reversal of the communication blockade in J&K.

At the start of the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Monday, Bachelet gave a “Global Human Rights Update” on the situation across the world, from China to Sri Lanka, Venezuela to the US.

In her section on India, Bachelet mentioned that in the last one year in Jammu and Kashmir, “incidents of military and police violence against civilians continue, including use of pellet guns, as well as incidents related to militancy”.

Kashmir and other human rights issues in India had also been part of Bachelet’s updates in previous sessions of the UNHRC.

She observed that changes in the constitutional status and domicile rules of J&K have generated “deep anxiety”. The new media policy unveiled by the J&K administration has also constricted the space for criticism, she noted. “…the space for political debate and public participation continues to be severely restricted, particularly since new media rules have prohibited vaguely defined ‘anti-national’ reporting,” she said.

During the changes in Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status in August 2019, most mainstream politicians were taken into custody. Some of the big names, like former chief ministers Omar and Farooq Abdullah have been released, but several, including Mehbooba Mufti, are still in detention.

“While I welcome the release of some political and community leaders, hundreds of people remain in arbitrary detention, with many habeas corpus petitions still pending – including those of many of Jammu and Kashmir’s political leaders,” stated Bachelet.
Riaz Haq said…
From Hindustan Times:

#China reiterates support for #Pakistan in its dispute over #Kashmir with #India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation. #Article370 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Ladakh

China on Saturday reiterated its support to Pakistan on its dispute over Kashmir with India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation in the Indian union territory at the centre of the conflict between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The situation in Kashmir was among several issues, likely topped by the death of nine Chinese personnel in a bomb blast in Dasu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan earlier this month, discussed at a meeting between Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held in Chengdu in southwest China on Saturday.


“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” a China-Pakistan joint statement issued after the meeting said.

The joint statement was first posted on the Pakistan foreign ministry website.

“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” the statement said.

China and Pakistan had voiced their strong opposition after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in August, 2019.

“Both sides underscored that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in the common interest of all countries. Both sides agreed on the need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” the statement said.

China also reiterated its “…firm support to Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence…”.

India had earlier rejected the reference to Kashmir by China and Pakistan, saying: “The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India.”


Qureshi and the head of Pakistan’s ISI chief, Faiz Hameed had rushed to China on Friday a week after the attack in Dasu.

Their visit has been linked to Islamabad’s efforts to assuage “iron brother” China that it will do more to protect Beijing’s wide-ranging interests, projects and Chinese personnel in Pakistan.

Remains of the nine Chinese personnel killed in the attack were returned to China in a chartered flight on Friday, hours after the two top Pakistani officials landed here for talks.

“The Pakistan side conveyed its profound condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families, emphasised that the sacrifices of Chinese nationals would not be in vain, and that China-Pakistan partnership would emerge stronger through this test,” the joint statement said.

Riaz Haq said…
'Asian Age' Kills Karan Thapar Column After Mention of '1947 Violence Against Jammu Muslims'
Shortly after his article questioning PM Modi's call for a 'partition horrors remembrance day' was published, the journalist said an editor called him to say the "owners have decided to put the column 'on hold'.

Mentioning the mass violence which took place against Muslims of Jammu during Partition has cost senior journalist Karan Thapar his fortnightly column in the Asian Age, in what appears to be the latest incident of capitulation on the part of an Indian media house to the majoritarian whims of the Narendra Modi government.

Thapar told The Wire that soon after his column “As I See It” was published on August 20, 2021, the national daily’s managing editor Kaushik Mitter informed him that the owners of the newspaper had instructed him to put his column “on hold”. He also said that Mitter explicitly told him that the owners of the daily feared a backlash for the last three paragraphs of the column in which he wrote of the violence against Muslims of Jammu during Partition – a well-documented chapter of history that eventually led to the mass displacement of the community from the region.

Thapar, a television journalist of many decades standing who now does a regular show for The Wire called ‘The Interview’, had been writing ‘As I See It’ in the Asian Age for the past 10 months at the newspaper’s invitation. In this time, he has been writing critically on the policies of the Narendra Modi-led government, including its Hindu-majoritarian social and political agenda.

In what has become his last column, he argued that Modi’s recent announcement to remember August 14 – also Pakistan’s Independence Day – as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ was specifically intended to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment in India, while the fact remained that “Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims suffered equally” on both sides of the border.

While citing examples of Armistice Day in Britain, Holocaust Day in Israel, Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, and even Thanksgiving Day in America, which are intended to bring people together against past mistakes, Thapar expressed the view that the prime minister’s move served the purpose of polarising people of India on religious lines.

In an effort to establish that all communities bore the brunt of xenophobic violence during the Partition, he reminded his readers of the large number Muslims who were killed or displaced from Jammu in the sectarian violence of 1947.

“At the time, Jammu was a Muslim-majority city. Yet literally in weeks communal riots, mass killings and forced migration turned it into a Hindu-majority one. Both contemporary accounts and those of historians put the numbers killed or expelled in hundreds of thousands,” Thapar wrote in his column headlined ‘Horrors of 1947 Partition: A selective remembrance?’

He went on to cite multiple sources that documented the anti-Muslim violence in Jammu, including reports from The Spectator that quoted none other than Mahatma Gandhi, reports in The Statesman, and articles by eminent scholars Arjun Appadurai and Arien Mack, and former chief information commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah.

Quoting from these sources, he estimated that anywhere between two to five lakhs Muslims were killed, and many more displaced in Jammu, in violence allegedly perpetrated by Hindus and Sikhs with tacit support from the state authorities. Thapar goes on to say that columnist Swaminathan Aiyar in a 2018 column for the Times of India claimed that the massacre of Jammu’s Muslims “far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later” in terms of scale.

Thapar then finished his article with a question: “Now that Mr. Modi wants to remember the horrors of partition, is this one of them?”

Riaz Haq said…
Book Excerpt (Aakar Patel's Price of the Modi Years): The Many Anti-Muslim Laws Brought in By the Modi Government
While the Citizenship Amendment Act rightly was criticised around the world for specifically targeting Muslims along with the NRC pincer, other laws India has passed since 2014 have not received as much notice.

These are those laws the Modi years have given us:

1. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015

Under this law anyone found in possession of beef would be jailed for up to five years. It also banned the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and calves in addition to the existing ban on cow slaughter.

2. The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015

Possession of beef punishable by up to five years in jail. Sale of cows for slaughter to another state punishable by seven years in jail. Cow slaughter would attract jail of up to 10 years. The burden of proof would be on the accused.

3. The Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2017

This law extended the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life. It allows permanent forfeiture of vehicles transporting animals except under prescribed conditions. It also increased the fine from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Minister of state for home Pradipsinh Jadeja said the logic was to equal cow slaughter with murder.

4. The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020 repealed the 1964 law which allowed the slaughter of bullocks.

It made cow slaughter punishable by up to seven years. Purchase, sale, disposal or transport of cattle outside the state except in prescribed manner would be punishable by five years in jail. Fines of up to Rs 10 lakh are also imposed.

The Maharashtra law has this clause: “9B. Burden of proof on accused. In any trial … the burden of proving that the slaughter, transport, export outside the State, sale, purchase or possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock was not in contravention of the provisions of this Act shall be on the accused.”

Meaning that you are guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent. If you are found with a bloody knife next to a corpse, you are presumed innocent. It is the State that has to demonstrate that you committed murder. But if you are found with or found near meat and accused of possessing beef you are presumed guilty of possessing beef till you disprove this to the satisfaction of the State. This is an invitation to violence. Two weeks after Maharashtra, on 17 March 2015, Haryana under the BJP passed its law criminalising possession of beef. The law has this section: ‘No person shall directly or indirectly sell, keep, store, transport or offer for sale or cause to be sold beef or beef products.’ Burden of proof was reversed here also. Punishment is up to five years.

While the Citizenship Amendment Act rightly was criticised around the world for specifically targeting Muslims along with the NRC pincer, other laws India has passed since 2014 have not received as much notice. The judiciary has been supine and allowed a de facto Hindu Rashtra to emerge through legislation. These laws have been written and passed and are being applied across India, targeting Indian Muslims, brutalising them constantly, while a demented media and a bored public have looked away.

Aakar Patel is Chair of Amnesty International India and author of Our Hindu Rashtra. His Price of the Modi Years will be released on November 14.

Riaz Haq said…
University Of California, San Diego Drops Author Saiba Verma From Curriculum

In a statement the UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies Program has stated that Saiba Varma’s courses have been dropped. Daughter of a RAW officer, Saiba Varma has authored, 'The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir,'

The Critical Gender Studies program at UCSanDiego has disaffiliated itself from the author of The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir, Dr Saiba Varma. The critical book by Varma was published by Duke University in the US and Yoda Press in India.

In a statement the UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies Program says, responding to the calls by Kashmiri scholars and activists to repudiate Dr. Varma’s research as part of a broader struggle “against an intensifying Indian settler-colonial rule in Kashmir since 2019, a crackdown against social media communications, and a pattern of arrests of prominent activists in recent months,” CGS has disaffiliated from Dr Varma, meaning that her courses will no longer count toward our major or minor.

“This may be a small act in the scheme of things, but we believe it is a necessary one as we work through our complicities and think seriously about who we must prioritize in our claims of accountability,” the statement reads.

Dr Saiba Varma, Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department and a former CGS Executive Committee member and Faculty Affiliate, came under severe criticism in September last year after her book The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir came to fore.

In the introduction of the book the author says, “Borrowing and extending techniques from British colonial rule, the Indian state enacted the world’s most established, sophisticated, and pervasive systems of emergency rule and legislation and repeatedly criminalized pro-independence demands as ‘conspiracies’ and ‘anti-national.’ The Indian state’s global image as ‘the world’s largest democracy,’ a generous aid donor, and non-interventionist actor have helped disguise its military excesses in Kashmir and other border regions.”

“As an upper-caste and upper-class Indian citizen and subject, I have actively and passively internalized anti-Muslim racism my entire life. I am complicit in the colonization of Kashmir and other regions forcibly incorporated into the Indian nation-state.”

“As Stuart Hall once powerfully stated, there is no such thing as an innocent discourse. To add: there is no such thing as an innocent Indian. In other words, there is no innocent way for any other scholar of Indian origin, including myself, to engage with Kashmir (or any of the other colonialisms underway in the subcontinent) without acknowledging our own embeddedness in histories of violence and harm.”

She, however, was accused of hiding her familial ties while doing research in Kashmir. The author’s father being an officer with Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), who was posted in the Valley in the 90s created a Twitter storm around the book.

In a statement titled “CGS Executive Committee's Statement Regarding Former CGS Faculty Affiliate, Dr. Saiba Varma” the UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies Program says, “ understands the study of gender to be inextricably bound up with the interlocking systems of race, class, sexuality and nationalism.” “New faculty on the current Executive Committee bring commitments that are focused explicitly on ethically, intellectually, politically, and spiritually supporting the freedoms of all people.”

Riaz Haq said…
‘The Kashmir Files is a propaganda movie’: Former R&AW chief A.S Dulat

Former R&AW chief A.S. Dulat, while commenting on the recently released Vivek Agnihotri directorial film, The Kashmir Files, has said that he doesn’t intend to watch it.

“I don’t see propaganda. And it is a propaganda movie,” he said.
“Many Pandits who chose to stay behind were protected by Muslims in 1990s. Many Kashmiri Pandit families did stay back. Even after the abrogation of Article 370, the Pandits have not been targeted,” Dulat said.

When asked about Jagmohan, the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, he said that when he was governor from August 1989 to January 1990, the situation had changed dramatically by the time he returned.

“The Kashmir that he came back to after four or five months, it was totally different from the Kashmir he had left. He was quite shaken himself,” he said.

“When these killings started, he didn’t want the pandits to bear the brunt of it. So once they started leaving, he was quite happy,” Dulat implied that Jagmohan was relieved when the Kashmiri Pandit migration from Kashmir began.

“It was a natural reaction. If they are leaving, ‘Good.’ There was no way that we could provide any protection to them because things were so bad,” he added.

The pandit migration began soon after the 1990 killings, according to Dulat. Rich KPs travelled to Delhi, while those who had nowhere else to go sought refuge in Jammu’s camps. Dulat also said that Kashmiri Muslims who could afford it left for locations like Delhi. They returned when things seemed to be improving.
Riaz Haq said…
Disturbing Reality of #Modi’s #India: #Indian Army has killed tens of thousands of #Kashmiri #Muslims, disappeared thousands, and there's extremely high incidence of rape used as a “counterinsurgency tactic” to “create a climate of fear.” @NewYorker

America is a champion of human rights and humanity, so it was important to go there—because I was fully aware, and I’m telling it for the first time on record, that if I started screening the film in India, it would instantly become political. And I wanted to focus on humanity. So we travelled, me and my wife, for almost two months in the U.S. There was a congressional reception at the Capitol. We were invited to all these places. I made a lot of speeches. All my speeches were about humanity and oneness.

Who hosted the congressional reception?

Raja Krishnamoorthi [a Democratic congressman from Illinois] came and gave a speech. Mark Warner, who is a co-chair of the India Caucus, and a Democratic senator, was also involved in that. Then thirty-six organizations of different ethnicities came together and said that we will do the logistics, and my production house did the funding. Thirty-six organizations, including Jewish associations, Christian organizations, Muslims from Syria, Muslims from Afghanistan—all these people came together and we showed it to people in jam-packed houses. [A spokesman for Krishnamoorthi said that the congressman hadn’t seen “The Kashmir Files” or praised it, adding that Krishnamoorthi “remains deeply concerned by the recent increase in communal tensions in India, including the anti-Muslim hate speech and violence which have been inspired by the film.” Warner’s spokeswoman said that he hadn’t seen the movie, either, and that he understood the event, which he did not attend, to have been a celebration of the contributions made by the Indian American Kashmiri-Pandit community.

