After the Kashmir Move: India-Pakistan Relations
After the Kashmir Move: India-Pakistan Relations
WASHINGTON, DC: On August 5, India stripped the contested territory of Jammu and Kashmir of its statehood and special autonomous status. The move paves the way for New Delhi to initiate new development and investment projects for what is now an Indian union territory – but also exercise more power over a volatile region where Indian and Pakistani security forces exchange periodic volleys and accuse each other of infiltration.
India-Pakistan relations, already tense since a Pakistan-based terror group killed more than 40 Indian soldiers in a February attack in Kashmir, are in deep crisis. New Delhi views the move as a purely internal matter: a simple revocation of a temporary constitutional provision, known as Article 370, which gave India-administered Kashmir its autonomous status. However, for Islamabad, which has long claimed the India-administered region, the action represents a unilateral act to irrevocably change the status of a disputed territory.
Article 370 repeal has ratcheted up bilateral tensions in a big way, ensuring that India-Pakistan relations will be on tenterhooks for the foreseeable future. The question is how deep the relationship will plunge. Three factors will help determine what may be next for India-Pakistan relations.
The first factor is New Delhi’s ongoing lockdown in Kashmir, imposed several days before the Article 370 announcement. When this lockdown is lifted, affording Kashmiris the opportunity to move around more freely, prospects for unrest will intensify – particularly in the Kashmir Valley. Home to about 7 million people, mostly Muslims, this is where anti-India and separatist sentiment is the strongest. Many Kashmiris, incensed about becoming a formal part of a country that they despise, will want to revolt.
New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of fomenting unrest and insurgency in Kashmir, even though over the last few years it is largely the repressive actions of Indian security forces, rather than any activities orchestrated from Pakistan, that have motivated the violence inflicted by Kashmiris. Once the lockdown ends, inevitable protests will likely provoke harsh Indian crackdowns – and perhaps provoke a new phase of insurgency. Islamabad, spurred by the Article 370 repeal, may covertly funnel arms and cash to Kashmiri protestors. Regardless of Pakistan’s role in any post-lockdown unrest, India will surely blame its rival for violent acts on Indian security forces. A mass-casualty attack on Indian security forces may result in an Indian military retaliation against Pakistan. In sum, prospects for deeper India-Pakistan tensions will intensify once New Delhi ends its lockdown.
A second key factor influencing the trajectory of India-Pakistan relations is Islamabad’s newly launched global diplomatic campaign to attract international support for Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. So far, this effort has consisted of appealing to friendly countries as well as the United Nations and warning the world of the dangers of the Modi government. The stakes are high for Islamabad with this campaign, given that other than downgrading diplomatic ties with New Delhi, a step taken soon after the Article 370 repeal, Pakistan has few immediate options to respond.
And yet, Islamabad’s campaign is unlikely to be successful. Pakistan suffers from a global image problem and struggles to earn trust and support from the international community, while India enjoys more favorability on the world stage. A rising power with a growing economy and a mammoth population, India offers attractive partnership and marketing opportunities. Unsurprisingly, most foreign governments side with India, viewing Kashmir as an internal matter – or at most an India-Pakistan bilateral dispute – that doesn’t warrant involvement from third parties. One notable exception is China, which issued a strong statement against India’s Article 370 repeal. This is because the move not only incorporates Jammu and Kashmir into an Indian union territory, but also does the same with Ladakh – another region of Kashmir, one administered by India but claimed by China.
If Islamabad concludes its campaign isn’t getting traction, it may turn to other, more escalatory measures – including intensifying cross-border fire along the Line of Control that divides India- and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, deploying troops to its eastern border as a show of force, or encouraging Pakistan-based terrorists to stage attacks in Kashmir. To be sure, Islamabad may resort to these measures even while it carries out its global diplomatic campaign. However, because of a desire to project itself as a responsible player in the India-Pakistan dispute, it’s likely to hold off overt shows of force while it mounts its diplomatic offensive.
The deployment of Pakistan-based terrorists to Kashmir and elsewhere in India is worth flagging – it is a frequent Pakistani tactic and has high escalatory potential. Indeed, because Pakistan’s conventional military forces are inferior to India’s, Islamabad has long used terror groups as asymmetric assets against India. And let’s be clear: If a Pakistan-based militant group stages an attack in Kashmir, New Delhi will not simply sit on its hands – as evidenced by the retaliatory strikes it launched on Pakistan earlier this year and in 2016, following deadly assaults on Indian security forces by the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
However, Pakistan’s willingness to use this tactic will be mitigated by a third key factor impacting the direction of India-Pakistan relations: The Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, a global forum that monitors money laundering and terrorist financing. In 2018, FATF placed Pakistan on a “gray list” for terrorist financing. If FATF concludes Islamabad hasn’t done enough to combat terrorist financing by the time the group next meets in October, Pakistan runs the risk of being blacklisted – a damaging designation that could deter foreign banks and investors from doing business with Pakistan. This would be a big blow for a Pakistani economy already reeling from a serious balance-of-payments crisis.
