After the Kashmir Move: India-Pakistan Relations

By revoking a temporary constitutional provision, India has stripped Jammu and Kashmir of statehood and special autonomous status, with an expectation of new investment and development for the Muslim-majority area under dispute. “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,” warns Michael Kugelman, deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He lists three factors that could determine those relations: the length of India’s lockdown and subsequent protests, Pakistan’s diplomatic attempts to win global support for its position on Kashmir, and motivation for Pakistan to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a global forum that combats money laundering and terrorist financing. India changed status for Jammu and Kashmir while Pakistan is weakened by economic crisis and struggles to win international respect. Air strikes earlier this year indicate a willingness by the two nuclear rivals to rely on military force. – YaleGlobal

After the Kashmir Move: India-Pakistan Relations

India tests Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to gain international support with Article 370 repeal that changes the status of Jammu and Kashmir
Michael Kugelman
Thursday, August 22, 2019

In dispute: Kashmir has long been a flashpoint in Pakistani-Indian relations; Pakistan has tried diplomacy, including a tour of the line of control for attachés from the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Turkey and Indonesia, left, but India may hold the upper hand by ending semi-autonomy and imposing a lockdown

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.

© 2019 YaleGlobal and the MacMillan Center


The star psychologist Daniel Kahnemann talks about “loss aversion,” “endowment effect,” etc that affect behavior of the negotiating parties in a transaction. The party that perceives a loss (of something it perceives to be endowed with) behaves more vigorously than the other party. Hence a kind of negative reaction is expected from the Kashmiris until they witness the investments, prosperity that Modi talks about. Curfew should remain till then so that the militant minority among the kashmir valley (which itself is a small portion of the whole area in question) can’t derail the administrations’s efforts.

It has become a fashion for Pakistani leadership & media to attribute the Kashmir move to Modi’s ideology. They somehow think Gandhi & Nehru were more flexible on Kashmir. One only has to read Howard Schaeffer’s “Limits of influence..” book on the history of international experience with Indian negotiators. Nehru was over and over described as stubborn, intransigent, hawkish etc by potential international mediators. His daughter (another Gandhi) actually bifurcated Pakistan & took away Siachen! The Mahatma was probably the least difficult..but even he had traveled to Kashmir just before partition apparently to convince the ruler Hari Singh against joining Pakistan. Basically, it was India’s economic, military vulnerabilities after so many centuries of colonial rule that helped Pakistan.

Kashmiri diaspora is being active in protests. However the west should not forget their recent terrorist activities. The UK has a large British-Pakistani-kashmiri polpulation that is vocal these days. The 7/7 London bombers were from such families. So were some involved in the foiled tranatlantic liquid bomb plot. More recently, 2 years ago, Khurram Butt mowed down & stabbed pedestrians on London bridge. This community has a strong vote-base for the British Labor party, some have been contaminating the party with vicious anti-semitism.

Kashmiris should condemn the antisemitism perpetrated in their name. The kashmiri millitant groups promoted by Pakistan (Lashkar e Tayeeba, Jaish e Mohammad) have repeatedly executed virulent attacks against jews. Daniel Pearl (WSJ reporter) was kidnapped, tortured & beheaded in front of camera by Khalid Sk Mohd-Omar Sheikh team on behalf of JEM. During the 2008 Mumbai attack by LET, the Chabad house was attacked, jews were tortured & murdered, including a 5 months pregnant woman.

Key answer may lie in Punjab (India's only land access to Kashmir)! Any close observer of the Kashmir-India-Pakistan theatre should not ignore the recent efforts by the Pakistani army to once again activate anti-India elements in east Punjab. This may be an impetus to annex kashmir before its too late. Pakistan is supporting Khalistani elements worldwide (especially Canada & UK), empowering them inside Pakistan, trying to woo them with the Kartarpur initiative, approaching Sikh politicians in India (remember the embrace with Gen Bajwa) etc.