Then these people started raising funds and they put up a big billboard in Times Square for India’s Republic Day, which is the 26th of January. It created a lot of word of mouth and a euphoria on social media, because all the Indian diaspora in the U.S.—they started writing to their friends, family, parents in India. This film had zero marketing budget, zero—not even one penny was spent on marketing. And then all these people started promoting the film. The studio releasing it [in India] had no faith in the film, so they released it on four hundred screens, which became six hundred screens. And then the next day, on public demand, suddenly it became one thousand, two thousand screens. [Zee Studios, which distributed the film, said that it did invest in marketing for the movie, and that the rollout had been “a pre-decided business strategy” made in agreement with Agnihotri.]

It became part of mainstream discourse. Then obviously the politicians got involved in this because it’s their voters, their constituencies, talking. And then Prime Minister Modi made a comment. [Modi said, in part: “Instead of assessing the film on the basis of facts, a campaign is on to discredit it. The entire ecosystem opposes anyone who dares to show the truth. He tried to depict what he thought was the truth. But there is reluctance to understand or accept the truth.”] And, after the Prime Minister said that, then obviously the opposition jumped into it, and you know how it happened—then it’s like it’s not my film anymore. It’s owned by the people.
Riaz Haq said…
Disturbing Reality of #Modi’s #India: #Indian Army has killed tens of thousands of #Kashmiri #Muslims, disappeared thousands, and there's extremely high incidence of rape used as a “counterinsurgency tactic” to “create a climate of fear.” @NewYorker

And it was eventually declared that people could go see it tax free in a number of states, right?

Yeah. In India, there’s a tradition of making films tax free, those which are found useful to the society. So nothing unusual about it.

When you met with Modi and Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, what did they tell you about the film?

When you meet these kinds of people, they praise you for your effort. [Adityanath, who once formed a vigilante group to target Muslims, has referred to Muslims as a “crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped.”] It was impossible to make a film about the Kashmiri Hindu genocide. The reason was terrorism; everybody was scared. But then we decided to do it. People came to my office and hit my manager. I was heckled. So now the government of India has given me security. And this is exactly why people do not make movies on the Kashmiri Hindu genocide, because it is assumed that, if Hindus are in the majority in India, then they’re powerful everywhere, but this is wrong. When “Schindler’s List” was made, the whole world appreciated it and people said, “Yes, you brought the truth out.” But imagine making “Schindler’s List” when the Nazis were ruling. Imagine making it when Hitler was ruling. Now terrorism is ruling.

Sorry, just to clarify—you’re saying that making “Schindler’s List” when Hitler was ruling is akin to what’s happening now, because terrorists rule in India today?

Oh, of course. I don’t think there is any human being who’s going to appreciate the terrorist activities. Our film is very clearly about what happens when terrorism seeps in and when humanity is absent. And, therefore, the impact of the movie as desired by me as a filmmaker is exactly what is happening. People are crying, they’re hugging each other, they’re saying, “We are sorry.” And the whole entire India is coming together. And that’s why there is so much euphoria.

Do terrorists have that much power in modern-day India?

Of course. Yes. They are killing people every day. In Kashmir, there is a death threat on my name. Fatwa, it is called, f-a-t-w-a, which is an Islamic order to kill somebody. [A fatwa is a legal decree or opinion given by a jurist about a point of Islamic law. Instances in which they call for someone’s death are rare.] And so there’s a fatwa on my name. I cannot go there freely. Obviously, terrorists are having a good day there.

Is that changing? A character in the movie says that India finally has a Prime Minister who is feared rather than loved. Do you think that the Modi government has ushered in a new kind of India?

A lot has changed. Conversation was not acceptable, and for the first time the entire country has woken up to this truth. All the generation born after 1990 has no idea what happened over there.

But has Modi ushered in a new India?

The current government has abrogated Article 370.

In 2019.

Yeah, so he abrogated that. Once he abrogated that, suddenly the hope has come back. There was no hope before that. It means that, today, if anybody else from India wants to settle over there, he can. If the Kashmiri Hindus want to go back, they can. [Since 2019, New Delhi has implemented de-facto martial law and a communications blackout in Kashmir. More recently, an increase in violence against Hindus in the region has caused some returnees to flee again.]

What about the Muslims in Kashmir, where the Indian Army, which occupies Kashmir, is very brutal with the people—subjecting them to violence and rape. What do you think about that?

Riaz Haq said…
Disturbing Reality of #Modi’s #India: #Indian Army has killed tens of thousands of #Kashmiri #Muslims, disappeared thousands, and there's extremely high incidence of rape used as a “counterinsurgency tactic” to “create a climate of fear.” @NewYorker

You seem to be arguing that the “fake narrative” is pushed not just by the media but that professors and intellectuals have propagated a “fake narrative” of what happened in Kashmir.

Every single person we interviewed brought to our notice that they are a victim of two kinds of terrorism. One is terrorists with arms and the second terrorism is all these genocide deniers who are primarily influencers, intellectuals, people in the media, people in government, and lot of international press. So, the film basically focusses on how this genocide is being denied by the people who had the power to accept it and show compassion and empathy, and fight for their justice. But they denied these people even the acknowledgment. And, therefore, you can talk to any Kashmiri Hindu anywhere in the world, and he will tell you exactly the same thing—that they did not even acknowledge that anything like this happened. And, after this film, every single person is saying, “Yes, indeed, it was a genocide.” Even the deniers are accepting that it was a genocide. Their only complaint now is “Why aren’t we showing the other side of that story?” Because there is no other side to terrorism. It is evil. That’s it.

How much do you feel that your film is representative of this new India ushered in by Modi? I know you’re a supporter of the Prime Minister.

It’s important because the film is based on truth, absolute truth. In fact, as you call me, I’m walking into the British Parliament to give a speech. Before 2014, the Hindus were not feeling empowered. They were feeling weak. And now they are able to voice openly. But my filmmaking has got nothing to do with it.And supporting the Prime Minister doesn’t mean that my films have got anything to do with him. So correlating these two things—my films and the Prime Minister or the political party in power—would be, I think, a wrong comparison. “The Kashmir Files” is a soft, emotional film.

“A soft, emotional film.” Is that what you said?

It’s an emotional film. It’s got a more feature-film format rather than a harsh statement.

There is a scene in which a woman is forced to eat rice soaked in her husband’s blood.

Yeah. And we try to dilute them because the truth is harsher than that.

One thing I hear from supporters of Modi is that Hindus are now more willing to express so-called Hindu values and so on. Do you think that’s become easier?

Of course, of course. Definitely, it’s become easier because B.J.P. is not like Congress, which ignored the Hindu voice. So I think Modi has become a voice of the voiceless. That’s my analysis.

The voiceless eighty per cent of the country—the Hindus?

No, no. One second. Not just Hindus. India’s a complex country. It’s not just Hindus and Muslims. You cannot divide it like that. Actually, minorities in India are Parsis and Jains and Sikhs, and they are also very supportive of Modi. And there are the Dalits, who are called the Scheduled Castes. They did not have a voice earlier. They’ve also found a voice in it.

There has been a lot written about people going to see the film and then engaging in violence against Muslims. Is that something you’re concerned about?

Do you have any confirmed reports of that? Is there any police report, any video where people have become violent? It depends which side of the media you are reading. If you’re reading anti-Modi media, they will say that.

Riaz Haq said…
In Khargone, in Madhya Pradesh?

This is very selective. But the thing is, this is the most viewed film ever, which means that the majority has no problems with the film, and the people who are writing these kinds of things are the people who have not seen the film themselves. So this is a very political opinion. The film has no problem. It has healed seven hundred thousand Kashmiri Hindu families. You saw the blood-soaked rice that the woman eats? Her daughter wrote a letter to us, saying that the family was wrecked, and, for the first time in thirty-two years, this film has healed their family. Similarly, in the end, you have seen the woman who was cut on a saw machine. Her family wrote to us saying that this is the first time, after thirty-two years, they’re feeling that somebody is listening to them, and they feel that justice is being done and their family is healing.

One thing I hear you say is that “facts are not facts.” What do you mean by that?

Oh, it was in the context of a person who was interviewing me. It was edited. He edited it to his advantage to take the context out. The complete sentence was “Facts are not facts if they’re coming from people like you.” This was the complete sentence.

You tweeted that, too: “Facts are not facts.”

I always tweet “facts are not facts” if they’re coming from communists or Naxalites.

I want to ask this again. We have seen viral videos on social media with people yelling derogatory things about Muslims in movie theatres where your movie is playing. You’re not at all concerned about that?

How many videos like that were there?

I don’t know the exact number.

Yeah. That’s the problem. Everybody’s talking about it, but nobody knows, so it is based on fake news. There was only one person, one crazy guy who shouted something. O.K., that was one in 1.3 billion people. But there are thousands and thousands of viral videos where Kashmiri Pandit women are hugging me and crying on my shoulders.

That one video—it was a fabricated thing. It was made only to create noise against the film. But, otherwise, there is not one case. There is not even one police complaint. You won’t find even one person in the entire country of 1.3 billion people who has seen or heard somebody say something like that, except for a bunch of media people who have been creating this fake news.

But listen. I want to talk to you human-to-human. You asked me a question that is not based on something which you know for sure. Similarly now, if I fall into the trap and I answer that to defend it, then others will ask. So everybody from foreign media has been asking me this question, but none of them have seen any video. None of them know of any case like that.

I have seen these videos on social media. I can link to them in the article. Would that be helpful if I link to the videos?

Are we done?

Would it be helpful if I linked to the videos in the article?

You can, undoubtedly. But you have to prove that it’s not fabricated, that it’s not the opposition that has sent it, some terror groups that have sent some person to create this bad thing. Because, if it was really genuine, then there would’ve been a police case or something. There is nothing, no records.

Some of these videos have actually been shared approvingly by people within the B.J.P.

I don’t know. I’m not answerable for anyone. I can answer only for my own film. We have made an honest film. Not even one person in the entire universe has been able to point that one line of dialogue, one shot, any one scene in the film is wrong. So my theme is based on truth. If truth hurts people, offends people, I don’t care about it. ♦
Riaz Haq said…
At 75, India’s Kashmir challenge shifts foreign policy focus

For decades, India has tried to thwart Pakistan in a protracted dispute over Kashmir, the achingly beautiful Himalayan territory claimed by both countries but divided between them.

That relentless competition made Pakistan always the focus of New Delhi’s foreign policy.

But in the last two years, since a deadly border clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Kashmir’s Ladakh region, policy makers in New Delhi have been increasingly turning their focus to Beijing, a significant shift in policy as the nation celebrates 75 years of independence.

India’s ever-growing economy, which is now vastly larger than Pakistan’s, combined with Beijing’s increasingly assertive push for influence across Asia, mean that “New Delhi has increasingly grown Beijing-centric,” said Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, who from 2014 to 2016 headed Indian military’s Northern Command, which controls Kashmir, including Ladakh.

Kashmir has suffered insurgencies, lockdowns and political subterfuge since India and Pakistan gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947, and has been at the heart of two of the four wars India has fought with Pakistan and China. The three countries’ tense borders meet at the disputed territory, in the world’s only three-way nuclear confrontation.

Starting in the 1960s, India was an active member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a grouping of over 100 countries that theoretically did not align with any major power during the Cold War. Despite disputes with neighboring Pakistan and China, India’s nonaligned stance remained a bedrock of its foreign policy, with its diplomats focused mainly on upending Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir.

“Kashmir was in a way central to our foreign policy concerns,” said Kanwal Sibal, a career diplomat who was India’s foreign secretary in 2002-2003.

But the current military standoff between India and China over their disputed border in Ladakh set off a grave escalation in tensions between the two Asian giants. Despite 17 rounds of diplomatic and military talks, the tense standoff continues.

For decades, India believed China did not represent a military threat, said Hooda, the former military commander. But that calculus changed in mid-2020 when a clash high in Karakoram mountains in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley set off the military tensions.
Riaz Haq said…
At 75, India’s Kashmir challenge shifts foreign policy focus

“Galwan represents a strategic inflection point,” said Constantino Xavier, a fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Progress, a New Delhi-based policy group. It “helped create a new Indian consensus about the need to reset the entire relationship with China, and not just solve the boundary issue.”

Soldiers from the two sides fought a medieval-style battle with stones, fists and clubs, leaving at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead.

The fighting came a year after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government stripped Kashmir of its statehood, scrapped its semi-autonomy, and clamped down on local politicians, journalists and communications.

The government also split the Muslim-majority region into two federally administered territories — Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir — and ended inherited protections on land and jobs.

The government insisted the moves involved only administrative changes, part of a long-held Hindu nationalist pledge to assimilate overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir into the country.

Pakistan reacted with fury to India’s changes, asserting that Kashmir was an international dispute and any unilateral change in its status was a violation of international law and U.N. resolutions on the region.

But the main diplomatic challenge to New Delhi’s moves in Kashmir came from an unexpected rival: China.

Beijing scathingly criticized New Delhi and raised the issue at the United Nations Security Council, where the Kashmir dispute was debated -- again inconclusively -- for the first time in nearly five decades.

