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 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.

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."

Summary:

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.

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Comments

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

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Kashmir-is-not-an-internal-matter-of-India-Karan-Singh/article14562551.ece


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."


https://scroll.in/article/836632/why-does-india-consistently-push-the-false-narrative-of-radicalisation-in-kashmir


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. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49316350

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.

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