If one looks at news reports from the Northern Ireland “troubles,” all the crowd control methods were used by the Brits that the Indian army is being criticized for using today in Kashmir valley. The same response to stone pelting, army curfew, cordon & search, roadblocks using barb wires, media censorship etc.
According to Pakistani media (interviews, talk shows), since the lukewarm response from the international community, Pakistanis are praying for riots on the streets of Kashmir and a possible Indian suppression in order to justify propaganda about Indian colonialism. They may have to wait fora very long time. Even the British army stayed for over 3 decades.

Lets translate the main slogan on Kashmir's streets. "Hum Kya Chahtehe-Azadi..Azadi ka Matlab Kya-La Illaha Illalah." Means what do we want-Freedom. What does Freedom mean-No God but Allah." Basically this is a struggle for establishment of Shariah the garb of a freedom struggle. Same for Taliban by the way.

Pakistan lamenting lack of support from the Islamic world (Umma) on Kashmir. They should introspect into how Pakistani terrorism all over the world in the name of the Kashmir struggle have maligned their fellow muslims!!
For example, both the attacks on WTC were planned by Pakistanis..Ramzi Yusuf and then his uncle Khalid Sk Mohd. Goals were to kill 100,000 Americans! Before the 1st WTC attack, Ramzi killed a Japanese when he bombed a Philippino plane & attempted to kill the pope!  As if planning of 9/11 was not enough, Osama Bin Laden was sheltered by them. Since 9/11, several large scale terrorist attacks were executed by overseas Pakistanis or those trained in Pakistan. Namely, the 7/7 London bombings, London bridge attacks by Khurram Butt, US base shooting by Nidal Malik, San Bernadino shooting by Tashfeen Malik & Rizwan. The failed/ foiled attacks that are known were even more audacious. Times square bombing by son of a Pakistani air force officer, plan to blow up several trans-atlantic flights by British Pakistanis. David Headley (Daood Gillani) planned to attack Denmark, take journalists hostage & throw their severed heads on the street! Obviously these are in addition to Mumbai & many other attacks in India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan.
Pakistan basically bit the hands that feed its people. The west is now wary of fishing in the muddy waters of Kashmir (used to be a lucrative opportunity in the past) lest snakes & not fish come out from those waters. Remember Hillary Clinton's admonition of Pakistan raising snakes in its backyards hoping to hurt only its neighbors.

Robert Kaplan says the following on Kashmir in his “Revenge of Geography..” book:
“Kashmir, like Palestine, because of the effect of cyberspace and new media, could still fire hatred among millions, putting a solution to its tangle of problems further out of reach. For the very technologies that defeat geography also have the capability of enhancing geography’s importance. The subcontinent is a blunt geographical fact, but defining its borders will go on indefinitely.”

America has skin (and some burnt flesh) in the Kashmir game..

In 1995, Kashmiri terrorists (Al Faran group) kidnapped western hikers to internationalize Kashmir issue and to free Omar Sheikh (Omar later kidnapped WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl & handed him over to KSM for beheading.) The Al Faran boys beheaded the American hiker, Donald Hutchings from Spokane, WA.This gruesome killing apparently traumatized Hutching's friend from Spokane, army psychologist James Mitchell against jihadis..he eventually used waterboarding & other torture on KSM after 9/11 on behalf of CIA. May be we will know more on this in the soon upcoming trial of KSM! 

There is a VICE news youtube  documentary on Dr. James Mitchell, called "The Architect of the CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Program, James Mitchell." Around  12.21 into the film, he describes the effects of the Kashmir kidnappings on him.

Also, excerpt from Spokesman-Review of Spokane (12/21/2014)-
" One of the prisoners whose release the terrorists sought was a senior al-Qaida operative named Omar Saeed Sheikh. After his release in 1999, he was believed to be involved with the 9/11 attacks, and was arrested in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl was turned over to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who executed him. Mohammed has claimed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks..."
"..the kidnapping had international ramifications, it also had local ones. Hutchings’ family and friends here – including many who were fellow mountaineers – tried to maintain hope as the bad news, or lack of news, dragged on. Among those in Spokane who were affected was James Mitchell, who was working as a psychologist at the Fairchild Air Force Base Survival School and who would later design and implement the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program following the 9/11 attacks. Mitchell said it was Hutchings’ kidnapping that drew his initial interest toward the subject of violent Islamic extremism."

You mean more American "heads rolled" before 9/11 than after?