India’s line of argument remained consistent: To the international community it insisted that Kashmir was a bilateral issue with Pakistan. To Pakistan it reiterated that Kashmir was an Indian internal affair. And to critics on the ground, it stubbornly asserted that Kashmir was an issue of terrorism and law and order.

Initially, New Delhi had faced a largely peaceful anti-India movement in the portion of Kashmir it held. However, a crackdown on dissent led to a full-blown armed rebellion against Indian control in 1989. A protracted conflict since then has led to tens of thousands of deaths in the region.

Kashmir turned into a potential nuclear flashpoint as India and Pakistan became nuclear-armed states in 1998. Their standoff attracted global attention, with then-U.S. President Bill Clinton describing Kashmir as “the most dangerous place in the world.”

Many Indian foreign policy experts believe New Delhi was successful over the decades in blocking foreign pressure for change in Kashmir, despite deep sentiment against Indian rule in the region.

Now, New Delhi policymakers face the fundamental challenge of a China that is exerting more power in Asia and supporting Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said…
At 75, India’s Kashmir challenge shifts foreign policy focus

Pakistan “now operates in a more complicated political role as a partner of Chinese power,” said Paul Staniland, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “This gives it some clout and influence.”

With geopolitical rivalries deepening in the extended region, Kashmiris have been largely silenced, with their civil liberties curbed, as India has displayed zero tolerance for any form of dissent.

China’s rise as a global power has also pushed India closer to the U.S. and to the Quad, a new Indo-Pacific strategic alliance among the U.S., India, Australia and Japan that accuses Beijing of economic coercion and military maneuvering in the region upsetting the status quo.

India’s old nonaligned stance, rooted in the Cold War era when rivalries were playing out thousands of miles (kilometers) from its borders, has come to an end. The entire region has become a focus of geostrategic competition and great power rivalry close to India’s borders.

“We recognize the need to hedge against China to curb its ambitions by making it known that there is a new line of security that is being built against any aggressiveness by China, which is at the core of the Quad,” said Sibal, the former diplomat.

With the Quad now central to discussions among India’s strategic thinkers, New Delhi has massively ramped up infrastructure along its long, treacherous and undemarcated border with China. Beijing views the Quad as an attempt to contain its economic growth and influence.

“This is how we are sending a signal to China that we are ready to join with others to curb you,” Sibal said.

Riaz Haq said…
China too reacted adversely to the above Indian move, accusing India of continuing to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally amending its domestic laws and urging it to be cautious in its words and deeds on the border issue. Subsequently, it repeatedly called for peaceful resolution of “Kashmir dispute” left over from colonial history, based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements, thus echoing Pakistan’s position on the subject.  Pakistan’s questioning of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India and its policy of cross-border terrorism did not stem from the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian constitution and have outlasted its abrogation. The Pakistani dimension of India’s Kashmir problem and the Pakistani threat to the security of this sensitive region are still very much alive. China’s reaction to the Indian move and its subsequent aggressive actions in eastern Ladakh have added to that threat. Keen to ensure the safety and security of its strategic CPEC investment, China could in the normal course be expected to encourage a solution based on freezing the existing  territorial reality between India and Pakistan in J&K. However, with the downturn of its own relationship with India, it may be tempted to sustain and bolster Pakistan’s hostility. Equally, India’s strategic planners may be tempted not to give any comfort to China on the CPEC until a degree of stability is restored to the India-China equation, disturbed seriously by China’s aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh. Overall, the external environment for the security and stability of Jammu and Kashmir has worsened. This makes it all the more important for India to address the internal dimension of its Kashmir conundrum. India’s challenge is to ensure peace in J&K, not only in the immediate, but durable peace, for the failure to do so would continue to invite external meddling.

Sabharwal, Sharat. India’s Pakistan Conundrum (pp. 181-182). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition. 
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s relationship with China has emerged as its most important one in the recent years. For a long time, Pakistan enjoyed the patronage of the US – albeit in a transactional manner, but that role has increasingly shifted to China. Significantly, Pakistan and China have strategic congruence, which was lacking in the US-Pakistan partnership.
The China-Pakistan nexus has its genesis in their shared animosity against India. In 1963, close on the heels of China’s 1962 aggression against India, Pakistan ceded over 5,000 square kilometres of illegally occupied Indian territory in the Shaksgam valley to China under the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement, which provided that “after settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the boundary” as described in it. This was, however, a clumsy attempt to cover up the illegitimate nature of the accord. Since then, the relationship  has seen a multidimensional growth. During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, the two countries decided to elevate it to “All-weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, enriching the Pakistan-China Community of Shared Destiny”. China pledged investment of $45.6 billion for energy and infrastructure projects, including $622 million for expansion of the Gwadar port, with the CPEC as its centrepiece and the crown jewel of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Subsequent Pakistani media reports put the planned investment at around 62 billion dollars. 

Sabharwal, Sharat. India’s Pakistan Conundrum (pp. 315-316). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition. 
Riaz Haq said…
After India vows to wrest back PoK, China vows to help Pakistan protect sovereigntyXi asked Sharif to ensure security of the Chinese in Pakistan, and agreed to advance CPEC with greater efficiency

Read more at:

“China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, development interests and dignity, and in achieving unity, stability, development and prosperity,” Xi told Sharif, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese government.


After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in August 2019 initiated the process to strip J&K of its special status and to reorganize the erstwhile state into two Union Territories, China had joined Pakistan to oppose New Delhi’s move and run an an international campaign against India. China also stepped up its aggression along the disputed boundary with India in eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020, resulting in a military stand-off, which has not been fully resolved yet.


India has been opposed to the CPEC, a flagship project of the BRI, as it passes through its territories illegally occupied by Pakistan. Just a day before the Xi-Sharif meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday tacitly reiterated New Delhi’s concerns, stating that connectivity projects should be carried out respecting the sovereignty of the nations. India also stayed away from the BRI perceived as China’s bid to expand its geostrategic influence.
Riaz Haq said…
Prashant Bhushan
Chair of the Jury of Goa Film Festival says that the Jury felt that Kashmir Files was a vulgar propaganda film, inappropriate for the film festival
Riaz Haq said…
Video: Indian Film Festival IFFI Jury Head Calls 'Kashmir Files' "Vulgar"
Calling it "propaganda" and a "vulgar movie", Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who headed the IFFI jury, said "all of them" were "disturbed and shocked" to see the film screened at the festival.

New Delhi: The jury of 53rd International Film Festival in Goa has slammed the controversial movie "The Kashmir Files", which revolves around the killings and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 from Kashmir Valley. Calling it "propaganda" and a "vulgar movie", Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who headed the IFFI jury, said "all of them" were "disturbed and shocked" to see the film screened at the festival.
"It seemed to us like a propagandist movie inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage. Since the spirit of having a festival is to accept also a critical discussion which is essential for art and for life," Mr Lapid said in his address.

The Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi starrer, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, was featured in the "Panorama" section of the festival last week.

The film has been praised by the BJP and has been declared tax-free in most BJP-ruled states and was a box office hit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have praised on the movie.

Many, however, have criticised the content, calling it a one-sided portrayal of the events that is sometimes factually incorrect and claiming the movie has a "propagandist tone".

In May, Singapore banned the movie, citing concerns over its "potential to cause enmity between different communities".

"The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir," read a statement from the Singapore government, reported news agency Press Trust of India.

Mr Agnihotri has alleged an "international political campaign" against him and his film by foreign media.

He claimed this was the reason his press conference was cancelled by the Foreign Correspondents Club and the Press Club of India in May.

Riaz Haq said…
The Kashmir Files: Israeli director sparks outrage in India over ‘vulgar movie’ remarks
Nadav Lapid, chair of the International film festival India, spoke out against work that critics say is anti-Muslim propaganda

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the film festival, Lapid said he and other jury members had been “shocked and disturbed” that the film had been given a platform. The Kashmir Files, said Lapid, was “a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”.
Lapid, who has taken an anti-establishment stance against rightwing elements in his home of Israel, is not alone in expressing concern over The Kashmir Files. Cinemagoers have started anti-Muslim chants at screenings and it has been accused of stirring up communal violence. In May, Singapore banned the film over its “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.

Vivek Agnihotri, the film’s director, said on Monday that “terror supporters and genocide deniers can never silence me”.

He added: “I challenge all the intellectuals in this world and this great film-maker from Israel to find one frame, one dialogue or an event in The Kashmir Files that is not true.”

A row has erupted in India after an Israeli director described a controversial film about Kashmir as propaganda and a “vulgar movie”, prompting the Israeli ambassador to issue an apology.

Nadav Lapid, who was chair of this year’s panel of the international film festival of India (IFFI), spoke out against the inclusion of The Kashmir Files at the event.

The film, released in March to popular box office success, is largely set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when attacks and threats by militants led to most Kashmiri Hindus fleeing from the region, where the majority of the population are Muslim.

Many film critics, Kashmiri Muslims and others, have described it as propaganda that inflames hatred against Muslims and distorts events to suit an anti-Muslim agenda.

However, the film has received a ringing endorsement from the highest levels of the Indian government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), who have also been accused of pursuing an anti-Muslim agenda. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has praised the film, congratulating its makers for having “the guts to portray the truth” and it was the second highest-grossing film in India this year.


Lapid said his comments were made in the spirit of “critical discussion, which is essential for art and life”, adding he was sure they could be accepted graciously by the festival and audience as such. But his critique caused outrage.

Amit Malviya, a senior BJP leader, compared his remarks to denial of the Holocaust. “For the longest time, people even denied the Holocaust and called Schindler’s List propaganda, just like some are doing to Kashmir Files,” he said.

In Goa, where the festival took place, a complaint was filed to police against Lapid, accusing him of “instigating enmity between groups”.

Fellow jurors at the film festival, which is sponsored by the Indian government, quickly distanced themselves from his comments, stating that they reflected his opinion and not that of the panel. Film-maker Sudipto Sen, who was on the panel, said: “We don’t indulge in any kind of political comments on any film.”

Some of the harshest criticism came from Israel’s ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, who told Lapid he should be “ashamed” of his comments and that it was “insensitive and presumptuous” to speak on a subject that has political and religious ramifications in India. Gilon said he “unequivocally condemned” the statements.
Riaz Haq said…
Opinion | Why Is Israel Groveling to India's Toxic Hindu Nationalists?
When an Israeli filmmaker called out a Modi-backed movie for being propaganda, the Indian premier's trolls and loyalists exploded. But why did Israel's ambassador to India join in the outrage?

By Swati Chaturvedi

India on Tuesday woke up to unprecedented apology, and a cry for mercy, from Naor Gilon, Israel's ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Gilon slammed a a fellow Israeli, filmmaker Nadav Lapid, in a series of tweets, and offered a groveling apology to India. The ambassador's criticism reeked of both disdain – and fear.

“You go back to Israel thinking you are bold and 'made a statement,'" he wrote. "We the representatives of Israel would stay here. You should see the DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.”

So who exactly had breached Israel's state of the art firewall to cause its envoy to renounce diplomatic rectitude and diplomatic language, to criticize a distinguished Israeli in public so crudely? Gilon was castigating Lapid, who'd just served as chairperson of the jury at the International Film Festival of India, a venture jointly organized by the government of Goa (a state run by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party) and the government of India, run by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Lapid had made the cardinal error of speaking out against the Hindu nationalist narrative enforced by the Modi government and parroted by an obedient network of cultural events and figures.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Lapid had ripped apart the controversial film "Kashmir Files," directed by Vivek Agnihotri, a firm Modi favorite, and called it out as “vulgar propaganda which was inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.” Gilon said he spoke for the entire jury who were “disturbed and shocked to see the film screened at the festival.”

Gilon added that he felt totally comfortable to share these feelings, since the "spirit of having a festival" is also to accept a critical discussion "which is essential for art and for life.”

'The Kashmir Files,' which was publicly endorsed by Modi and given unusual tax free status in most Indian states, revolves around the killings and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from India’s only Muslim majority state in 1990.

As Lapid dissed the film from the podium, Anurag Thakur, the Modi-appointed minister with the portfolio of Information and Broadcasting, sat stone-faced in the front row of the audience. Earlier, Thakur (who prides himself on his athleticism) had been lauded publicly by the ambassador as he horsed around and jumped off a festival bus with Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, directors of the Israeli hit series Fauda. Gilon tweeted that minister Thakur looked one of the team and should probably consider joining the series.

By the way, the Fauda creators are this month celebrating the launch of an official Indian remake, Tanaav, which follows a group of Indian intelligence agents tracking down a Kashmiri terrorist organization.

From horsing around to cringe-making performative apologies, Ambassador Gilon ran the gamut in scant hours.

My sources tell me that huge diplomatic pressure was applied by India to Israel. It was conveyed to Israel that India considered the criticism of the film an “unfriendly act.”

Under Modi and his Hindu nationalist government, India has been extremely prickly about international comments and criticism. The Foreign Office issues long bureaucratic rebuttals to editorial comments made in the foreign media, and pushes back hard against domestic dissent, from deploying the Israeli weapons-grade spyware Pegasus to target journalists (including myself) and activists seeking to defend India’s failing democracy.

Riaz Haq said…
By Swati Chaturvedi

But forcing the Israeli ambassador to eat public crow on social media is a dubious first even for the Modi government. The unleashing of the infamous Modi troll army – run by the BJP's Information and Technology unit – on the Israeli ambassador and his embassy's staff is equally unprecedented. Clearly the volume of threats and fears for their security made Gilon go public. The Israeli embassy is one of the best-guarded in New Delhi.