Therefore, Islamabad has a strong incentive to limit its engagements with militants and hold back on sending jihadists to Kashmir until, and perhaps even after, the FATF ruling in October. If Pakistan is blacklisted, it will want to shed that ignominious status quickly – a desire that militates against colluding with militants. If Pakistan avoids the blacklist, it will have less incentive to distance itself from India-focused terrorists, but will also want to remain in FATF’s good graces, particularly with its economy in bad shape. That said, Islamabad could easily shrug off concerns about FATF and deploy terrorists across the border in the event of particularly provocative Indian acts, such as large-scale crackdowns that kill large numbers of Kashmiris or threats to seize Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a region claimed by New Delhi. Therefore, the FATF factor limits, but does not rule out, the possibility of Pakistani subconventional uses of force in Kashmir.
At the end of the day, neither side – particularly Pakistan, with its crippling economic crisis – is gunning for a conflict. However, because Pakistan regards India’s Article 370 repeal as an escalatory move, a single incident could put India-Pakistan relations on a war footing. Possible triggers include a mass-casualty attack, even one with tenuous or no links to Pakistan, on Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir or a preemptive Indian cross-border strike on a militant target in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Earlier this year India and Pakistan exchanged air strikes on each other’s soil for the first time since officially becoming nuclear states in 1998, thereby telegraphing a mutual willingness to use force under the nuclear threshold. New Delhi’s bold Kashmir move means that India-Pakistan relations have climbed a few rungs of the escalation ladder, heightening the prospects for a limited conflict between the nuclear-armed nemeses.
Michael Kugelman is Asia Program deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He is on Twitter @michaelkugelman.
So the whole reason why other nations at United Nations would not stand for the right of Kashmiris is merely because siding with India is more lucrative? Shouldn't the people of other nations urge their leaders to stand up to injustice and atrocities committed against a people?
Any other country critiquing India would hold substance. Pakistan is run by a military junta with a puppet prime minister. Pakistan is bankrupt, financially and morally.
9/11 is one of the main reasons the international community is averse to supporting Muslim armed struggles. The west bent over its back to support the Afghan Mujahidin’s holy war against Russia. Even supported the Bosnians and Albanians. The UN was constantly supporting the Palestinians, passed resolutions in support of the Pakistanis on Kashmir. What was the return? A multinational Islamic effort to kill over 3000 Americans in one blow, target Pentagon, US capitol etc! The mastermind of 9/11, the Pakistani terrorist Khalid Sk Mohd was directly motivated by Kashmir. He (along with the British-Pakistani Omar Sk) kidnapped, tortured, beheaded the Wall St Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and circulated the murder video! British--Pakistani-Kashmiris blew up buses and trains in the 7/7 attacks! More of them plotted to blow up transatlantic air crafts next year! This trend is still going on..Pakistani-Americans gunned down innocents in San Bernadino, CA, tried to blow up Times Sq, gunned down personnel in US base. British-Pakistani-Kashmiri Khurram Butt mowed down pedestrians with a van and then stabbed them less than 2 years ago in London! Not to mention their hostilities in Afghanistan.
If you hear the chants on the streets of Kashmir for last 70 years, it’s a religious war they are planning. “Azadi ka matlab kya-La Illaha Ill alah.” Means “Freedom means-no God but Allah!” This is actually a struggle to establish Shariah law under the pretext of a freedom struggle. No more!!
Time article on the transatlantic liquid bomb plot "Exclusive: A Kashmiri Tie to the Terror Plot." By JESSICA CARSEN Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006
Indo-Pak & the US..a cynical view: Compared to other similar neighbours like Iran-Iraq or European states (in the last century), India & Pakistan did not have millions of casualties in their conflicts despite being so reckless. The combined war deaths for these two countries in the last 7 decades is actually less than that of the US over the same time! No comparisons with the millions lost by the great powers in world wars.
