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Mōdi-fication

By August 14, 2019June 30th, 2020Deception, extremism, India, Kashmir, Military, Pakistan, The Weekly

“There are things you break that can’t be put back together again. And Kashmir may be one of them.” Salman Rushdie 

Kashmir is the real test of secularism in India.-Mahatma Gandhi

“Without resolving Kashmir dispute, lasting peace cannot be maintained in the region.  -Shehbaz Sharif

While we as Americans have indulged ourselves in a literal political free-for-all over the past few weeks, the world has continued to turn. When we do this we miss some pretty significant events globally. The politicization of catastrophic events has become a national past-time. Frankly, it is starting to look a lot like a really bad “Sponge-Bob Square Pants” television episode. It is an embarrassing indictment against where we as a nation are headed. The events we ponder as a nation are tragic and must be dealt with, but the vitriol that evolves from the process will equip us poorly to address the true problems.

Let’s turn our attention to something that slipped in under most of our radar screens this past week. We will take a look at what actually happened and what the possible ramifications are for the future. 

Living in an increasingly connected world, the fallout of certain events ripple across the world’s time zones into our very own homes. We as a human race are more deeply connected than any of us would care to consider. I have always been intrigued by the “6 degrees of separation principle,” also commonly referred to as the “small world phenomenon.”   This principle tells us that we are connected to every other human being on the earth by only six connections. That means that the little girl who is joyfully playing in the mud in Kashmir is separated by only five other relationships, from you and me. The scientist Neil deGrasse hypothesizes that because of computer technology the separation may even be less. The point is that we cannot afford to ignore what is happening around the world simply because it is not right in front of us. There is as always more occurring today than meets the eye. There are events unfolding which could throw the entire world into a cataclysm of turmoil, and we are missing it because of our social pre-occupation with ourselves.

Review.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A on Monday, the 5th of August, 2019 was an act of significant international importance. Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) has had its special status revoked and will be integrated into India. Upending 72 years of politics and administrative rule, this move has been widely welcomed inside India except by those who see it as an attempt to change the demographics of the majority-Muslim area. 

Kashmir is a disputed 86,000-square mile area in the Himalayas that borders India, Pakistan and China. Both India and Pakistan have fought wars over Kashmir, clashing most recently in February, 2019. Kashmir is home to a Muslim majority but also hosts sizable Hindu and Buddhist populations. Fighting between India and Pakistan over Kashmir dates back to 1947, when both countries gained independence.

The move by Prime Minister Modi to annex the two Kashmiri regions of Indian Kashmir/Jammu and Ladakh into India proper has many politicians curious about what he is trying to accomplish. India and Pakistan have been in conflict over this region for over half a century. Why now, all of a sudden, especially after the February flare-up over the region between India and Pakistan? What does India hope to gain? A primary issue has been for years, that Kashmir, a region populated heavily by both Muslims and Hindus would administer its own affairs, under Pakistani and Indian oversight. Neither Pakistan nor India has wanted to step out and let it self-rule, over fear that the other might step in and take control.

It seems as if the logical next move for Pakistan is to annex the remaining region of Pakistani Occupied Kashmir (POK), Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan. By claiming that Kashmir is an entirely Indian matter, Modi has seemingly weakened India’s claim to two other parts of the former princely state of Kashmir administered by Pakistan.

Should Pakistan annex the remaining other two regions, it would infuriate New Delhi which may then recognize its tactical error. Given its customary political position it could hardly internationalize its complaint and is likely therefore to look for regional sanctions. Unfortunately, there are all too few options available which avoid military conflict. At this point it is important to remember that both India and Pakistan house nuclear arsenals, both of which have openly stated they are fully prepared to instigate. In such a conflict, the options of having your nuclear weapons seized by your enemy, or using them leaves little to the imagination as to which choice will be made. 

What is at stake for Prime Minister Modi and India? What will this do to the country’s national psyche? The simple question for many around the country will be, if the Indian government can so cunningly and casually discard a historical agreement or turn a full-fledged state into a union territory without consulting anyone in Kashmir, can’t this also be done to Bengal, Kerala or Punjab tomorrow? In other words, the entire organization of India into states demarcated along linguistic lines –a cornerstone of the country’s federal structure —is today in question.

What is at stake for Pakistan? Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government on Wednesday announced a series of measures to oppose what it called, “unilateral and illegal actions” by India. He also said that Pakistan will review bilateral agreements, take the matter to the United Nations Security Council and will ensure the army remains vigilant. Pakistan will walk a tight-rope as it is currently depending on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to get it through its rough economic season. It may be this alone which will keep Pakistan from a potentially dangerous military confrontation. It simply cannot afford it economically. To save face, Pakistan will most likely annex the two parts of Kashmir that it currently administers under an international agreement. What few know is that China also administers yet another section of Kashmir and could potentially annex that land into its currently disputed parts of China.  