Recalling that he is the son of a Holocaust survivor, Gilon mentioned he was extremely hurt to see that some of the more unhinged reactions in India waved Holocaust denial as a riposte to Lapid's comments. There has been a surge of comments in this vein: that if 'The Kashmir Files' [a movie] is propaganda, then so too is the Holocaust [historical fact] propaganda. "I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification," he wrote. But then he offered a quiet way out: "It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here."

Holocaust denial has not been the only toxic language employed by Modi loyalists. The head of the BJP's youth wing called Lapid "a Hindu-hating bigot who whitewashes ethnic cleansing. Not less than a Nazi enabler."

Gilon framed his riposte as a direct address to his “Indian brothers and sisters to understand,” and he thus wrote in English, not Hebrew. His message to Lapid was as overpowering and blunt as the capital letters he used: "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED."

The ambassador treated his audience to more obsequiousness, such as claiming Indians treat guests as “gods,” and denied Lapid's claim that he and Thakur had said on stage that “there is similarity between India and Israel because we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighborhood.” This is a familiar BJP trope about Israel and is used to attack the 200 million Muslims who live in India.

The actual tragedy of Kashmir's Hindu minority has been politically manipulated for years. They are still unable to go back to the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and still face targeted killings. The real anguish of the Pandits is used by Modi's BJP for electoral gains.

At the same time, the BJP is now using the world of the arts to push its justification for the effective annexation of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, whose semi-autonomous status was abruptly rescinded in 2019. 'The Kashmir Files' is an extremely successful example of this kind of propaganda.

'The Kashmir Files' is a transparent vehicle for weaponizing hate against India’s 200 million strong Muslims. And it is precisely following the script of India's increasingly autocratic premier, Modi, was wants Muslims to be second class citizens in India while Hindus, who form 80 percent of the population, enjoy special privileges.

Agnihotri, a failed filmmaker, struck gold with 'The Kashmir Files.' It is no accident that he is one of the most vocal defenders of the Modi government on social media. For Modi, who is so ideologically embedded in the movie's message and so personally involved in its inflated success, any criticism of the film is both an attack on him and an attack on India itself.

Modi has escalated this conflation of the state and himself, a theme that begun when he governed the state of Gujarat decades ago. He wraps himself in the Tricolour (India's flag) and his critics are hounded, demonized as "anti-national," and even jailed.

Modi's army, known for its vicious incitement if not outright violence, has lost the basic critical faculty to separate criticism of a movie about India from criticism of India itself. Israel's ambassador is, therefore, not being paranoid when he says that Lapid's cogent criticism of the movie threatens the well-being of his staff.
Riaz Haq said…
China’s frontier aggression has pushed India to the West
Brawling on the roof of the world

The most likely flashpoints in Asia are generally thought to be the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea and the Korean peninsula. This week, though, attention turned to the Himalayas and the 3,440-km (2,150-mile) border, much of it disputed, between the world’s most populous powers. News of a high-altitude brawl on December 9th has trickled down from the mountains.

The border disputes date back to the early 20th century when Britain demarcated spheres of influence between British India and Tibet (not in those days under Chinese subjugation). At the western end of the frontier, India claims Aksai Chin, an area under Chinese control in the Xinjiang region. In the eastern sector, China claims the whole of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as a historical part of Tibet: an earlier Dalai Lama was born in its Tawang monastery. Sixty years ago India and China fought a nasty war over the disputed line. It ended with India humiliated by the People’s Liberation Army (pla).

In the decades since, confrontations have often taken place. But thanks to protocols agreed between the two countries—including a ban on using firearms when patrols clash—most have been tokenistic. Until recently, both sides tacitly acknowledged the other’s patrol routes along the contested Line of Actual Control (lac). When rival patrols met, warning banners were raised and sharp words exchanged, but little worse.

That changed in 2020 when the remote Galwan valley, in Ladakh in the western sector, saw a terrible mêlée that left 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead. They were the first fatalities along the frontier since 1975. The latest incident was in the eastern sector near Tawang, and resulted in no deaths; yet it appears to have been similar to the one in Galwan. Several hundred pla soldiers—many times the usual patrol size—are said to have charged across to the Indian side of an “agreed disputed area”, in the frontier jargon. They carried tasers and spiked clubs, and were swinging “monkey fists”, steel balls on lengths of rope. Well-prepared Indian troops pushed them back, India claims, but with injuries on both sides. China says the Indians “illegally” crossed the lac and sought to block a Chinese patrol. It was the first clash in the eastern sector in years.

Though the details of such incidents are always contested, and neither side’s account is reliable, the Galwan fracas appeared to represent a direct Chinese challenge to the status quo. It occurred after China had built new roads along the border and reinforced it with troops and equipment. It is now doing much the same in the eastern sector and India, as ever, is scrambling to keep up. “Unpredictability” along the frontier, writes Sushant Singh of the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, “has become structural”.

To manage the tensions that it has done so much to increase, China may well propose to establish buffer zones in the east, just as the two sides have done in the west. Given that such zones often mean India being shut out of areas that it had previously patrolled, they are tantamount to an Indian retreat. Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, would be extremely reluctant to submit to this. India’s political opposition senses that he is vulnerable on the issue.

Mr Modi once invited President Xi Jinping to his home state to celebrate the Indian prime minister’s birthday. Such chumminess is long gone. China says the border dispute should be isolated from the two countries’ broader relationship. But India considers a peaceful border a precondition for normal ties, says Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington. Since Galwan, India has blocked a lot of Chinese investment and banned Chinese apps. Official visits are curtailed. The two leaders have had one brief exchange in three years, at the g20 summit in Bali.
Riaz Haq said…
Border clashes between India and China ‘regularly covered up’

India is covering up the true extent of border clashes with China to avoid panicking the public, senior Indian Army sources have told The Telegraph.

Several incidents are taking place in the northern state of Arunachal Pradesh every month, the sources said, with soldiers from the two nuclear-armed countries sometimes engaging in violent hand-to-hand combat, often using clubs and other homemade melee weapons.

China seized Arunachal Pradesh during a war with India in 1962 and returned it as part of a peace deal, but Beijing has maintained its claim over the territory ever since. In recent years, Delhi has accused China of stepping up aggression along the border and attempting to gradually seize strategically important territory.

A clash on December 9 in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were injured, was widely reported. But Indian Army sources said such incidents are commonplace.

“Face-offs with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have become a common feature along the border in Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in the Yangtse area,” said a senior Indian Army officer. “They have happened on average two or three times a month, recently, and the incursions have increased in frequency over the last two years.”

India’s border forces are under strict instructions to keep quiet about the regular clashes between Indian and Chinese troops.

“We get directions from the top not to discuss these incidents and the reason seems to be political. It seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to play down the crisis with China,” said the officer.

India’s next general election is scheduled for 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to win a landslide victory but much of his popularity rests on his image as a strongman who can defend India against China and Pakistan.

“Sometimes it’s important to hold back information because rushing out with information complicates the subsequent negotiations,” said General Deependra Singh Hooda, the former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Army's Northern Command.

Riaz Haq said…
World has finally realized that #India's game against #Pakistan is to deflect attention from #Modi's war against innocent #Kashmiris. There is little response to #Jaishankar's call at #UN Security Council members meeting for actions against #terrorism.

by Vivek Katju

Ex-Secretary, Indian Ministry of External Affairs

PARTICIPATING in a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discussion on terrorism, organised at India’s initiative on December 15, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said, ‘Last year, the world faced more than 8,000 terrorist incidents, across 65 countries, killing more than 23,000 people….’ These chilling statistics show that terrorism is a contemporary scourge, and India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for at least three decades. It was therefore appropriate for India to make counter-terrorism a significant theme of its membership of the UNSC for its two-year term that concludes at this month’s end.

To profile the importance India attaches to counter-terrorism, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar travelled to New York to preside over the December 15 UNSC meeting on ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’. He invited ‘high level’ representatives from the UNSC member states — normally he would have sent invitations to his counterparts — to the meeting. Ireland was represented by its foreign minister while some others, including Britain, sent junior ministers or senior officials. The lukewarm response to Jaishankar’s invitation was an indication that while all major powers assert the importance of eliminating terrorism, they have really moved on to other issues concerning international peace and security. Consequently, for these powers, the salience and profile of the terrorist threat in their security calculus has diminished.

At a conceptual level, India has never wanted to go into the ‘root causes’ of terrorism. It has believed that idea to be a slippery slope which could lead to the justification of terrorism. However, it is clear that more and more countries are showing sympathy with the need to address ‘root causes’. This was reflected in Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney’s statement. ‘The most effective way to tackle terrorism is to prevent it in the first place… we know that communities affected by conflict, poverty, inequality, poor governance and human rights violations are more vulnerable to radicalisation and recruitment’.
Riaz Haq said…
"China, Pak Are Together. If War Happens, It Will...": Rahul Gandhi

In a YouTube video on Rahul Gandhi's channel, while interacting with Armed Forces' veterans during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Congress MP said, "China and Pakistan have come together, if there will be any war then it will happen with both, so there will be a major loss for the country. India is now extremely vulnerable. I don't just have respect for you (Army) but also love and affection for you. You defend this nation. This nation would not exist without you."

The Congress leader explained, "Earlier we had two enemies China and Pakistan and our policy was to keep them separate. First, it was said that two front war should not happen then people say there is two and a half-front war going on, that is, Pakistan, China and terrorism. Today there is one front that is China and Pakistan which are together. If the war happens it will happen with both. They are working together not only militarily but also economically."

Criticising the Central government over its policies, Rahul Gandhi said, "Our economic system has slowed down after 2014. In our country there is disturbance, fight, confusion and hatred. Our mindset is still that of two and a half-front war. Our mindset is not of joint operability and of cyber warfare. India is now extremely vulnerable. China and Pakistan are both preparing a surprise for us, which is why I keep repeating that the government cannot keep quiet. What happened at the border the government should tell people of the country. What action we have to take we have to start today. Actually, we had to act five years ago but we did not do it. If we don't act fast, then there will be a big loss. I am extremely concerned with what is happening at the border in Arunachal and Ladakh," he added.

On December 13, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops tried to transgress the Line of Actual Control in Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo but they went back to their locations due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders.

Giving a statement in the Rajya Sabha, the Defence Minister assured the Upper House that "our forces are committed to protecting our territorial integrity and will continue to thwart any attempt made on it".

Singh also displayed confidence that "this entire House will stand united in supporting our soldiers in the brave effort."

Explaining the incident, the Minister said: "I would like to brief this august House about an incident on our border in Tawang Sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9, 2022."

"On December 9, 2022, PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo. The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner. The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts," said Singh.

He further said "the scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides", and clarified that "there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side".
Riaz Haq said…
Why Pakistan is not a walkover

FORCE editor Pravin Sawhney explains why India must take Pakistan military seriously. And how it is as professional a force as any. Visit us at

China-India military interoperability is a threat to India.

Professional Military:

1. Clearly defined threat

2. Balance at strategic and operational level.

3. Bring technologies and capabilities to the theater.

Pakistan meets all of the above criteria.

Bulk of India's attention is on Pakistan, not China.

Pakistan used proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir to keep Indian military engaged and to balance India's numerical advantage.

Both strategic and conventional forces report to Pakistan Army Chief.

Pakistan has created a strong air defense network.

Then Pakistan developed tactical nukes and refused to say "No First Use" to maintain ambiguity.

Pakistan has never lost in the western sector.

That's why India has failed to obliterate the Line-of-Control in Kashmir.

Pakistan developed and deployed nuclear weapons delivery system.

Now Pakistan is confident it can take on India.

Why? Because Pakistan and China have developed interoperability.

There is commonality of equipment, timely upgrades, ammunitions and spare parts.

China-Pakistan doctrinal compatibility.

CPEC has added the economic dimension to the relationship.

China now has an economic interest in defending its assets in Pakistan.

China can now shares non-kinetic capability cyber capability with Pakistan.

It makes no sense for Indian military leaders to make tall claims and issue threats to Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Putin to Xi: Russia seeks to strengthen military ties with China

The US has expressed concern over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s ties with China are the “best in history”, President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, as he said Moscow would seek to strengthen military cooperation with Beijing.

The two leaders spoke via video link on Friday, and Putin said he was expecting Xi to make a state visit to Moscow in 2023. If it were to take place, it would be a public show of solidarity by Beijing amid Moscow’s flailing military campaign in Ukraine.

In introductory remarks from the video conference broadcast on state television, Putin said: “We are expecting you, dear Mr chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring on a state visit to Moscow.”

He said the visit would “demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations”.

Speaking for about eight minutes, Putin said Russia-China relations were growing in importance as a stabilising factor, and that he aimed to deepen military cooperation between the two countries.

In a response that lasted about a quarter as long, Xi said China was ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of what he called a “difficult” situation in the world at large.

Earlier this month, Russia and China conducted joint naval drills, which Russia’s army chief described as a response to the “aggressive” US military posturing in the Asia-Pacific region.

Xi “emphasized that China has noted that Russia has never refused to resolve the conflict through diplomatic negotiations, for which it [China] expresses its appreciation,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported of the call.

The Chinese leader told Putin that the road to peace talks on Ukraine would not be smooth and that China would continue to uphold its “objective and fair stance” on the issue, according to CCTV.