The two south Asian siblings have perfected a finely tuned bloody choreography. A kind of "just in time" violence to achieve maximum attention & their respective goals. Mainly, monetization of it's nuisance value by the Pakistani army and domestic political gains by Indian politicians.
Compared to this choreography, poor uncle Sam looks miserably flat footed! Was lured & trapped into the Afghan dungeon by Pakistan based terrorists, spent trillions & now begging the same Pakistanis for a "face saving" exit!!
Bollywood probably had Uncle Sam in mind while creating the character "Pappu." The song goes:"Hai muscular, hai popular".. "Pappu ki gadi tez hai"(Pappu has fast cars)..
"Pappu ki ankhein light blue"(he has blue eyes)."Pappu dikhta angrez hai"(he looks like an Englishman)...etc..etc...but "PAPPU CAN'T DANCE SALAA!!"
North Indian sibling rivalries are as old as the Indian civilization itself. Remember the Pandava-Kaurava rivalry from the epic Mahabharat? Very similar to the current Indo-Pak muckraking & blood letting!
America can't help..should try to keep its own people safe instead. America has actually lost more blood & treasure to terrorism sponsored by Pakistan in the last 2 decades, than nextdoor India has in 70 years!!
Its interesting that you compared the Indo-Pak sibling rivalry with the Pandava-Kourava enmity from Mahabharatha! PM Modi is probably Arjuna & Subramanyam Swami, the Lord Krishna. Only problem here is, they don't talk to each other!
India seems to be "anti-fragile" to terrorism..the more Pakistan does it, the stronger India gets.
No it's because the World acknowledges that the linkages between India and Kashmir predate the idea of Pakistan and even genesis of Islam. That's why Kashmir issue cannot be seen solely through its Muslim majority. And if that is so then it raises even a bigger question as to why Muslims are unable to assimilate in a free democracy world over.
The cultural genocide being perpetrated against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang by China today should be a matter of great concern to people the world over. One million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where suicide is a routine occurrence; thousands of children, whose parents are in concentration camps, sent to "kindergartens" surrounded with barbed wire that they cannot leave; DNA extraction for Uighurs; discrimination against them (relative to their Han Chinese counterparts) at checkposts; cameras everywhere using high-tech software to monitor every move and flag people for arrest; police stations every 200 meters in cities. Surely the scale and force of the Uighur Muslim cultural genocide in Xinjiang eclipse anything India has ever done in Kashmir.
Yet Pakistani leaders, the Pakistani media, and, I suspect, Mr. Umar Farooq, are unable to even locate Xinjiang, which is just across the border, on the map these days.
What about the atrocities committed by Kashmiri Muslims and terrorists on Kashmiri Hindus in 1989-1990? People tend to forget this easily because it happened 30 years back.
US withdrawal (read surrender) talks with Taliban is why Modi is doing this Kashmir move now! When the Soviets fled Afghanistan is 1989, the terrorists moved into Kashmir with their NATO supplied weapons to carry out genocide on the Kashmiri Hindu pandits.
This time India is careful.
The US needs to take care too! According to Prof. Bernard Lewis, the US withdrawal from Lebanon (after the marine bombing) and the soviet withdrawal had emboldened the jihadis to finally execute the audacious 9/11 attacks. If the US sets another example of defeat in the hands of jihadis, can it prevent a bigger attack?
Can the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan be affected by the Kashmir move? Lets hear from the horse's mouth.
"Linking the issue of Kashmir with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not aid in improving the crisis at hand because the issue of Afghanistan is not related nor should Afghanistan be turned into the theatre of competition between other countries," Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed (reported by Andalou News Agency).
Michael Kugelman tweeted on this on August 9th.
"The Afghan Taliban tends to be an Afghanistan-focused organization, with a fairly local focus in terms of goals/tactics/activities. Therefore, this statement is...interesting."
The Taliban statement was preceded by a similar one from former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Tweeting, Karzai said, “Comments in Pakistan linking peace in Afghanistan to their objectives in Kashmir are indicative of Pakistan viewing Afghanistan as strategic depth. I call on Pakistan govt to stop using extremist violence as instrument of policy in the region. We hope the new measures by govt of India will lead to the betterment and prosperity of people in J&K as the citizens of India.”
Uncle Sam trying "early pull out" from Pakistan's "strategic depth." Was Kashmir supposed to be reward for another coitus interruptus between the two?
Well, now Americans may end up ejaculating from B-52s!!
Nehru allegedly secured Kashmir and east Punjab by exploiting his special relationship with the viceroy's lonely wife (Edwina Mountbatten).