“There is not much that Pakistan can do at the moment. India’s repeal of Article 370 is essentially a fait accompli. But Islamabad could try to push back harder against India, and its most effective tactic in this regard would be to send militants into Kashmir to blow some things up,” Micheal Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, told DW.

“The next time, there’s a militant attack in Kashmir — and it’s a matter of when, not if — the India-Pakistan relationship could well find itself on a war footing,” he said. 

What is at stake for Kashmir? There could be heightened cross-border fire across the Line of Control, between Kashmiri borders as well as insurgent attacks that could provoke India to inflict punitive measures against Pakistan, forcing a retaliation and bringing the nuclear arch-rivals closer to a wider conflict over their competing claims over Kashmir. Nationalist fighters within Kashmir will most likely be motivated to step up their attacks against Indian troops of which there is no shortage of targets in Kashmir. Of course, with the potentially degraded security situation, little investment will enter into the region. This will only continue to place pressure upon both the economy of Kashmir and the economy of India and Pakistan. Currently, both economies are highly stressed anyway. It is important to point out that the solution to this problem is not an easy one. Part of Kashmir desires India to be in control; part wants Pakistan to rule and another part would like to be independent. There is no majority of opinion on these matters.

Here is a wonderful letter written by a Kashmiri about the current situation from a simple citizens perspective. It reveals a depth of insight not found in mainstream media. I would encourage you to read it. It is not long. Click here

What is at stake for the rest of the world? There have been rumors suggesting that  Islamabad could delay an impending peace deal in Afghanistan unless Washington intervenes, and I am sure that means on the Pakistani side. It will be especially important to watch for developments on the security front in Central Asia. This could mean the slower rotation home of US soldiers as well as decreased stability in Afghanistan.

None of us wants to even begin to imagine what the consequences of a limited nuclear war in the sub-continent might mean. There is one thing for sure, in this scenario, nobody will win. 

Why.

As I stated in my introduction, it is becoming increasingly clear that the world is becoming smaller and smaller when it comes to national interaction. No longer can we safely assume that whatever happens on the other side of the planet stays there. We are too connected for that! 

As global citizens, the imperativeness of staying informed, being ready to pray and prepared to act on behalf of those in need is critical. Our cultural praxis of gazing at our own navels leaves us impotent to deal with the brewing crises that are erupting all across the earth.

Action.

I have looked down several avenues for ways that we can help the Kashmiri people. Right now, it is locked down quite tight. Only the Indian and Pakistani armies are being allowed to travel into and out of Kashmir.

We can still pray. As people of faith, we can believe that the violence will stop, that prosperity will emerge and that Kashmir will become a place of peace and hope. Here are some resources which can help you understand how to pray for the Kashmiri people.

Pray for the 296  different people groups of Kashmir.

Pray for peace in the midst of this very complex situation.

Pray for resolution of this situation between the Kashmiri people, the Indian and Pakistani governments. 

The follow-up.

Hong Kong protests: Live updates

 

The feed-back.

For your comments or questions about any of our digests please feel free to write to me at:  david@morethanmeets.co

Resources.

https://www.sciencealert.com/are-we-all-really-connected-by-just-six-degrees-of-separation

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/prime-minister-narendra-modi-on-kashmirs-kahwa-ladakhs-solo-and-more-in-speech-to-nation-2082438

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/india/indias-dangerous-move-in-kashmir

https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/weekly-rundown-italys-government-crisis-indias-gamble-kashmir-aftermath-mass-shootings-china-persian-gulf-huawei-saudi-arabia-oil-prices-venezuela-sanctions-indonesia-nickel?id=87179e919a&e=a0378d0f38&uuid=520e2e62-5256-4362-ab81-41306c73f866&utm_source=Daily+Brief&utm_campaign=ce39f009c3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_08_12_11_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_87179e919a-ce39f009c3-53606281&mc_cid=ce39f009c3&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-07/pakistan-suspends-bilateral-trade-with-india?srnd=premium-africa

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-political-solution-to-the-Kashmir-conflict-Should-Kashmir-be-given-independence-Is-the-status-quo-the-best-solution

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pakistan-hits-back-at-india-over-kashmir-move-targeting-bilateral-trade/ar-AAFty6g

https://www.dw.com/en/kashmir-crisis-pakistan-takes-a-diplomatic-gamble-with-india/a-49944432

https://theworldnews.net/nz-news/pakistan-ups-pressure-over-kashmir

© 2019 • More Than Meets