“The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 – Where the Terror Began”..Book by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark describes the kidnapping & murders. one of the bodies had the name of the terrorist groups etched on the chest!! The same terrorists eventually were involved in Daniel Pearl’s beheading, 9/11, London bombings.

Westerners have to remember, if they go fishin' in the muddy waters of Kashmir, poisonous snakes & not fish may emerge!
In the local mythology, Lord Shiva used to deal with the poison churned up by the tussle between the good & bad. Now that Shiva is banished from his sacred Kashmir, Americans (or whoever) brings on the troubles, have to suffer from the green toxin themselves.

The new media war turns truth to lies and just to unjust. Kashmir crisis has nothing to do with 9/11, Afghan war or similar acts anywhere. But the comments above try to take away attention from grim realities of broad day light human rights violation by a democratic country against its own citizens.
The territory is deputed as recognized by UN. India itself took the issue there. No after 7 decades it feels that it can change the status of Kashmir as its has become the Darling of the World through it market attraction. May be it could pull this off but will settle a bad example for the World.
Time to think wisely.

Pakistan is taming its jehadi terrorists only because of the financial pressue from FATF- this means 2 things (1) Pakistan's financal prosperity is dangerous for the world (2) those terrorists can be used as mercenaries against India/China/Russia/ Iran..depending on who is paying Pakistan's bills at any particular time

Kashmiris are sorely missing the (so far) steadfast British guv support. Traditionally it comes in the form of intrusive and condescending demarches to India. Sometimes stabs in the back like the British Kashmiris kidnapping & murdering Indian diplomat (R. Mhatre in Birmingham 1984). At other times, tolerating frank terrorism by British Pakistani-Kashmiris like Omar Sheikh (kidnapped westerners in Kashmir including Daniel Pearl).
Since the recent move by Modi, all the British could do was to allow their Pakistani-Kashmiris endanger Indian life & properties during violent protests in UK cities. This is not enough! As soon as the next terrorist attack is carried out by another member of the British Pakistani community (like Khurram Butt, less than 2 years ago), they will need Pakistan's support for conducting inquiries. Also, don't forget the Kashmiri-Mirpuri voters, a huge, militant and fast growing constituency.

The UK will soon be known as FUKEW (Former UK of England & Wales) country..another paper tiger like the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). Pakistanis should not expect anything from them.Just like the UK is home to millions of Pakistanis, there are millions in the OIC countries too, still UAE & Bahrain just recently felicitated Modi.
Although one should not lose hope. The holy Hadith spells out clearly that soon there will be the holy army of believers raising from khorasan and engulf India..God willing! Kashmir Banega Pakistan! InshaAllah!

@Naila Ali, regarding your sarcasm about the British- They did a good job in silencing India forever on the Koh-i-noor diamond, using the Kashmir issue. For decades, a favourite Indian past time in London was to shout slogans calling the British "thieves" & demanding return of the diamond (from the queen's crown) to India. However, the British masterly reminded the Indians that Koh-i-noor was given to the British by its Sikh royal owner in the treaty of Amritsar in 1846...the same treaty that allowed selling of Kashmir to Ghulab Singh (whose descendent Hari Singh later acceded to India). Hence India had to officially acknowledge British ownership of Koh-i-noor to establish their sovereignty over Kashmir. In 2016 the Indian solicitor general admitted the above in Indian supreme court. The British could still guide Pakistan establish its rightful ownership of Kashmir.

For a very long time the Good Friday agreement from Northern Ireland was being peddled as a possible solution to the Kashmir issue. Not any more!! The once proud Britishers are running around like headless chicken since Brexit. They may soon lose Northern Ireland & Scotland. The Foreign Affairs mag called this new post Brexit Britain, FUKEW (Former UK of England & Wales). All sort of people, including EU, Trump, even the lowly Nancy Peolsi is lecturing them! They must be feeling the same way Indians used to when the west was constantly pontificating on Kashmir..trying to force India to capitulate infront of terrorism, just like the British did in the Good Friday agreement, egged on by Clinton.
Lord Mountbatten may remain the only residual link between Northern Ireland and Kashmir. The infamous colonial viceroy, whose hasty retreat from India created the Kashmir problem, was killed in Northern Ireland (arguably the last British colony).