“The Chinese side has noted that the Russian side has said it has never refused to resolve the conflict through diplomatic negotiations, and expressed its appreciation for this,” he was quoted as saying.

Xi, however, made clear the ideological affinity between Beijing and Moscow when it came to opposing what both view as the hegemonic US-led West.

“Facts have repeatedly proved that containment and suppression are unpopular, and sanctions and interference are doomed to failure,” Xi told Putin.

“China is ready to work with Russia and all progressive forces around the world that oppose hegemonism and power politics…and firmly defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of both countries and international justice.”

In February, China promised a “no limits” partnership with Russia, which set off alarm bells in the West. Beijing has refused to criticise Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, blaming the United States and NATO for provoking the Kremlin. It has also blasted the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The US State Department on Friday expressed concern over China’s alignment with Russia. “Beijing claims to be neutral, but its behaviour makes clear it is still investing in close ties to Russia,” a spokesperson said, adding Washington was “monitoring Beijing’s activity closely.”

Russia leading supplier of oil to China
Putin also said Russia has become one of China’s leading suppliers of oil and gas.

“Russia has become one of the leaders in oil exports to China”, with 13.8 billion cubic metres of gas shipped via the Power of Siberia pipeline in the first 11 months of 2022.

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s top crude supplier last month.

Putin added that Russia was China’s second-largest supplier of pipeline gas and fourth-largest of liquefied natural gas (LNG). He said in December, shipments had been 18 percent above daily contractual obligations.
Riaz Haq said…
Fear of truth, fear of escalation: China has assessed Modi correctly | Deccan Herald

Fear of truth, fear of escalation: #China has assessed #Modi correctly. #India government hiding the truth only emboldens China, which has seen through the veneer of Modi’s image. #BJP #Hindutva
| Deccan Herald

As China’s army was inflicting defeats on Indian forces on the disputed border in November 1962, Parliament had been convened to discuss the conflict and bilateral relations. L M Singhvi, an independent MP from Jodhpur who would later join the BJP, backed by some Opposition MPs, requested that it should be a secret session of Lok Sabha as they were to discuss a “sensitive” matter. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejected the idea.

“I gave careful consideration to it. I think that, at the present moment, it would not be desirable to have a secret session,” Nehru replied. “The issues before the House are of high interest to the whole country. Right at the beginning to ask for a a secret session would have a bad effect on the country.” He then went on to personally answer all the questions raised about India’s China policy and the ongoing conflict.

In contrast to Nehru, Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP have gone one step ahead of Singhvi in keeping under wraps what’s going on in the border crisis with China. In the past 32 months, since the Chinese ingresses into Ladakh came to light, the the government has refused to discuss the matter altogether, not even in an ‘in camera’ session. Leave alone a debate or discussion in the House, it has not allowed any questions on the subject in Parliament to be accepted for answers. The mention of border clashes has been restricted to a few perfunctory statements by the Defence Minister.

In late 2020, then Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu had asked the government to brief Opposition leaders in private, but that was never done. After the infamous all-party meeting in June 2020 where PM Modi claimed that no Chinese had entered our territory – essentially validating the Chinese claim that the Indian soldiers who died in Galwan were on Chinese territory – there have been no more meetings. Neither have journalists been allowed to report freely from the frontline, as was the case during the 1999 Kargil War.
Riaz Haq said…
Fear of truth, fear of escalation: China has assessed Modi correctly | Deccan Herald

Supporters of the government argue this total clampdown on information is essential to provide it the requisite space for diplomatic negotiations. This argument could hold water for a couple of months after the crisis started but has no meaning after 32 months when India’s negotiating strategy has failed to achieve disengagement in important areas like Depsang and Demchok, or de-escalation in areas where disengagement has taken place. In the 17th round of talks this month, the Chinese side flatly refused to discuss these issues and its foreign ministry has already publicly ruled out any suggestions of a return to status quo as it existed in early 2020. If the Modi government hides behind euphemisms like “friction points” and cannot acknowledge that China has denied Indian Army control of its territory, what force of argument can it bring during the talks? By now, it is evident that China has successfully exploited the Indian government’s penchant for secrecy as a personal weakness of PM Modi. Beijing first learnt the lesson after the Doklam crisis in 2017, when the Indian Army went into Bhutan to stop the Chinese from constructing a road to Jampheri ridge. It resulted in a 72-day long faceoff, when a similar clampdown on information was applied by the government. As government sources declared a win after both sides announced disengagement, it soon emerged that the Chinese had stepped back by only 150 metres and constructed a military base, helipads, and infrastructure with a permanent deployment there. The Modi government claimed “victory” while the Chinese got their way. Ladakh would have been similar but in this case, Beijing has refused to give Modi a face-saver to somehow claim an honourable resolution. The government wanted to bury the clash at Tawang, where PLA soldiers reportedly fired rounds in the air, but had to concede the truth after a couple of journalists reported it. That the Chinese have constructed an all-weather road and a military camp 150 metres short of the clash site in 2022 is not easy for the government to explain.

This information came out from publicly available satellite imagery put out by an Australian think-tank while other commercially available imagery from HawkEye360 has shown PLA and Indian infrastructure and military deployment all along the LAC. Foreign governments would definitely have far more detailed information available to them. It is often betrayed by foreign diplomats and visiting officials in their private interactions in New Delhi. This nails the claim that a parliamentary debate would make operational details available to the adversary. China has correctly assessed that fear of a military escalation in Delhi holds back any bold Indian moves, diplomatic or military. The Modi government is gripped by a fear of provoking China. MoS for Home Ajay Teni deletes a tweet within minutes of proclaiming that he had met a Tibetan delegation. US officials are told not to mention Chinese aggression on the border in any statement, and New Delhi has stalled any security-centric moves under Quad. The attitude, approach and actions of the Modi government on China give credence to claims that it is hiding something. Instead of defending our borders, it is more intent on defending the strongman image of the Prime Minister. Provided a regular dose of Hindutva nationalism by the ruling party and mainstream media, many Indians believe that India can militarily defeat China. The gulf between image and reality is being packed by propaganda, PR, and fake news.
Riaz Haq said…
Fear of truth, fear of escalation: China has assessed Modi correctly | Deccan Herald

Democracy has been India’s strength, and public opinion should be used smartly by the government during negotiations with China. Hiding the truth only emboldens China, which has seen through the veneer of Modi’s image. A free and frank discussion in Parliament will not tie the hands of a leader who is self-confident and sure of himself. Running away from the truth is not only evasion of democratic accountability but 32 months after the border crisis with China, also a strategic folly.
Riaz Haq said…
Why India and China Are Fighting in the Himalayas

By Ajai Shukla

Mr. Shukla is a strategic affairs analyst and former Indian Army officer.

Soldiers from China and India, nuclear-armed Asian neighbors, have been clashing on their disputed border with an alarming frequency owing to the rise of aggressive nationalisms in President Xi Jinping’s China and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India. Insecurity is also growing in New Delhi and Beijing over intensified construction of border infrastructure by both countries. And mutual suspicion is deepening as China contemplates the increasing strategic cooperation between the United States and India as competition and conflict between Washington and Beijing intensifies.


Throughout the 1960s and the ’70s, India’s military, traumatized by China’s comprehensive victory and fearful of setting off another conflagration, deployed well to the rear of the border, which was covered only by long-range patrols. In the early 1980s, the Indian military leadership came to be dominated by a new generation of bolder commanders and New Delhi greenlighted a move forward, much closer to the Line of Actual Control.


Between 1989 and 2005, the Indian and Chinese sides had 15 meetings and no blood was shed for 30 years. After the Gandhi-Deng meeting, the two sides signed an agreement in 1993 for restraint and joint action on the disputed border whenever Indian and Chinese patrols differed on the alignment of the LAC. It was followed by four more pacts, aimed at keeping the peace on the border.

Minor Chinese intrusions in Ladakh in 2008, 2013 and 2014 were resolved through dialogue. A major escalation followed in June 2017 in the Doklam Plateau in the Himalayas, where India, China and Bhutan meet. The Chinese military was building a road into the area, which is claimed by both China and Bhutan.


The plateau is close to “Chicken’s Neck,” a narrow corridor of Indian territory that connects mainland India to its northeastern states, an area the size of Oregon, where 45 million people live. India saw the Chinese incursion and construction as a dangerous move toward control over the Doklam Plateau, and it reawakened New Delhi’s fear of China cutting off northeastern India in a war by taking over Chicken’s Neck.


For New Delhi, China’s new aggressiveness presents a clear dilemma: Should India continue to build strategic and military relations with the United States and the partnership of America, Australia, Japan and India — known as the Quad — even though Beijing has made it clear it sees the Quad as an anti-China grouping? While the Quad, and its more overtly militaristic version, the AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) alliance, constitute a viable deterrent to China in the maritime Indo-Pacific theater, India is the only partner that confronts China on its land border.

From New Delhi’s perspective, the Chinese military aggression on the disputed border is the price India is paying for joining hands with the Western alliance. New Delhi takes pains to portray its independence, even turning down an American offer of assistance against China at the time of the 2020 intrusions in Ladakh. New Delhi has restricted Indo-U.S. cooperation to the realm of intelligence and privately asked Washington to lower the rhetoric over China. This is unlikely to change.

Within India, Mr. Modi’s strongman image has taken a dent from the confrontation with China. His insistence that India has not lost territory to China provides ammunition to his supporters, but the numbers of his blind supporters have dwindled. The Chinese military’s most recent aggression shows that Beijing continues to fuel the confrontation, and relations between India and China face a negative spiral without a predictable end. The political cost to Mr. Modi, it seems, will eventually be decided in Beijing as much as in New Delhi.
Riaz Haq said…
For the most part, Chinese news outlets have downplayed the recent clash. Unlike the proliferation of articles about the clash in the Indian news, Chinese media such as Xinhua News Agency, Caixin, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, and Pengpai have published only a few short articles. These mostly emphasize that the skirmish was quickly resolved in a diplomatic manner and call for the Indian side to work together with China to maintain peace on the border. They also lay the blame squarely on India, claiming that the clash occurred because the Indian army illegally crossed the LAC while the Chinese side was undergoing a routine border patrol. These brief accounts differ from the lengthy coverage in Indian media, which blames Chinese troops as the instigators.

The Chinese media response to the December (India-China border) clash is not surprising when seen in the larger context of how China views India.

While the 1962 war was seminal for India, prompting it to pour money into military modernization, China never saw it as a game-changing moment. Moreover, China’s laser-like focus on the United States means that it often erroneously views India through the frame of U.S.-China relations. For example, a recent op-ed by Tsinghua professor Li Xiguang made the astonishing claim that Himalayan countries (read India) view the Himalayan border and corridor through the eyes of Western analysts and “lack original knowledge production” (quefa zizhu de zhishi shengchan) on Himalayan issues. Professor Li’s prescription was for China to generously offer to rectify this lack and unify the region with its own expansive thinking along with the help of other scholars from the region.

These attempts by China to downplay not just December’s incident but the border dispute as a whole indicate a precarious misreading of the situation and the depth of India’s mistrust of China. In just the past few days, India has inaugurated several infrastructure projects along its border with China, aiming to develop the area for enhanced defense preparedness. These projects include the new Siyom bridge in Arunachal Pradesh, which will facilitate the delivery of rations and military equipment, and the recent purchase of three hundred rough terrain vehicles that can be used for the transportation of loads and casualty evacuations in high altitude areas.

While the risk of uncontrolled escalation on the border is said to be low, these sporadic clashes do nothing to mitigate the mistrust between the two nations, and instead deepen their rift. The ongoing instability is exacerbated by China significantly underestimating the importance that India places on the border and the occurrence of these clashes. For the bilateral relationship to improve, or even to maintain the status quo, China needs to take India’s concerns seriously.

Riaz Haq said…
Ukraine war impacts spare parts supply for Indian military: Army chief

India’s army chief said Thursday the war in Ukraine has impacted the supply of spare parts for India’s military.

Gen. Manoj Pande made his comments to reporters while discussing the border situation with China, which he described as stable but unpredictable. The two countries remain in a nearly two-and-a-half-year standoff in the eastern Ladakh area. He added that the countries were continuing to talk both at the diplomatic and military levels, and that India’s military maintains a high level of preparedness.

“The sustenance of these weapons systems — equipment in terms of spares, in term of ammunition — is one issue that we have addressed,” Pande said, without providing more details.

“We have adequate forces. We have adequate reserves in each of our sectors to be able to effectively deal with any situation or contingency,” he added.

Experts say up to 60% of Indian defense equipment comes from Russia, and New Delhi finds itself in a bind amid the standoff with China over a territorial dispute. Twenty Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers died in a clash in 2020.

The Times of India newspaper reported Thursday that India is having problems transporting back one of its diesel-run submarines after a major refit in Russia, which was hit with sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (14,672 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current faceoff is happening.

India says any unilateral change in the border status quo by Beijing is unacceptable.

The Line of Actual Control separates Chinese- and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a deadly war over the border in 1962.