Now that Pakistan has the most handsome PM (Imran Khan) and the US white house has a lonely first lady, why can't he reverse history? He seems to be a fan of Nehru these days!
Responding to Difa e Pakistan. Why did Lord Mountbatten favor (rather than antagonize) India in Kashmir negotiations when its leader (Nehru) was cuckolding his wife Edwina? One of the many unexplained questions on Kashmir I guess!
More apt analogy for the current situation will be how Nehru was courting, hitting on Jackie Kennedy during her India visit just before the 1962 Sino-Indian war. This was detailed by JK Gallbraith (the US ambassador). Nehru was then desperate about securing JFK's help against Mao...swallowed his anti-Americanism or non alignment pride! Imran made the U turn from his anti west posture too in order to counter Modi.
The only difference now is, Trump is also desperate for Pakistani help to rescue the US troops taken hostage in Afghanistan! Trump may therefore offer his other white house nymphs if Imran does not like the first lady!!
Before Kashmir can be freed from the Indian army, the Indian army needs to be freed from its civilian (read policemen) bosses like Doval!! Is there any precedence in history of such a huge war machine being at the whims of non warriors? How long can we tolerate "peaceful nuclear explosion" or "non military" operation using fighter jets across an international border?
I am sure Bollywood is soon going to spew several block busters using the Kashmir air battle..that will bring enough revenues for the Indians to replace the downed "flying coffin" with an advanced plane! Moral Hazard?
Other nations side with India compared to Pakistan. Hence, the failure of Pakistani diplomacy.
Don't speak for others if you don't stand up to injustice and atrocities committed against a people in your own country. Let the oppressed speak for themselves and let them stand up to scrutiny based on their own conduct, not yours.
A solution to Jammu & Kashmir's unresolved status can only be executed if the citizens of the territory create that solution without external interference - Tanveer Ahmed
Why is it that the US openly acknowledges Pakistan's state sponsorship of terrorism and yet does nothing about it? Do we have any shame to let Pakistan kill American troops and not retaliate? Like any bully, Pakistan is weak when challenged. The US, especially under Trump, needs to stop diplomacy with this rogue nation and wage an all out war to dismantle the terror industry Pakistan harbors. This menace has affected the world long enough - it's time to put an end to it once and for all. Ordinary Pakistani people must be tired of being ruled by a military. Give them freedom once and for all. And while you're at it, take a look at Pakistani atrocities in Baluchistan which is an area illegally occupied by Pakistan. It's time the US stopped being so painfully clueless when it comes to this region. This is after all the country that hosted Bin Laden as a guest of honor. Enough is enough.
Your tainted views of history and the concomitant conclusions thereof are a figment of your bias towards the Muslims who have most successfully and peacefully ruled the sub-continent for centuries. That Modi, the reincarnate Hitler, is set to ruin the illustrious systems introduced by Muslims here appears imminent. Not all, he has ratcheted up the boastful military and RSS-inspired hooligans residing deep in Indian society so well, that they are insisting on war!.
Sincere advice,,,,, come to senses.
Live and let live.
An incisive analytical view point. You have rightly brought out that world at large is favourable towards India for economic interests. The way Pakistani Prime Minister talked about India’s greater design for executing KASHMIRI GENOCIDE PLAN? I don’t think so that Hitler Modi’s dream will become a reality. He is risking Global peace at stake and anything going wrong drastically will lead to destruction of HUMANITY, and the Global Actors will SURELY be responsible. Mind it that this is not 1971 and the wounds of yesteryears are still fresh.
Therefore Global community must come forward to play its role for keeping two mighty Nuclear States at bay and also save this planet.
The international community while pressuring Pakistan to reign in non state actors causing regional instability, must also hold India accountable for not sitting down with Pakistan's recent offer for serious negotiation over final settlement of Kashmir. Any talks must be held without preconditions, be it Pakistan's tacit support for militants in Kashmir (it is to be noted that it was actually India has set the precedent by setting up and supporting erstwhile East Pakistan Bengali militant Mukti Bahini fighters during their upraising against Pakistan).
