One year ago, India rescinded constitutional provisions giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed territory also claimed by Pakistan. Kashmiri militancy is growing, often with Pakistani encouragement. Allies should urge New Delhi to relax its clampdown and Islamabad to stop backing jihadist proxies.
In symbolic victory for PM Modi’s Hindu nationalist project, construction of Hindu temple began at long-disputed site. In Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi 5 Aug formally launched construction of Hindu temple at location in Ayodhya, long contested by Hindus and Muslims with dispute triggering some of India’s deadliest Hindu-Muslim violence in recent decades; in speech same day, Modi said Hindu god Ram’s birthplace had “finally” been “liberated” and India was “creating a glorious chapter in history”. In response to derogatory Facebook post about prophet Muhammad by nephew of local Indian National Congress politician in Bangalore, hundreds of Muslims 12 Aug took to streets; police opened fire on protesters, killing at least three, and arrested some 200. Wall Street Journal 14 Aug alleged that Facebook had failed to remove hate speech posted by at least one member of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and at least three other “Hindu nationalist individuals and groups” due to fear of harming business prospects in India. Meanwhile, anti-Maoist operations and Maoist violence continued: in Chhattisgarh (centre), security operations 5-30 Aug killed seven Maoists in Bijapur, Kanker, Sukma and Dhamtari districts; suspected Maoists 23-31 Aug killed two police officers in Bijapur district. In Andhra Pradesh (south east), Maoist landmine 3 Aug killed two civilians in Visakhapatnam district. In Maharashtra (west), Maoists 14 Aug shot and killed police officer in Gadchiroli district; security forces 26 Aug shot and killed Maoist in Gadchiroli district. India and China continued talks on disengagement of troops at disputed border: military officials met 2 and 8 Aug, and diplomats 20 Aug agreed “to resolve outstanding issues” related to disengagement “in an expeditious manner”, but India 31 Aug accused China of “provocative military movements” to change the status quo on Line of Actual Control, adding it took measures to “thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change the facts on the ground”; China same day denied accusation. COVID-19 cases continued to soar with total number of cases 23 Aug surpassing 3 mn; by end of month India had world’s third-highest caseload and third-highest death toll.
Their recent dialogue process provides the best chance yet for bilateral peace and regional stability, but Pakistan and India must still overcome serious mistrust among hardliners in their security elites.
India needs to push Sri Lanka harder towards steps that will avert a return to violent conflict on the island.
When the third round of the normalisation talks concludes in July 2006, India and Pakistan will be no closer than when they began the process in February 2004 to resolving differences, including over Kashmir.
The agreement between Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, and India's new prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to continue talks on all contentious issues including Kashmir has inspired optimism about reduced tensions in South Asia.
For half a century Kashmir has been the major issue of contention between India and Pakistan.
Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years.
A 14 February suicide attack by Pakistan-based militants was their bloodiest strike in Indian-administered Kashmir in over three decades. In this Q&A, our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller warns that even a limited Indian retaliatory strike could spark a sharp escalation in conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Originally published in Política Exterior
Originally published in The Hindu