Riaz Haq said…
Maleeha Lodhi
"Kashmir’s immediate future appears to be as an impoverished police state, run from Delhi, with light shows and tulip gardens, but little peace, liberty or prosperity" The Economist

The Economist
Narendra Modi’s government has deployed even more troops to the region and intensified surveillance and control of Kashmiris’ lives
Riaz Haq said…

Riaz Haq
#Modi's #Kashmir Blunder: Even more troops to the region to control of Kashmiris’ lives..Kashmir’s immediate future appears to be as an impoverished police state, run from Delhi, with light shows and tulip gardens, but little peace, liberty or prosperity"
Riaz Haq said…
#India Has Lost Access to 26 Of 65 Patrol Points In Eastern #Ladakh to #China. This report was filed at last week's annual conference of the country's top police officers in #Delhi, attended by PM #Modi and #AmitShah. #Kashmir #Pakistan #Article370

India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh, a report by a senior police officer in the union territory has said, in a worrying new disclosure amid the country's standoff with China at various flashpoints along their tottery 3,500-km frontier.
"Presently there are 65 PPs (Patrolling Points) starting from Karakoram pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs (Indian Security Forces). Out of 65 PPs, our presence is lost in 26 PPs (i.e. PP no. 5-17, 24-32, 37, due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISFs," PD Nitya, the Superintendent of Police of Leh, Ladakh's main city, wrote according to the research paper accessed by NDTV.

The report was filed at last week's annual conference of the country's top police officers in Delhi, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

"Later on, China forces us to accept the fact that as such areas have not seen the presence of ISFs or civilians since long, the Chinese were present in these areas. This leads to a shift in the border under control of ISFs towards Indian side and a "buffer zone" is created in all such pockets which ultimately leads to loss of control over these areas by India. This tactic of PLA (China's People's Liberation Army) to grab land inch-by-inch is known as 'Salami slicing'," it said.

"PLA has taken advantage of the buffer areas in the de-escalation talks by placing their best of cameras on the highest peaks and monitoring the movement of our forces... they object our movement even in the buffer zone, claiming it to be 'their' area of operation and then further ask us to move back to create more 'buffer' areas," the officer wrote.

She said this Chinese strategy was seen in Galwan Valley, the site of a deadly clash in 2020 when 20 Indian troops and at least four Chinese soldiers died in hand-to-hand fighting.

Ms Nitya also said that marking areas as out of bounds and keeping them barren affects troop morale as well. "During an interaction with one senior officer whose unit is based right on forward area, he shared that, if by retreating 400 metres back, we can buy peace with PLA for 4 years, then it's worth it," the report said.

The government is yet to comment on the disclosure. Speaking to The Hindu newspaper, which first reported the police officer's research paper, a defence source countered its assertions, saying "there is no loss of territory due to disengagement in friction areas".

"Some areas have been restricted for patrolling for both sides pending diplomatic resolution of disputes. No pasture lands have been lost. In disengaged areas, we have as many cameras and technical means as the PLA and hence dominate the area as much, if not more," the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

They said the military was "encouraging and providing all facilities", in conjunction with the civilian administration, to allow locals and their cattle in grazing locations.

The report comes just over a month after India accused China of trying to "unilaterally change the status quo" on their de-facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control, when clashes left troops on both sides injured.

The December 9 incident in Arunachal Pradesh was seen as the most serious face-off since the Galwan Valley clash in 2020 which led to a sharp escalation in hostilities between the two countries. A series of military talks since then have led to a careful pullback of troops on both sides.

Riaz Haq said…
India trying to prevent declassification of ‘sensitive’ 1947 Kashmir papers

India may prevent the declassification of papers from 1947 related to Kashmir as it fears the “sensitive” letters could affect foreign relations, according to internal government documents seen by the Guardian.

The letters, known as the Bucher papers, are believed to include political and military arguments for why India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, called for a ceasefire with Pakistan and provided special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

For decades the region in the foothills of the Himalayas was given a separate constitution, a flag, and autonomy over all matters except for foreign affairs and defence. Those measures were seen by Kashmiris as crucial to protecting their rights in the Muslim-majority state.

But in 2019, under the Hindu nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, the government in Delhi formally revoked the disputed state’s constitutional autonomy, in an attempt to integrate it fully into India.

The decision tightened the government’s grip over the region and stoked anger and resentment as a three-decade armed revolt continued to rage.

The Bucher papers refer to communications between Gen Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher, who served as second commander-in-chief of the Indian army between 1948 and 1949, and government officials, including Nehru.

Over the years, several attempts have been made by activists to declassify the papers to throw light on the reasoning for article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status.

A recent foreign ministry document seen by the Guardian said the contents of the papers should not be declassified yet. The papers contain “military operational matters in Kashmir and correspondences amongst senior government leaders on sensitive political matters on Kashmir”, the document said.

The papers have been kept at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, an autonomous body under India’s culture ministry.

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, they reveal that Nehru was aware and informed of the military development in Kashmir, including Pakistan’s attempts to use external military assistance to escalate the situation.
Riaz Haq said…
India trying to prevent declassification of ‘sensitive’ 1947 Kashmir papers

“Roy Bucher suggested a political approach to solve the escalating situation given military fatigue faced by Indian troops due to 13 months of military deployment, including taking the matter before the United Nations,” the source said.

That advice may have influenced Nehru’s decision to grant Kashmir special status. In 1952, the prime minister argued that the aspirations of the people of Kashmir should be respected. “I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir,” he told India’s parliament. “We are not going to impose ourselves on them on the point of the bayonet.”

The Bucher papers were handed over by India’s external affairs ministry to the Nehru museum and library in New Delhi in 1970, with a note saying they should be kept “classified”. They have remained in the library’s closed collection since then, the foreign ministry document said.

An Indian activist, Venkatesh Nayak, has filed multiple appeals to declassify the papers, a move that was initially rejected. However, in 2021 the Indian information commissioner ruled it was in the “national interest” but fell short of ordering the disclosure of the crucial documents. The order advised that the library may seek the foreign ministry’s permission to declassify the papers for academic research.

In a letter dated 12 October 2022 that has been reviewed by the Guardian, the chair of the museum and library, Nripendra Misra, wrote to India’s foreign secretary arguing the papers “are very important for scholarly research” and requested declassification.

“We have read the contents of the Bucher papers. Our view is that the papers need not remain ‘classified’ beyond the reach of academicians. We are opening papers of other important public figures also,” Misra argued.

India typically allows the declassification of archival documents after 25 years.

The foreign ministry argued in the document that the disclosure of the papers should be put in “abeyance” for the time being and advised that the “sensitivity of Roy Bucher papers and the likely implications of their disclosure” should be examined further.

Sources say the government has yet to take a final decision on the matter.

The Guardian has contacted the Indian foreign ministry and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library for a response.

Congratulations on being one of our top readers globally – you've read 64 articles in the last year
Article count
I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, I was hoping you would consider taking the step of supporting the Guardian’s journalism.

From Elon Musk to Rupert Murdoch, a small number of billionaire owners have a powerful hold on so much of the information that reaches the public about what’s happening in the world. The Guardian is different. We have no billionaire owner or shareholders to consider. Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest – not profit motives.

And we avoid the trap that befalls much US media – the tendency, born of a desire to please all sides, to engage in false equivalence in the name of neutrality. While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and for reproductive justice. When we report on issues like the climate crisis, we’re not afraid to name who is responsible. And as a global news organization, we’re able to provide a fresh, outsider perspective on US politics – one so often missing from the insular American media bubble.

Around the world, readers can access the Guardian’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. That’s because of people like you. Our readers keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence and accessible to everyone – whether they can afford to pay for news, or not.
Riaz Haq said…
Why India’s Ladakh region is now fighting for full statehood

Three years after Ladakh was separated from Indian-administered Kashmir, residents say they want more safeguards for land and livelihoods.

On August 5, 2019, when Ladakh was separated from Indian-administered Kashmir and turned into a federally governed territory, the streets in its main city – the Buddhist-majority Leh – erupted in jubilation.

Nearly 300,000 residents in the Himalayan desert – situated 5,730 metres (18,800 feet) above sea level – had hoped the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) move would safeguard their lands and livelihoods.

More than three years later, that hope has been replaced by anger and desperation.

Residents now fear Ladakh’s fragile ecology will be threatened by developmental and industrial projects approved in New Delhi without their consent. They are also concerned that people from other parts of India would settle there, thereby changing the mainly tribal demography of the region.

On Wednesday, a group of Ladakh’s political leaders, civil society members and students travelled nearly 1,000km (621 miles) to the national capital of New Delhi to demand their rights.

“We protested in Ladakh and Jammu earlier but nobody listened to us. That is why we have come to Delhi so that the government can hear our voice,” student Zahida Banoo told Al Jazeera, as she protested at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, less than a kilometre from India’s parliament.

The protesters want Ladakh to be declared a separate state, and their jobs and land rights protected.

“Our lands were protected, our jobs were protected, and now we are totally exposed to outside influence. In that way, we were much better. We wanted separation of Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir but we didn’t want it this way,” Ladakhi politician Chering Dorjay told Al Jazeera.

When Ladakh was part of Indian-administered Kashmir, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), an elected body that governed the region, enjoyed significant autonomy. But with the region now under the direct rule of New Delhi, Ladakhi leaders say the LAHDC has been reduced to footnotes, leading to a feeling of political dispossession.

‘Ladakh could become another Tibet’
Sonam Wangchuk was one of the prominent Ladakhis who in 2019 endorsed the BJP’s decision to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its autonomy and turn Ladakh into a separate union territory.

Wangchuk is an engineer, innovator and climate activist whose life is said to have inspired the 2009 Bollywood blockbuster, 3 Idiots.

Last month, as part of a symbolic protest, Wangchuk slept under the open sky for five nights in minus 25 degrees Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit) temperatures to demand constitutional safeguards for the residents of the sparsely populated region.

Wangchuk is seeking more autonomy for Ladakh as people have apprehensions India could turn Ladakh into another Tibet.

“Tibet has been completely raped of all kinds of minerals and so on,” he told Al Jazeera, referring to the region’s control by China.

Wangchuk says if Ladakh does not get land safeguards, Ladakhis will become a minority in their own land.

“In Tibet, there are hardly any Tibetans now. It is mostly people from mainland China and Tibetans are a minority in their own place. They have no rights,” he told Al Jazeera.

“People in Ladakh do fear that if there are industries, each industry will bring lakhs of people and this fragile ecosystem cannot support so many people.”

According to the officials, several industrial groups have shown interest in exploring Ladakh for the development of infrastructure and mining, making the residents restless.

Surrounded by barren and snow-peaked mountains, Ladakh is home to multiple glaciated lakes and many small and big glaciers. Studies have shown that the glaciers in the region are receding at a fast pace due to climate change.

Riaz Haq said…
Fake #India officer conned his way into top meetings in #Indian Occupied #Kashmir. Kiran Patel claimed he was from #Modi's office. He was given top security, travelled in bulletproof cars, stayed at a 5-star hotel during his visits. #tourism

Indian police have arrested a man for posing as a senior official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office.

Kiran Patel was on a visit to the Kashmir valley on 2 March when he was detained by security officials, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. He was arrested the next day.

Police has charged him with cheating, impersonation and forgery.

A police complaint filed against him says Patel was trying to secure "monetary" and "material benefits".

Patel's arrest came to light on Thursday when he was produced in court.

He has a verified Twitter account and counts an official of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) among his followers.

Photos shared by Patel on his Twitter and Instagram pages show him on "official visits" to Kashmir surrounded by paramilitary guards.

According to PTI, on one visit, Patel claimed he had been asked by the government to identify buyers for apple orchards in south Kashmir.

On another visit, he travelled to popular skiing destination Gulmarg and claimed the government had asked him to look into improvement of hotel facilities in the area.

Reports say Patel was given the highest level of security, travelled in a bulletproof car and stayed at official accommodation at a five-star hotel during his visits.

Court documents reveal security officials found forged identity cards in his possession.
Riaz Haq said…
HomeIndia NewsIndia Says Situation With China "Fragile, Dangerous" In Himalayan Front
India Says Situation With China "Fragile, Dangerous" In Himalayan Front

"The situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous," S Jaishankar said.

The situation between India and China in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh is fragile and dangerous, with military forces deployed very close to each other in some parts, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.
20 Indian soldiers died for the country and more than 40 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured.when the two sides clashed in the region in mid-2020, but the situation has been calmed through rounds of diplomatic and military talks.

Violence erupted in the eastern sector of the undemarcated border between the two nations in December but did not result in any deaths.

"The situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous," S Jaishankar said at an India Today conclave.
Riaz Haq said…
#China backs #Pakistan on #Kashmir post #Jaishankar-#BilawalBhuttoZardari meet. 2 sides issued a joint statement saying they oppose “unilateral actions” that could “further complicate the already volatile situation” #SCO2023 #Article370 @deccanherald

Beijing has joined Islamabad in seeking the settlement of the row over Kashmir according to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions – a day after a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa witnessed a war of words between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan over bilateral disputes.

After a meeting between Chinese and Pakistani foreign ministers, Qin Gang and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in Islamabad on Saturday, the two sides issued a joint statement, taking a veiled swipe at New Delhi on the issue of Kashmir and opposing what they called “unilateral actions” that could “further complicate the already volatile situation”. China and Pakistan also underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia and the need for the resolution of all outstanding disputes the resolution of all outstanding disputes. “The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the latest developments of the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir dispute was left over from history between India and Pakistan and should be properly and peacefully resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” noted the joint statement released in Beijing and Islamabad.

India has been maintaining that the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan and the 1999 Lahore Declaration had left no scope for the UN or any other third party to play any role in resolving the “outstanding issues” between the two South Asian neighbours. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in August 2019 moved to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution of India to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and to reorganise the state into two union territories, Beijing and Islamabad have been running an international campaign, opposing what they called a unilateral move by New Delhi on a disputed territory.