The British were so negligent on arresting the Pakistani-kashmiris plotting the transatlantic bomb plot in 2006, that CIA boss Mike Hayden had to fly to Pakistan and get Rashid Rauf arrested to wake up the Brits. See--Roston, Aram; Lisa Myers; the NBC News Investigative Unit (14 August 2006). "Source: U.S., U.K. at odds over timing of arrests". NBC News. 

Obviously Rashid Rauf (the mastermind of the biggest terror plot since 9/11) escaped from Pakistani custody!!!

I was right...another Kashmiri from British Pakistani community, Usman Khan, killed innocents in London. This time too, the Brits needed Pakistani help.. dumped his body in Pak occupied Kashmir, even though he was UK citizen.

Modi clearly emulating the Israeli settlement model in Kashmir. With substantial Israeli help including supervision, planning, installing infrastructure/ surveillance & more. However there is one key Israeli tool that India lacks...dual citizens. Israel cleverly settled many citizens of the west who did the Aliyah. So incase of violence against these settlers, it will become the headache for those western countries too. Whereas India does not allow dual citizenship.
Instead they are planning to settle retired military...probably in lieu of the lifelong pension that's so burdensome for the Indian state.

People who call for plebiscite in Kashmir, should take a look a the Brexit plebiscite (referendum) fiasco!

Pakistan's best chance of capturing the whole of Kashmir came in late 90s..not by sending terrorists. It was when the super handsome Pakistani-Kashmiri doctor (Hasnat Khan) was dating princess Diana. Imran Khan (Hasnat's cousin) bungled (as usual)..Diana went all the way to Lahore to marry the doctor but Imran could not even get him answer his phone call! The British royals could easily rectify the mistake that the black sheep of their family, Lord Mounbatten committed 50 years ago.

The transatlantic bomb plot was hatched by British Kashmiris from Pakistan. It was being co ordinated by the British citizen Rashid Rauf from Pakistan. CIA boss had to fly to Islamabad to get Rauf arrested & thwart the plot (because the British were reluctant to go after them in London)!
The UK has steadfastly supported Pakistan's "Kashmir cause." The terrorist organization JKLF operates freely from the UK. The Labour party is full of their supporters, trying to influence the British guv policy. Pakistan has successfully exploited British Russophobia and the western urge to dominate India.
However the "river of blood" is now flowing over the bridge in London!!!

Modi's Kashmir move may be behind the latest terrorist attack by British-Pakistani Usman Khan. He had long standing dreams of setting up madrassah/ terror camps in Kashmir but was frustrated by the recent change in India's posture. The last few years Brits have seen so many terror plots (many may be unpublished) by members of the Kashmiri diaspora. The transatlantic liquid bomb plot, plans to blow up London Stock exchange, the attack of 7/11, London bridge attack in 2017 etc etc.

UK is suffering from its century old appeasement policy towards the muslims of the Indian subcontinent.

According to credible studies, the British Pakistani community (mostly from Kashmir's Mirpur) have a very high level of inbreeding (marriage between first cousins). Somebody should explore if their violent fanaticism is linked to many weird diseases have been already proven to be recessive traits, unmasked by inbreeding.

India may have negotiated a grand bargain with the US...collaboration on Kashmir for giving up close Iran ties.

India needs Iranian port to access Afghanistan & central Asia since Pakistan is blocking overland route. If the US can help India breakthrough that blockade, starting in Kashmir, then several geo-political knots can be undone.
US and India can shed their respective dependence on Pakistan and Iran, Chinese activities can be monitored and countered, Iran can be isolated, Indian markets can open up to US hydrocarbons.

Despite the head butting and muck racking over Kashmir, India and Pakistan actually have been quiet responsible in their fights. Compare them to the Iranians! Even while Iran was shooting missiles at US bases in Iraq, it's air space was still open to civilian flights. So many passengers of the Ukranian plane died unnecessarily. This is in stark contrast to the India Pakistan fight in 2019..when they closed their airspaces. Even the Russians and Ukranians had collateral damage with the Malyasian plane getting hit.