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China opposes unilateral Indian move to modify Kashmir status as India also claims Pakistan administered Kashmir

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Imran said the BJP government had acted against their Constitution, the Simla Agreement and the verdicts of their Supreme Court and High Court. "They want to change demography in Kashmir, which is against the Geneva Convention, but it is their ideology," he said.

He expressed fear that India might resort to ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris in order to change the demography of Indian administered Kashmir.

India's Sudden Kashmir Move Could Backfire Badly

Tellingly, Michael Kugelman of the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center, has warned that Indian Prime Minister Narenra Modi's sudden move in Kashmir could backfire badly.

Writing in the Foreign Affairs, Kugelam argued that the Kashmir problem has not been solved by removing the Article 370 but "on the contrary, it's just gotten a lot more complicatedand potentially a lot more destabilizing".

"The repeal of Article 370 is fraught with risk. India is unilaterally altering the territorial status of a highly disputed territory that is, per square mile, the most militarized place in the world. Something has to give, and New Delhi understands thiswhich is why it implemented a draconian lockdown before the announcement," Kugelam said adding:

"For many Kashmiris, Article 370 had more symbolic than practical meaning, given that the longstanding and repressive presence of Indian security forces had undercut the notion of autonomy. Many Kashmiris face daily restrictions on their freedom of expression and movement, along with the constant risk of rough treatment from security personnel. Still, for many Kashmiri Muslims, the dominant group in Jammu and Kashmir and the victims of what they regard as an Indian occupation, the revocation of Article 370 is a nightmare scenario, because it brings them closer to an Indian state that they despise. Most of them want to be free of Indian rule."

In Kugelam's view it's easy to understand New Delhi's decision to remove Kashmir's autonomous status.

"Two recent developments probably pushed the government to act now. The first was U.S. President Donald Trump's offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute. The second is a rapidly progressing Afghanistan peace process, facilitated to an extent by Islamabad, which could lead to an eventual political settlement that gives the Taliban a prominent role in government. Each of these developments strengthens Pakistan's hand. Making a dramatic move on Kashmir enables New Delhi to push back against Islamabad. It also sends a strong message to Washington about New Delhi's utter lack of interest in external mediation.

Kugelman also cited domestic reasons for Modi's move: "Domestic politics are also at play. A big-bang, early term move from the newly reelected BJP is sure to attract strong support from its rank and file, and such backing can blunt potential disillusionment and unhappiness down the road if the government struggles to ease India's growing jobs crisis. Indeed, it may not be a coincidence that the party, during its previous term, stepped up its Hindu nationalist policiesanother surefire way to attract support from its baseafter it struggled to carry out an oft-promised economic reform agenda."

For now, a major question is how key players will respond, Kugelman says by adding: So long as New Delhi maintains its security lockdown in Kashmir, unrest is unlikely. But if that grip is loosened, violence could ensuesuggesting that the lockdown could remain in place for an extended period. Then there is Pakistan. Islamabad's immediate priority will be to step up its longstanding campaign to get the Kashmir issue on the global agenda and to get the world to condemn India's policies.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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