Both Qin and Bilawal were in Goa on Thursday and Friday for the SCO meeting, which was hosted by External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, at a beach resort in the coastal state. They were joined by the foreign ministers of the other member nations of of the bloc. The meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers was however overshadowed by the war of words between Jaishankar and Bilawal.

Bilawal accused New Delhi of causing a setback to the India-Pakistan peace process with its August 2019 move on Kashmir. “Wake up and smell the coffee. (Article) 370 is history. The sooner people realise it, the better it is,” responded Jaishankar, adding that the only issue New Delhi would like to discuss with Islamabad about J&K was when Pakistan would vacate India’s territory it had been illegally occupying. His remark was in response to Bilawal’s comment that the onus to create a conducive atmosphere for restarting the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue was on New Delhi.

Jaishankar also dismissed Pakistan’s claim over J&K stating that the territory had been, was and would always remain an integral part of India. Bilawal returned to Islamabad from Goa on Friday. Qin also arrived in the capital of Pakistan on Friday for a pre-scheduled visit

Qin also arrived in the capital of Pakistan on Friday for a pre-scheduled visit. They on Saturday chaired the fourth round of Pakistan-China Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. Addressing media-persons jointly with Qin, Bilawal lauded China’s “steadfast support” on all of issues of core national interests of Pakistan “including its principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.
Riaz Haq said…
#India is using #G20 summit to further its settler-#colonial ambitions in #Kashmir. Route to Gulmarg is lined with barbed wire. Armed soldiers keep watch from fortified bunkers. The town is near Line of Control that divides Indian-Occupied Kashmir from #Pakistani #AzadKashmir via @ConversationCA

In September, India will host the 2023 Group of 20 (G20) summit in the capital, New Delhi. Events and meetings are already taking place in other venues around the country. Under its G20 presidency, India will host a Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar, in Indian-administered Kashmir, in late May.

New Delhi wants to show the world that normalcy has returned to the picturesque, resource-rich region and that the disputed territory is open to visitors and investors.

The iconic Dal Lake will form the backdrop for the meeting. International delegates will also visit Gulmarg, a popular winter destination, under tight security provided by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs.

The route to Gulmarg is lined with barbed wire. Armed soldiers keep watch from fortified bunkers. The resort town is near the Line of Control that bifurcates Kashmir into Indian-held and Pakistani-held areas.

Hosting G20 delegates in Srinagar is a step towards normalizing India’s occupation of Kashmir internationally. But Kashmiris continue to demand their right to self-determination in accordance with international law and United Nations resolutions.

International attendance of the meeting will seriously undermine their efforts.

In Canada, the NDP has called on the federal government to boycott any G20 meetings that take place in Kashmir, citing the Indian government’s human rights abuses. However, the Trudeau government has reportedly ignored those calls.

Normalizing occupation
Beautification projects are underway in Srinagar on an industrial scale. These revitalization campaigns are designed to create a sanitized image of Kashmir for foreign delegates. The region remains troubled by violence and human rights abuses, as well as draconian media restrictions.

Human rights activists and journalists are being arrested and there have been reports of hundreds of young people being detained by security forces.

Urban renewal in Srinagar is a tool of displacement and dislocation. I spoke with Asghar, a long-time Kashmiri resident of Srinagar, over the phone earlier this month. He described how urban redevelopment projects are changing certain sections of the city entirely. This, coupled with the government’s name-changing spree, is creating a sense of alienation for locals who feel out of place in their own homeland.

The Indian government is planning to temporarily minimize the visible presence of troops in the heavily militarized region by building “smart bunkers.” These are bunkers painted in pastel tones and subtly positioned so they remain unnoticed by foreign visitors.

“Smart policing” is also underway. This includes security agencies monitoring social media, gathering local intelligence, and surveillance through CCTV cameras and aerial drones.

Police officers handling foreign delegates are being trained to display a softer and more polite image. This is in sharp contrast to the treatment of Kashmiris by Indian security personnel.

Riaz Haq said…
#India is using #G20 summit to further its settler-#colonial ambitions in #Kashmir. Route to Gulmarg is lined with barbed wire. Armed soldiers keep watch from fortified bunkers. The town is near Line of Control that divides Indian-Occupied Kashmir from #Pakistani #AzadKashmir via @ConversationCA

G20 and tourism
Founded in 2020, the G20’s Tourism Working Group guides the development of local and global tourism among G20 countries with an eye to achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The G20 meeting is the first global event to be held in the Kashmir valley since India unilaterally removed the region’s semi-autonomous status in 2019. Since then, the region has undergone significant rezoning and re-districting.

Semi-autonomous status granted Kashmiris some territorial and cultural rights while living under Indian rule. The designation recognized that India was only a temporary administrator of Kashmir. And that Kashmiris had the right to ultimately decide their own future.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) long opposed Kashmir’s special status. Revoking it was in the party’s 2019 election manifesto.

Tourism is big business
India is seeking to capitalize on the scenic beauty of the Kashmir valley that it illegally occupies. Domestic tourists from India visited Kashmir in record numbers last year.

Since coming into power in 2014, Modi’s government has also heavily promoted religious tourism in the disputed territory. Last year an estimated one million people from all over India attended the annual Amarnath Yatra, a 43-day Hindu pilgrimage, amid heavy security.

With the return of direct international air travel to Indian-administered Kashmir and the construction of railway infrastructure that connects the region to India, the Indian government is determined to open Kashmir to the world.

On the other hand, the mobility of local Kashmiris remains severely restricted. Ultimately, we must question what kind of connectivity is desired, by whom and for what purpose.

Tourism and settler-colonialism
The Indian government sees Kashmir as an “integral part” of the country and wants to make its occupation permanent. Tourism plays a direct role in legitimizing and expanding the Indian control of Kashmiri lands.

Kashmir scholar Ather Zia cautions against uncritically accepting tourism as a form of development. Tourism in settler-colonial contexts is an extension of imperial politics. It is the process by which colonized lands are absorbed by a hegemonic state.

This is achieved by fostering a sense of attachment for those with little or no connection to occupied lands. The Indian government has weaponized the law to make it easier for Indians to visit and settle in Kashmir, disavowing and erasing Indigenous Kashmiri claims to the same lands.

The Indian government also aims to change the demographics in the Muslim-majority region in favor of Hindus.

Decolonizing tourism
All of this raises questions about the ethics of tourism in occupied territories.

Riaz Haq said…
#India is using #G20 summit to further its settler-#colonial ambitions in #Kashmir. Route to Gulmarg is lined with barbed wire. Armed soldiers keep watch from fortified bunkers. The town is near Line of Control that divides Indian-Occupied Kashmir from #Pakistani #AzadKashmir via @ConversationCA

Indigenous governance and Native Hawaiian scholar Hōkūlani K. Aikau and Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez argue that colonialism is the ultimate breach of guest protocol that violates a welcome that was never extended. By visiting areas under occupation, tourists, unknowingly or knowingly, reproduce the violent colonization of peoples and places.

Those visiting Kashmir must first learn about the decolonial history of the region, one that honours Kashmiri calls for self-determination and sovereignty. They must follow the principle of do no harm by not visiting tourist sites or using tour operators run by Indian authorities. They should support local Kashmiri-run businesses as much as possible.

There is no simple resolution for tourism on occupied lands. Tourism amid settler-colonialism manifests in exploitation, dispossession, commodification and other injustices and inequities. The goal of ethical travel is not immediate perfection or self-exoneration. It is an invitation to think about our own actions and complicity.
Riaz Haq said…
#China & #SaudiArabia boycott #G20 meeting held by #India in #Indian Occupied #Kashmir. Indian presidency of group becomes mired in controversy as tourism session hosted in disputed territory. #G20Kashmir #Pakistan

India’s presidency of the G20 group of leading nations has become mired in controversy after China and Saudi Arabia boycotted a meeting staged in Kashmir, the first such gathering since India unilaterally brought Kashmir under direct control in August 2019.

The meeting, a tourism working group attended by about 60 delegates from most G20 countries taking place from Monday to Wednesday, required a large show of security at Srinagar international airport.

In 2019 the Indian government stripped the disputed Muslim-majority region of semi-autonomy and split it into two federal territories in an attempt to integrate it fully into India.

Indian authorities hoped the meeting would show that the controversial changes have brought “peace and prosperity” to the region and that it is a safe place for tourists.

India’s elite National Security Guard, including its counter-drone unit and marine commandos, were helping police and paramilitary forces to secure the event venues.

China has said it will not attend, citing its firm opposition “to holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory”. In April, Pakistan, which also lays claim to Kashmir but is not a G20 member, described the meeting as irresponsible. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Indonesia were also expected to stay away.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed India had turned the region into the equivalent of the Guantánamo Bay prison simply to hold a meeting on tourism. She also accused the Bharatiya Janata party, the party of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, of hijacking the G20 for its promotional purposes.

Last week Fernand de Varennes, the UN’s special rapporteur on minority issues, issued a statement saying the G20 was “unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy” when human rights violations, political persecution and illegal arrests were escalating in Kashmir.

He said the meeting risked normalising what some have described as a military occupation. The statement was criticised as baseless by India’s permanent mission at the UN in Geneva. It was India’s prerogative to hold G20 meetings in any part of the country, the mission said.

India divided the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 to create two federally administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Ladakh is a disputed frontier region along the line of actual control between India and China, and both countries claim parts of it.

The chief coordinator for India’s G20 presidency, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said on Sunday: “We have the highest representation from foreign delegations for the tourism working group meeting in Srinagar, than we have had in the previous working group meetings.

“Our experience is that in any working group meeting, to get such a large turnout of delegates not only from G20 countries but also from international organisations that are part of the G20 is an incredible process. If you have to do a working group on tourism in India, we have to do it in Srinagar. There is no option.”

Britain’s high commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said UK representatives would be attending the meeting. At a meeting between Modi and Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, at the G7 in Hiroshima, the two sides discussed progress on reaching a free trade deal. India remains angry at what it regards as a lax UK police reaction to an attack on the Indian high commission in London on 19 March by pro-Khalistan extremists. Security has been stepped up outside the commission.

Riaz Haq said…
After #China, #SaudiArabia, #Turkey, #Egypt & #Oman skip G20 tourism meet in Indian Occupied #Kashmir. #Indian officials admitted that Egypt not participating was a surprise. #G20InKashmir #Modi #BJP #Pakistan via @theprintindia

Egypt was a special invitee. Earlier this year, Egypt and India decided to elevate bilateral relations to 'a strategic partnership'. President El-Sisi was chief guest at R-Day parade.

Srinagar: Egypt and Oman Monday joined China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in skipping a G20 tourism working group meeting in Kashmir, the first international event of this scale being held since the abrogation of Article 370 and withdrawal of special status to the now Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir in 2019.

Egypt was a special invitee to the G20 event. The country’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade this year.

While Indonesia was also speculated to skip the event, it sent representatives from its mission in New Delhi.

Incidentally, trade delegations from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have come to attend the tourism meet. However, no one from China or Egypt was present.

While China had publicly said that it will not attend the event over the issue of Kashmir, Turkey and Saudi Arabia did not register for it, meaning they did not attend in an official capacity.

Speaking to ThePrint on the sidelines of the meeting here, Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh said that over 300 meetings have been held as part of the G20 and not all countries take part all the time.

“It all depends on what is of interest to whom. Some have sent in private trade delegations because tourism is largely run by private players rather than government,” he said.

Sources in the diplomatic and security establishment explained that it would have been surprising if Turkey had participated, given its past position on Kashmir and close partnership with China.

However, they admitted that Egypt not participating was a surprise. But they also pointed out that Egypt is not a G20 member and a mere invitee.

“They may or may not attend an invite. Not everyone attends all events,’ a source explained.

Egypt’s move comes as a surprise because there has been a growing partnership between the country and India.

It was in January this year that the two countries decided to elevate bilateral relations to “a strategic partnership”.

“We’ve decided that under the India-Egypt strategic partnership, we will develop a long-term framework for greater cooperation in the fields of politics, security, economics and science,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at a joint press conference after holding wide-ranging talks with visiting Egyptian President El-Sisi in January.

Army chief Gen Manoj Pande had just completed an official visit to Egypt last week.

As reported by ThePrint, Egypt is considering the purchase of up to 70 Tejas light combat aircraft. Like the Indian Air Force (IAF), Egypt operates the Rafale but needs a smaller and less complex fighter to provide bulk to its force and a stepping-stone for its pilots.

A keen India has offered to set up a production line in Egypt if the deal goes through. Egypt is also interested in Indian-made missile systems, as well as the Advanced Light Helicopter and Light Combat Helicopter.

India is keen to deepen cooperation with Egypt. An estimated $200 billion of Indian trade passes through the Suez Canal each year, giving India an obvious interest in Egypt’s security. China has set up a naval base in Djibouti, posing a potential threat to Indian access to Suez, underlining the need for Egypt-India security cooperation.

Riaz Haq said…
Response to G20 in Srinagar a diplomatic setback for India

The hype about the G20 working group on tourism holding a meeting in Kashmir is slowly coming unstuck. Some members of the G20 have decided not to attend at all while some others have scaled down their participation.

It was scheduled to be the biggest international event in Kashmir after the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was revoked, and it was split off from Ladakh. Holding the meeting in J&K, was not only to showcase its potential for tourism but to also signal globally the restoration of stability and normalcy in the region. Till recently, only Pakistan had criticised India’s choice of Srinagar as one of the venues for G20 meetings, accusing India of of “exploiting its membership of an important international grouping (G20) to advance its self-serving agenda” in J&K. India had defended its right to hold G20 meetings anywhere in India, including J&K.

