India’s move to change the status of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir is another manifestation of the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government’s Hindutva ideology, which is aimed at “saffronising” India and turning it into a Hindu-dominated “Hindustan”. In so doing, it has not only manipulated its own Constitution, but has also trampled democratic norms and debased the United Nations Security Council resolutions recognising the territory as an international dispute, to which Pakistan is also a legitimate party, and promising the people of Kashmir an opportunity to determine their own future through a free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices. That promise was reiterated by Prime Minister Nehru on several occasions, with the assurance that he would respect the verdict of the Kashmiri people and that, if they were to tell India to leave, it would quit Kashmir without hesitation. As a consequence, the conditional accession of the state to the Indian Union was guaranteed through Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.
- The change in the status of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir can be seen as another manifestation of the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government’s Hindutva ideology.
- In anticipation of an adverse reaction to the change, the Indian Government moved an additional 50,000 military and paramilitary troops into the already highly-militarised area.
- The eventual lifting of the current security curfew is likely to be accompanied by further large-scale protests. India may respond by blaming Pakistan and again conducting “surgical strikes” inside Pakistani territory.
- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has made it clear that his country will respond strongly to any further military actions launched by India across the de-facto border, the Line of Control.
- In an emotionally-charged atmosphere, the Kashmir situation has brought the South Asian subcontinent to the brink of a serious crisis. Whether matters escalate will depend upon how the two nuclear-armed neighbours choose to handle the volatile situation.