Watch List 2022. Asia. Keeping Kashmir on the Radar

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Away from the international limelight, the decades-old conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir grinds on, as New Delhi grapples with a Pakistan-backed but largely local separatist insurgency. In August 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government unilaterally scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, abrogated its statehood and redrew its geographic boundaries. The government claimed that its decisions would put an end to militancy in India’s only Muslim-majority region and ensure its economic development.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard in Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Jan. 8. (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

This month, the Kashmir Press Club, the umbrella organization for journalists in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, issued a statement condemning the arrest of a young trainee reporter named Sajad Gul. On Jan. 5 he was arrested by the Indian Army; though initially granted bail by a local court, he was soon detained yet again on a different set of charges. Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based journalism advocacy organization, warned that Gul now faces the possibility of six years in prison. His apparent offense? A single tweet that linked to a video clip showing a protest over the killing of a separatist activist.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sikh community members shout slogans during the funeral of Supinder Kaur, a slain school principal, on Oct. 8 in Srinagar, India. (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

When extremist militants slaughtered hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs in Kashmir during the early 1990s, Makhan Lal Bindroo, a respected Hindu pharmacist in the provincial capital of Srinagar, refused to flee. Bindroo’s own father-in-law was shot four times in the carnage and was forced to flee to Delhi, but Bindroo was unperturbed. “I have no threat,” he said. “I will live with the Kashmiri people I have grown up with.”

Bindroo was killed this month, as separatist militants murdered almost a dozen civilians within just two weeks. Hindus and Sikhs were targeted, sparking off yet another exodus of minority communities for the first time since the 1990s.…  Seguir leyendo »

It has been one year since India revoked the semiautonomous status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state and placed the region under a complete communication blackout and military siege, and detained thousands of Kashmiris.

One year later, the fears that the Hindu-nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will accelerate an existing settler-colonial project that aims to alter the demographics of the Muslim-majority disputed region have materialized.

India’s long-standing war crimes in Kashmir— ranging from extrajudicial killings, home demolitions, rapes, use of human shields, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, mass blindings and torture, to name a few — have been well documented, and endured by a population that has been denied its right to self-determination for more than 72 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

A year ago, India eliminated the semi-autonomy provisions of Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s sole Muslim-majority state and a region disputed by Pakistan, a move that analysts anticipated would ripple across the region.

The Indian government scrapped the constitutional provisions of autonomy in Article 370 and 35A, dissolved Kashmir’s state assembly and split the region into two union territories. The government also surged paramilitary troops, instituted months of communications blackouts and curfews, and detained thousands of political leaders.

India’s leaders contend these measures were needed to clean up the “mess” of Kashmir and dismantle a system they claimed fostered separatism, radicalization, militancy, corruption and underdevelopment.…  Seguir leyendo »

Srinagar, in the Indian-controlled part of the Kashmir region, was under guard last month days after India said it would revoke the area’s autonomy. Credit Atul Loke for The New York Times

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a plethora of comments from Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan and senior officials of his government painting an apocalyptic picture of India’s reorganization of its province of Jammu and Kashmir — and raising the threat of conflict, including nuclear war, with India.

Under Prime Minister Khan’s watch, the people of Pakistan are reeling under economic depression, with inflation at a five-year high, national debt exceeding gross domestic product and an International Monetary Fund bailout for the 22nd time. Mr. Khan has, of course, every right to run his own economy into the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘We Never Moved Back to Kashmir, Because We Couldn’t’

We vacation hard, my family. Ideally three weeks, and always a home rental, never a hotel. We settle in like we own the place, and have always owned the place. We start with a grocery store, a thrift shop for toys, a visit to the local library. We scope out playgrounds and children’s classes, make some friends, set up play dates.

The Google map I create during my research phase is color-coded, layered, intricate. We set up temporary lives everywhere from Greece to Japan. On our last trip, to Oahu, Hawaii, we did five grocery runs and nine loads of laundry, and spent the rest of the time washing dishes.…  Seguir leyendo »

En una maniobra desconcertante el Gobierno de Narendra Modi ha revocado la autonomía del Estado de Jammu y Cachemira, el único de mayoría musulmana en la India. Un movimiento que ha sorprendido, no tanto por la medida en sí, una reivindicación histórica del nacionalismo hindú, como por el proceder abrupto, desentendiéndose de cualquier posibilidad de diálogo con las partes afectadas.

Cachemira es un enclave disputado sobre el que concurren los intereses nacionales y geoestratégicos de tres potencias nucleares: India, China y Pakistán, cada una de ellas con reivindicaciones territoriales sobre el país colindante. El origen del conflicto se remonta a la descolonización británica del subcontinente.…  Seguir leyendo »

The family of Fayaz Ahmed Mir, a tractor driver who was arrested, consoling his sister, Zahida Jan, earlier this month. Thousands of people were imprisoned by Indian security forces after India unilaterally stripped away Kashmir’s autonomy on Aug. 5. Credit Atul Loke for The New York Times

After I was elected prime minister of Pakistan last August, one of my foremost priorities was to work for lasting and just peace in South Asia. India and Pakistan, despite our difficult history, confront similar challenges of poverty, unemployment and climate change, especially the threat of melting glaciers and scarcity of water for hundreds of millions of our citizens.

I wanted to normalize relations with India through trade and by settling the Kashmir dispute, the foremost impediment to the normalization of relations between us.

On July 26, 2018, in my first televised address to Pakistan after winning the elections, I stated we wanted peace with India and if it took one step forward, we would take two steps.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le 4 août, 10 h 30 en Inde - 7 heures en Suisse. Le gouvernement indien coupe toutes les télécommunications (y compris les lignes téléphoniques locales) dans l’Etat de Jammu-et-Cachemire, et impose un couvre-feu général. Depuis quelques semaines, la population locale sait que quelque chose se prépare : touristes et pèlerins ont été appelés à quitter la région au plus vite, des milliers de soldats supplémentaires ont été envoyés sur place, la panique se répand. Les nouvelles qui me parviennent de Srinagar dénotent une inquiétude latente et une angoisse grandissante. Le gouvernement central fomente quelque chose. Toutefois, personne ne semble savoir exactement ce qui est sur le point de se produire.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers on the streets of Srinagar earlier this month. Credit Atul Loke for The New York Times

Every summer in Kashmir begins with the question of fate. The sun, having traveled through a long, dormant winter, stretches wide open to mark the return of color and noise, electricity and traffic, cricket, weddings, song and gluttony in our gardens. Desire and humor ride through town and for a moment we meet life, not as it is known to be but perhaps as it was meant to be, before the dice is rolled yet again: What will light the fire this time?

Around midnight on Aug. 4, the night before India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi unilaterally erased Kashmir’s autonomy, Srinagar, the largest city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, my home, and other parts of the Valley of Kashmir were beginning to be sealed into a valley of soldiers and checkpoints between which laid quiet, dimly lit homes, like mine, with their internet, phone lines and cable television severed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian security personnel on the streets of Srinagar, Kashmir, last week. Credit Atul Loke for The New York Times

As India celebrates her 73rd year of independence from British rule, ragged children thread their way through traffic in Delhi, selling outsized national flags and souvenirs that say, “Mera Bharat Mahan”. My India is Great. Quite honestly, it’s hard to feel that way right now, because it looks very much as though our government has gone rogue.

Last week it unilaterally breached the fundamental conditions of the Instrument of Accession, by which the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India in 1947. In preparation for this, at midnight on Aug. 4, it turned all of Kashmir into a giant prison camp.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Aug. 8, in a 40-minute address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi argued that Article 370 of the Indian constitution had prevented economic development from reaching Kashmir and had stimulated terrorism and corruption.

Three days earlier, Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had announced the abrogation of Article 370, which had accorded the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) special status — including a separate constitution, a state flag and control over internal administrative matters. India also abolished Article 35A, part of Article 370, which stipulated that only permanent residents of J&K could own property in the region.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the run-up to his election victory in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a form of federalism that was “co-operative, not coercive”. The statement solidified a long-term trend of Indian leaders who have been willing to recognize the country’s regional diversity. Though the central government once regularly dismissed state governments — 95 times between 1966 and 1996 — such practices seemed a thing of the past. State governments became more likely to serve out their terms, and the central government seemed more amendable to seeking compromises with local leaders. Even the troubled state of Kashmir saw free and fair elections and a steep decline in violence between 2001 and 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

India’s controversial move to pull the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir marks a major moment in the regional politics of South Asia. The decision, as political scientist Ahsan Butt explained here at TMC this week, was motivated by Indian domestic politics — but its implications will reach beyond India. It will force a number of countries, including Pakistan, China, and the United States, to recalibrate their foreign policies — and other key players, such as al-Qaeda, will watch developments closely.

Will this increase conflict in South Asia? Here are four key things to watch.

1. The India-Pakistan rivalry is likely to worsen

Contention over Kashmir broke out soon after the British partitioned India into two countries in 1947.…  Seguir leyendo »

India Annexes Kashmir and Brings Us Back to Partition

Pakistani kids are taught in and out of school that Kashmir is our “shah rug” (jugular vein). Indians believe that Kashmir is their “atoot ang” (indispensable body part). Urdu and Persian poetry is full of paeans to the beauty of Kashmir. If there is paradise on earth, “it is this, it is this, it is this,” the 14th-century poet Amir Khusro wrote. Since the time of Partition, 72 years ago, India and Pakistan have been fighting wars over Kashmir and calling each other the occupier and the oppressor of the Kashmiris.

Occasionally, there have been halfhearted pledges that the Kashmiri people should probably get to do what they want with their paradise.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian Paramilitary soldiers standing guard during the curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on Wednesday. Credit Dar Yasin/Associated Press

Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan have fought four wars since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, has been the battleground for competing, conflicting ideologies. For Pakistan, the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir was a critical missing piece in its positioning of itself as the South Asian Muslim homeland. For India, the state became the symbol of secularism for India in its post-colonial nation-building project.

But with the rise and rise of India’s Hindu nationalists, the very idea of India is being redefined and repurposed. To assert this redefining of India as a muscular, majoritarian nation state, there could have been no better place than Kashmir: a United Nations-endorsed, internationally accepted, disputed territory with a Muslim majority fighting an armed insurgency against the Indian state for the last 30 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

After a week of rumors and misinformation, on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced changes to the constitutional and legal status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). There are two principal components: (1) scrapping Article 370 and the associated Article 35-A of the Indian constitution, which govern Kashmir’s relationship with the Indian Union, and (2) geographically splitting J&K and administrating it as a “Union Territory”.

These changes could have important political consequences, including increased instability and unrest in the region.

1. Jammu and Kashmir is losing its autonomy.

The Indian government’s constitutional and legal relationship with J&K is complicated by history.…  Seguir leyendo »

Monday marked a devastating turning point in India’s long-standing occupation of Kashmir.

Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday informed the Parliament of a presidential order revoking Article 370, which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special status within the Indian Constitution. The article was instituted by India’s early leadership to give a certain degree of autonomy to its only Muslim-majority state — one it had incorporated without the consent of its people, who would have preferred independence or accession to Pakistan.

As a number of Indian historians and legal experts have noted, the presidential order is essentially unconstitutional. Article 370 is the only legal link between India and the disputed state; for it to be revoked, it has to be approved concurrently by the Jammu and Kashmir constituent assembly, which was dissolved in 1956.…  Seguir leyendo »

In less than one hour, without any real debate inside India’s Parliament, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi upended 72 years of policy and changed the course of Kashmir’s history.

The sudden decision on Monday to withdraw the historic special status to Jammu and Kashmir, constitutionally mandated under what is called Article 370, was taken while several elected representatives in the state were placed under house arrest and mobile and Internet services were cut off. The disruptive move was not preceded by any consultations with any political or civil society members. Nor was there any warning to the public about the most momentous paradigm shift India has ever seen in domestic policy on Kashmir.…  Seguir leyendo »