The international community - which has every stake in the interest of the disputed issue of Kashmir problem that risks spilling over beyond just Indo-Pak region, must make it clear to India that it cannot have both ways - expecting the international community to act or pressure Pakistan to reign down on terror and militancy to protect India's desire for peace in the region, and at the same time to remain indifferent to India's attitude to continue to refuse to seriously sit down with Pakistan for final peace negotiation over the Kashmir settlement. Refusing to sit down for peace negotiations and refusing to let either the UN or third party international mediator - which is ever more necessary as over the last 70 years of failure to resolve the Kashmir issue has show, smacks in the face of international community's accepting of India's desire for peace and rejection of terror. India's claim that Kashmir is a bilateral issue, just like Israel's claim to face off the UN pressure by unsuccessfully putting up statement that Israel and Palestinian's rights and their territories are solely a bilateral issue. Issue is there is common maxim in international law or norms / jus cogens is that any issues that becomes a bilateral issue is no longer an internal issue - hence legitimising the stakes of third party/international community's interests and concerns which could be potentially affected by the outcome and actions of bilateral states in terms of both peace settlement or regional instability in absence of peace settlement.
After exiting Afghanistan, is the US going to park its special forces in Indian bases in Kashmir? If not where else in the region? No doubt the US have to keep options of a quick re-deployment given the ground situations in AfPak. A US defeat in Afghanistan will embolden the islamists to a new height. PM Imran Khan has admitted in front of POTUS that 30,000 to 40,000 armed terrorists are currently active in Pakistan.
Besides, if the US wants to keep close eye on the China-Pakistan nexus, Kashmir is probably the best location. The US & India have already concluded LEMOA, COMCASA etc, hence the dreaded Indian bureaucratic intransigence has been already overcome. Back in the 60's, India did collaborate with the US when it had similar problems with China.
India is also trying to expand its training of Afghan military. They have been running mountain warfare school in Kashmir. Similar school in the north east (jungle warfare school) had trained the Bangladeshi mukti-bahini in the past. Kashmir is probably the most ideal terrain to train afghan (or any other anti-Pakistani) forces.
Pakistan has to wake up to the fact that the US has already mediated! Is it possible that India will be allowed to do this at a nuclear flashpoint without a tacit support from the US, Also if one looks at the circumstances & timeline, i.e. scheduled US withdrawal, recent terrorist attack by Jaish, Al Qaeda (Al Zawahiri) video on Kashmir, Pakistan’s desperation for IMF money, China US cold war, Pak PM + COAS visit to US....its very likely that Pakistan gave up Kashmir & conceded the LOC as a border.
Pakistan will never give up its claim on kashmir for a trivial IMF bailout! It had gone to such extents in the past! Covert & overt wars, training terrorists, taking Afghanistan as hostage, even harboring Osama bin Laden. Besides, isn’t kashmir the raison d’etre of the Pakistan army?
The biggest give away to the fact that the US knew about this (Kashmir move by Modi) is -Trump mentioned Kashmir in the press briefings BEFORE the meeting with Imran & his army boss ! Pakistani journalists/ talk show anchors have been having orgasms of their lives at the mention of Kashmir by POTUS and they (except Saleem Safi) ignored this completely..they stupidly thought Imran asked for the Kashmir mediation in his meeting.
You are right about behind the scene US support for Modi's Kashmir move..no wonder the Georgetown University's South Asia expert Christine Fair was in India with Westpoint cadres during this..they were apparently visiting Kashmir. Listen to the "The Lawfare Podcast: Christine Fair on Developments in Kashmir"on Aug 27th. Why do US military school (Westpoint) cadres need to visit Kashmir with a viciously anti Pakistan US security expert!!
Is the US trying to cut off CPEC or secure a land access to Afghanistan or station their troops for a quick return to Afghanistan?
Kashmir can truly become a key peg in the Asian geopolitics. Its next to the China Pakistan Economic corridor, few miles from Afghanistan & central Asia, at confluence of so many nuclear armed countries.
One needs to read Bruce Riedel's book JFK's Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War," to know how even the hardline anti-western Nehru was inviting the US to help India when challenged by China. They were training Tibetans (in western Nepal-Ladakh), hosted US spy planes & even fighters in the 60s. Its perfectly possible that India will now collaborate with the US again in Kashmir-Ladakh region against China.
You mean India wants the US “ Inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in?”
Muslims of Kashmir are struggling for their rights for the last over 70 years and belligerent India (the so called largest democracy) is denying them the same. The solution is very simple. Hold a referendum and arrive at a solution, but it should be monitored by UN or any international agency accepted by all. Will of the people should be accepted. Isn't it unfortunate that similar issues in East Timor and Sudan were resolved in short period of time because Christians were involved. When it comes to Muslims all sorts of excuses are given. If this injustice prevails then I am afraid dooms day is not away. If the Indians think that they can get away with this high handedness for long, then they are sadly mistaken.