Now, China and Turkey have decided to boycott the meeting in Srinagar. China had also boycotted a science-related meeting of G20 in Arunachal Pradesh, to which it lays claim as Southern Tibet. China is boycotting the Srinagar meeting now in in support of the objections
raised by its close ally Pakistan. Turkey’s decision to stay away is in keeping with its past criticism of the Indian handling of J&K, and may also be influenced by Pakistan’s pressure.

Other G20 member states as well as guest countries, have reportedly downscaled their participation by deciding to send only their Delhi-based diplomats, rather than representatives from their national capitals. Notable among those who have opted for low-level representation are Saudi Arabia and Mexico. It is also unclear whether Indonesia, the preceding president of G20, will send its representative to the Srinagar meet. Significantly, the stand taken on the Srinagar meeting by G20 members and others was preceded by a UN official’s statement criticising India for holding the meeting in Kashmir. On May 15, Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues said, “By holding a G20 meeting of the working group on tourism on 22-24 May, the Government of India is seeking to normalise what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalizing a G20 meeting and portray an international 'seal of approval’.” He warned the G20 of “unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy at a time when massive human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecutions, restrictions and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate.”

India’s condemnation of de Varennes’ statement as “baseless and unwarranted” was amplified with domestic media headlines screaming ‘Kashmir ours, who are you?’ and ‘India slams UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues for his criticism of holding G20 meet in J&K’. He was officially sought to be chastised by India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva for acting ‘irresponsibly to politicise this issue’.
Riaz Haq said…
Response to G20 in Srinagar a diplomatic setback for India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming State visit to the United States makes this rebuff on J&K by the international community, especially significant. What might have been ignored by India and perhaps down-played, at least publicly by the US, in the build-up to the Modi-Biden summit, will now become an additional irritant in the bilateral relationship. Did the Modi government bait fate by overplaying its hand in organising a G20 event in Srinagar?

The Governor’s administration administration in J&K has announced enhanced security measures including deployment of marine commandos to patrol the Dal Lake, and the National Security Guard to prevent fidayeen attacks and counter-drone operations. The Special Operations Group of of the J&K Police, and the Indian Army will set up checkpoints across the city to prevent public protests. About 1,000 CCTV cameras have been set up across the city, and there are daily drills at the conference venue by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), that include anti-mine operations, placing bullet-proof vehicles at the entry and exit points of the meeting venue, special training in invisible policing by the local constabulary, and drones for aerial surveillance drones overhead?

Such staged events make it clear that the situation in J&K is far from normal. The people of J&K have been without democratic representation for four long years. The Modi government seems in no position to hold elections to the assembly. It cannot assure the certain outcome it desires — a Chief Minister of its choice, preferably a Hindu Dogra from Jammu. Nor can it be sure that if elections are held, the elected assembly will not try to unravel its narrative about the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state. The Centre also has not yet delivered on its promise of restoration of full statehood to J&K.

It is unlikely that the Modi regime would hold J&K assembly elections before the 2024 general elections. Its narrative of having ‘mainstreamed’ the erstwhile Muslim-majority state with its separate constitution and state flag into a ‘normal’ state/union territory of India is necessary for the ruling party’s election campaign. In 2019, a terrorist attack in Pulwama facilitated Modi’s national security narrative to return to power. In 2024, J&K and developments there are unlikely to suddenly become irrelevant to his election campaign strategy. So, while a successful G20 meeting in Srinagar would have been a feather in his cap, now it seems an unlikely prospect.

(Bharat Bhushan is a Delhi-based journalist)
Riaz Haq said…
While most countries sent just local staff to the tourism conference, Pakistani allies China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey skipped the event. However, only China, which also has a border dispute with neighboring India, issued a condemnation.

“[This] says something about how the issue itself is defined by the international community, contrary to what India claims [it is seen] as an international dispute,” Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.N., Maleeha Lodhi, told VOA.

She rejected the notion that attendance by dozens of G-20 delegates was a quiet endorsement of India’s position on Kashmir, instead blaming global politics for the continuation of the decades-old conflict.

“The fact that the … Security Council has been unable to implement its own resolutions on Kashmir … is a reflection of big power politics,” said Lodhi.

Fernand de Varennes, U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, recently criticized the meeting, saying that by hosting the session in Kashmir, “India is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation.”

Reeling from decades of separatist militancy that has killed tens of thousands, Indian-administered Kashmir is among the most heavily militarized parts of the world. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the insurgency, but Pakistan says it only provides moral support to the separatist cause.

Security was bolstered for the event, with New Delhi deploying National Security Guards, marine commandos and Border Security Force personnel to join dedicated police units. As the event drew closer, though, security moved into the background to give a sense of normalcy amid reports of mass detentions.

Bokhari said the fact the G-20 is happening in Kashmir shows the most powerful nations have accepted New Delhi’s claims the security situation has improved.

“Obviously, India has been able to demonstrate that it has things more or less under control,” he said.

According to India’s minister of tourism, G. Kishan Reddy, a record 18.4 million tourists visited Kashmir in 2022, with the government expecting that number to grow.

However, only 20,000 of the millions of tourists were foreign visitors, according to local officials.

As India works to make the conflict-riddled scenic valley welcoming for globe-trotters, Lodhi notes, “Pakistan has no choice but to continue to internationalize the issue, to keep raising it at key forums.”

New Delhi says it will not discuss the issue with Pakistan until Islamabad stops supporting terrorist activities against it, a charge Pakistan denies.

“We would like to discuss … the status of what is [the part of Kashmir’] with Pakistan, which was originally a part of India,” Seth said.

Earlier this month, Jaishankar told reporters, “There is only one issue to discuss on Kashmir, that is when does Pakistan vacate its illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.”

Pakistan calls its part of Kashmir, Azad or Free Kashmir.
Riaz Haq said…
Ashok Swain
The US ambassador to India (2017-2021) Ken Juster says Modi even tells the US not to make China angry! How can one expect Modi to confront China. All his bravado comes against Pakistan.


India asked Washington not to bring up China’s border transgressions: Former US ambassador

Kenneth Juster made the statement on a Times Now show when asked why the United States had not made any statement about Beijing’s aggression.

Former United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster has said that Delhi did not want Washington to mention China’s border aggression in its statements.

“The restraint in mentioning China in any US-India communication or any Quad communication comes from India which is very concerned about not poking China in the eye,” Juster said on a Times Now show.

The statement came in response to news anchor and Times Now Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar’s queries on whether the US had made any statements about Beijing’s aggression.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since troops of both countries clashed in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the hand-to-hand combat. While China had acknowledged casualties early, it did not disclose details till February 2021, when it said four of its soldiers had died.

After several rounds of talks, India and China had last year disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in February and from Gogra, eastern Ladakh, in August.

Juster, who was the envoy to India between 2017 and 2021, had said in January 2021 that Washington closely coordinated with Delhi amid its standoff with Beijing, but left it to India to provide details of the cooperation.

During the TV show, defence analyst Derek Grossman claimed that Moscow was not a “friend” of India, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Beijing Olympics. Grossman told the news anchor that Putin and Xi had then said that their friendship had “no limits”.

He claimed that India’s strategy to leverage Russia against China did not have any effects. “In fact, Russia-China relations have gotten only stronger.”

To this, Shivshankar said that before passing any judgement on India and Russia’s relationship, he must ask if US President Joe Biden had condemned China’s aggression at the borders along the Line of Actual Control or mentioned Beijing in a joint statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Grossman said: “To my understanding, the US has asked India if it wanted us to do something on the LAC but India said no – that it was something that India can handle on its own.”

Juster then backed Grossman’s contention.
Riaz Haq said…
The Settler-Colonialist Alliance of India and Israel
Over the decades, the two nation’s have become closer allies in business and politics. We talked to journalist Azad Essa the origins of this international relationship.
By Deeksha Udupa

In 1962, after a series of border conflicts over the disputed territory of Aksai Chin—which both China and India claimed, and still continue to claim, as their own—the two countries fought a one-month war. India’s troops in Namka Chu Valley were considerably weaker and the state of Israel quickly responded to India’s request for assistance. Then–Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote to his Indian counterpart, Jawaharlal Nehru, emphasizing his country’s “fullest sympathy and understanding” and offering to provide weapons to Indian forces. Nehru requested that the weapons be sent in unmarked ships, aware that accepting Israeli assistance could affect India’s relations with Arab nations. Ben-Gurion declined and said, “No flag. No weapons.” Eventually, India relented and accepted arms transported in ships with the Israeli flag. And though India lost the conflict, the country was now aware that in times of need, Israel could be counted on as a potential ally.

The two countries have only grown closer since then, as their military and business interests have aligned. Just this year, for example, Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, recently acquired the Israeli port of Haifa, where 50 percent of Israeli cargo is handled. Privatizing the port has been a topic of conversation since the early 2000s and was finally completed when Adani submitted his bid, which was supported by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Just days after the acquisition, however, Hindenburg Research released a report accusing the Adani Group of financial malpractice, fraudulent transactions, and share-price manipulation. Modi and Netanyahu spoke days after the release of the report, and Modi emphasized the importance of “the multifaceted India-Israel friendship.” The purchase of the port launched a new chapter of the Israel-India alliance, with some commentators referring to it as the largest deal between the two nations in the private sector.

AZAD ESSA (Author of Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel): Being from South Africa and growing up towards the end of apartheid, I was enamored by the concept of international solidarity through boycotts and the very idea that people around the world were thinking about us.

And since I am of Indian origin (with the caveat that there was no India, as we now know it, when my grandparents had come to South Africa), I was told stories about how India had been instrumental in standing up to apartheid government. Later, as a graduate student, I was introduced to the story of Kashmir, and I was struck by how a country that positioned itself as anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, and a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement could also have a colonial project of its own. I subsequently went to Kashmir and was shocked by the militarization. I also traveled to Palestine and immediately felt the connections between the two.

Then Narendra Modi came to power in 2014—and when he did, the floodgates opened. Just like when Donald Trump came to power, it was as if the US had been unmasked; likewise, the Indian and Israeli relationship, too, was unmasked under Modi, and they soon became even closer strategic partners. When the Indian consul general spoke in 2019 about replicating Israeli-style settlements in Kashmir, I was convinced that this was a project I wanted to pursue. This is a book, then, about how oppressors work together.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s #Modi's Wild Vanity Project Already Has Eight Dead #Cheetahs. #Indian prime minister’s PR attempt to reintroduce big cats to #India was doomed from the start, scientists and conservationists say. #BJP #Hindutva

Twenty cheetahs were shipped to India from Southern Africa in a historic intercontinental translocation designed to restore the big cats to the country for the first time in 70 years.

The first delivery was timed to coincide with the Indian prime minister’s birthday last year. Amid huge fanfare leading up to the big day, enormous billboards across major cities in the country advertised this achievement of Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Cheetahs—the agile big cats known for their remarkable speed and striking appearance—were declared extinct in India in 1952. Now Modi—the most powerful Indian leader in decades—seemed to be saying he could turn back time and bring these beautiful creatures home to a resurgent India.

The results, so far, of this grandiose plan have been tragic.

The first eight cheetahs arrived from Namibia last September, and another 12 cheetahs from South Africa were introduced to the Kuno National Park—located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh—in February this year.

Hopes across the country were sky high, but even before they arrived, scientists and conservationists were raising major concerns about this unprecedented plan.

Kuno National Park emerged as the location for the reintroduction of cheetahs, beating out 10 surveyed sites in five central Indian states, according to the government’s action plan. Studies by conservation researchers, however, disagreed.

The action plan, devised by the Wildlife Institute of India, says that this decision was influenced by Kuno National Park’s “suitable habitat and abundant prey base.” Scientists, again, disagree.

While the ambitious plan to reintroduce cheetahs was being put into action, there were murmurs of concern among India’s wildlife community. They said the plan was “ecologically unsound” besides being costly and “may serve as a distraction rather than help global cheetah conservation efforts.”

Modi ignored their fears. In 2012, the Supreme Court of India had already intervened by putting a stay on the government’s plans to import cheetahs, and in 2013, the apex court reaffirmed its position, emphasizing the necessity for the government to present a comprehensive study before any consideration could be given to introducing cheetahs from Africa.

In 2017, the National Tiger Conservation Authority in India made an appeal to the apex court to reconsider its decision. Following the appeal, the Supreme Court granted permission in 2020 to introduce the cheetah on an “experimental basis.”

Many raised objections.

‘Flawed from the start’
As time passed, the fears of the wildlife community began to materialize as one by one, the big cats started losing their lives. Since March this year, a total of eight—including three cubs born to a Namibian cheetah named Jwala—have lost their lives at the park, adding to the growing toll of cheetah deaths.

Many argued the grand project—which cost $6 million so far—is on the brink of failure.

Dr. Arjun M. Gopalaswamy, a renowned big cat scientist in India told The Daily Beast: “The project was already flawed but now these unforeseen deaths, inexplicable deaths have made it far worse than what we thought.” He says the project is now at a “salvage point.”

India, despite the mounting demographic pressure, has lost only one large wild species of mammals since its independence from the British in 1947—the cheetah. And hence its reintroduction “has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos.” The Indian government believes that bringing back the cheetah will have “equally important conservation ramifications.”

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort