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 »

Banners with the images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, Lord Ram and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath on the eve before the groundbreaking ceremony of the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, images and renderings of the Grand Ram Temple — which will be built on the the site of the Babri Masjid, an important mosque in Uttar Pradesh state demolished by right-wing Hindu nationalists— will be beamed across giant billboards in Times Square by a U.S. organization to mark the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple’s construction, which will feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying silver bricks as the foundation.

Wednesday is also the anniversary of India’s decision to revoke the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Muslim-majority state where 7 million people have been living under a brutal military occupation and Internet blackout.…  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 »

Days before India lifted its nationwide lockdown on June 1, the country’s health ministry issued a press statement with a triumphant headline. «15 countries with highest number of Covid-19 cases, with almost same population as India, have reported 34 times cases and 83 times deaths as reported in India,» it said.

Fewer than 60 days later, India has reached a million Covid-19 cases. It is now third on the Johns Hopkins University tally of country cases, following the US and Brazil. Far from flattening the curve, India’s graph of transmission is swinging skyward like a Mo Salah free kick.

Since June 1, cases per day have multiplied — from 8,100 to more than 32,000 — while total deaths surged from 5,600 to about 25,000.…  Seguir leyendo »

Migrant workers plant paddy in a field at Jhandi village in Patiala, India. Photo by Bharat Bhushan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images.

The World Bank estimates that the magnitude of internal migration is about two‐and‐a‐half times that of international migration. Within India, an estimated 40 million internal migrant workers, largely in the informal economy, were severely impacted by the government’s COVID-19 lockdown.

With transportation systems initially shut down, many had no recourse to travel options back to homes and villages, resulting in harrowing journeys home. Those who were able to make it home found, in some instances, villages refusing entry because of fears of transmission.

The shocking images of migrants forced to walk in desperation showed the enormity of the crisis as well as some of the challenges posed by an extended lockdown in India where so many people live hand to mouth and cannot afford not to work.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras el choque del mes pasado en el valle del Galwan (región de Ladakh), en el que murieron 20 soldados indios y una cantidad desconocida de uniformados chinos, la India y China se preparan para un duelo prolongado en la disputada frontera en los Himalayas (aunque se informa de una retirada del sitio del enfrentamiento). Lo más importante, sin embargo, es que la reciente escaramuza puede ser señal de un cambio más amplio en la geopolítica asiática.

Esta idea puede parecer a primera vista exagerada, ya que ambos países venían haciendo esfuerzos aceptables por convivir. Si bien nunca llegaron a una solución duradera respecto de su disputada frontera de 3500 kilómetros (2200 millas), en 45 años no hubo un solo disparo en la línea de control efectivo (LAC por la sigla en inglés).…  Seguir leyendo »

I grew up in West Africa to East Indian parents. Every year, we would spend our summer vacation in Kerala, a state along the southern coast of India.

While it is known for beautiful backwaters and ayurvedic centers, today Kerala is making headlines due to its success containing Covid-19. Despite the fact that Kerala confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on January 30, the state, with a population of around 35 million, has 3,726 active cases as of Friday, with 22 deaths — about one death per 1.5 million people — as reported by the Indian government.

Kerala, which is a communist state, has invested in robust public health and education systems.…  Seguir leyendo »

As India emerges as one of the global hot spots of coronavirus and the health-care system starts to collapse under the strain, it’s hard to believe that many considered the virus under control when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March. But many more also warned this could happen.

Cases are on the rise as the country partially reopens in the face of increasing starvation and an unprecedented shock to the economy (the lockdown was implemented without any planning or assistance for India’s most vulnerable, including the many migrant workers). India now has more than 440,000 cases, the fourth highest in the world after Russia, Brazil and the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian army convoy drives toward Leh, on a highway bordering China, on June 19 in Gagangir, India. (Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

On June 15 at 6.30 p.m., Col. Santosh Babu, an Indian army officer from the southern state of Telangana, organized 20 of his men to accompany him on what he thought was a straightforward mission. He’d been informed that the monthlong simmering tension between India and China at different points of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh was drawing to a close. Military commanders had agreed to “de-escalate»; the Chinese were to withdraw from areas inside Indian territory. His job that evening was to ensure that the two tents erected by the Chinese inside the Galwan Valley (named such by the British for Rasool Galwan, a teenage Indian trekker who helped save their lives in 1895) were taken down, per the negotiated agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party protesting against China in Mumbai on Friday. Credit Divyakant Solanki/EPA, via Shutterstock

Tensions between Indian and Chinese troops have simmered since early May in the remote, high Karakoram mountains that separate India’s northern Ladakh region from the alkaline desert of Aksai Chin, which is claimed by India but controlled by China and abuts its Xinjiang province.

It is a forbidding landscape of cold deserts, snow-capped peaks, sparse vegetation and freezing temperature about 14,000 feet above sea level. On Monday evening, in a brutal hand-to-hand battle, Chinese soldiers killed at least 20 Indian soldiers with wooden staves and nail-studded clubs, in the severest escalation of the dispute on the Sino-Indian frontier in decades.

British colonial authorities bequeathed India a border with China that was neither delineated on a map nor demarcated on the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, for the first time in 45 years, Indian and Chinese soldiers engaged in fatal, localized skirmishes along the more than 2,000-mile disputed boundary between the two countries. It’s a significant escalation of tensions between the two Asian nuclear powers, who have been engaged in a sometimes-violent standoff since early May, though one that had until this week not led to any deaths.

The situation had already attracted considerable international concern, with President Trump on May 27 offering U.S. diplomatic assistance to India and China to help resolve what he called at that earlier stage “their now raging border dispute.”…  Seguir leyendo »

The deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer, in the first deadly clash with Chinese troops in 45 years came as Beijing and New Delhi had supposedly reached an agreement to lower the tension along the border in the mountainous region of Ladakh, high in the Himalayas.

India blames China for trying to alter the status quo at the Line of Actual Control, or the LAC. Since May 5, Chinese troops had crossed the border and squatted on Indian territory, triggering a standoff. When Indian soldiers went into the Galwan Valley to supervise what was meant to be the agreed retreat of Chinese troops from the area, they were attacked by 500 Chinese troops with stones, iron rods, nails and other objects.…  Seguir leyendo »

La COVID‑19 no es la única amenaza que este año cruzó las fronteras de la India. Según informes alarmantes del ministerio de defensa indio, China ha desplegado una «cantidad significativa» de soldados a través de la disputada «línea de control efectivo» (LAC, por la sigla en inglés) que discurre a lo largo de la frontera entre ambos países en los Himalayas. Hasta ahora, las transgresiones se produjeron en cuatro puntos de la frontera más larga y disputada del mundo, con la aparición de miles de soldados chinos en Sikkim y en partes de la región de Ladakh, al noreste del valle de Cachemira.…  Seguir leyendo »

Human rights activists hold placards during a protest against India's newly inaugurated link road to the Chinese border. Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images.

One of the more serious recent military stand-offs between India and China took place in 2017. The following year, however, a summit between China’s President, Xi Jinping, and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, appeared to change course back towards some kind of peaceful co-existence.

From the Indian perspective, views towards China have varied between strategic hawks and other groups – notably commercial – benefitting from engagement with China. The latter appeared to be in the ascendency.

However, a series of flare-ups along the border in May might be changing that calculation. Several reports of unarmed combat between soldiers have been reported at separate locations along the border.…  Seguir leyendo »

In early May, Chinese and Indian troops got into a fistfight on their border at Naku La Pass adjacent to the Indian state of Sikkim. A few days earlier, a brawl among border guards at Pangong Lake sent troops to the hospital. In recent weeks, Chinese soldiers also crossed the “line of actual control” (LAC) around the Galwan River valley.

Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about China’s recent actions in this long-standing territorial dispute.

1. China hasn’t taken this type of action in at least a decade

The territorial dispute along the China-India border falls across three different areas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nearly three months into its coronavirus lockdown, India is continuing its transformation into one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a journalist.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t quite manage to pass legislation completely banning independent coverage at the outset of the pandemic, the journalistic climate has been steadily deteriorating regardless.

Small media outlets are suffering financially. Restrictions on movement prevent reporters from getting to the story. And any journalists who dare to question the Modi government’s official line face threats and intimidation. All this is eroding what was once one of the world’s most vibrant media landscapes.

While online attacks against prominent and critical voices with large social media followings have received growing international attention, other journalists working in remote corners of the country, who routinely face threats on their lives, get far less publicity.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian migrant workers, daily wagers, laborers and homeless people in New Delhi, waiting for food outside a government-run shelter, in April. Credit Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

I landed in Delhi on a work trip in mid-March and just over a week later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced what was soon recognized as the world’s strictest lockdown. He warned Indians to imagine “a sacrosanct line” around their homes, not to be breached for work or travel of any kind, not even a walk outdoors. Evoking the 18-day war described in the Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, Mr. Modi said it would take 21 days to win the war on the coronavirus.

Two months later, I am still cooped up in my house off Delhi’s Ring Road, by far the longest stretch I have spent in India since I first left for work in New York nearly two decades ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

These Indian workers were dispersed by the police last week as they waited to leave Mumbai for their villages by bus after losing their jobs during the coronavirus lockdown. Credit Divyakant

India has been under a lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus for two months. On March 25, the first day of the lockdown, India had 618 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

As India is easing the lockdown now, it has more than 151,000 cases and more than 4,300 deaths — a much smaller number compared with the fatalities in the United States and various European countries, with a much smaller population. The cases rose from 100 to 100,000 in the United States in 25 days, in Britain in 42 days.

In India, which had the longest and strictest lockdown, the rise in cases from 100 to 100,000 took 64 days.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian man wearing a protective mask sits on a bench, as India remains under an unprecedented lockdown over the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) on 10 April 2020, in New Delhi, India. Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images.

India’s first wave of economic reforms were triggered by an economic crisis during which economic growth fell to just 1.1 per cent in 1991. With some estimates suggesting that India’s economy will contract by a staggering 45 per cent year-on-year contraction for the current quarter, there are some signs that the current crisis could trigger a change of direction in terms of economic management – though in which direction is much less clear.

Since Narendra Modi was first elected in 2014 there had been expectations – perhaps more from external observers than domestic commentators – that he would undertake the ambitious economic reforms that had eluded his predecessors.…  Seguir leyendo »

El modelo de Kerala

Mientras los 1,3 mil millones de habitantes de la India se esfuerzan por lidiar con la pandemia de COVID-19, uno de los 28 estados del país destaca por sobre el resto. Kerala, en el sudoeste de la nación, ha tenido tanto éxito en “aplanar la curva” que muchos ahora hablan, admirados, del “Modelo de Kerala” como ejemplo de manejo de las emergencias de sanidad pública.

Kerala fue el primer estado indio en informar un caso de COVID-19, un estudiante de medicina que había llegado de Wuhan, China, a fines de enero. Cuando el Primer Ministro indio Narendra Modi anunció un confinamiento nacional el 24 de marzo, Kerala tenía más casos que ningún otro estado.…  Seguir leyendo »