On the Brink of War: Diffusing Tensions Between Pakistan and India
Mounting Protests in Kashmir and the Risk of Nuclear War
The region known as Kashmir has been at the center of an ongoing international dispute since the partition of India in 1947. Since then, both India and Pakistan have sought control over this historic piece of land, which encompasses over 85,000 square miles and is home to over 12.5 million people. In 1949, Article 370 of India’s constitution gave Jammu and Kashmir the power to enact its own constitution, but India recently revoked Article 370, bringing Jammu and Kashmir under the control of India’s constitution, which allows non-residents to purchase land and apply for grants and jobs that were previously reserved for the area’s existing population.
Last month, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, asked members of the United Nations to help resolve tensions with India, considering neither party appears willing to reach a resolution. Let’s take a closer look at this ongoing issue and how it might come to an end.
Rising Tensions in Kashmir
India and Pakistan were on the brink of war earlier this year. Back in February, India bombed areas of Pakistan for the first time in half a century. In an effort to resolve the dispute, Pakistan returned a downed fighter pilot to India, but the conflict continued. To cement its control of Kashmir, India sent hundreds of thousands of troops to the region and carried out thousands of arrests.
India also suspended all communications in the region, including phone and Internet access. The Muslim-majority region contains supporters and dissidents on all sides. Since India sent troops to the region, protests have erupted across the area. India has since placed heavy restrictions on the movements and gatherings of residents. South Kashmir has become home to a new generation of anti-India protesters, further escalating tensions with Indian armed forces.
The undoing of Article 370 has only further stoked these tensions. Jammu and Kashmir are now largely in control of the central India government. As new residents move into the disputed region, it could shift the demographics of India’s only Muslim-majority state.
However, India’s Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah recently commented on the situation, claiming that Article 370 served as a “gateway to terrorism in India,” by letting insurgents run rampant in the region. He went on to say that revoking Article 370 was Prime Minister Modi’s way of closing this gate.
Imran Khan resists this sentiment, insisting that the revoking of Article 370 will lead to the spread of more anti-India insurgents, as younger residents of Kashmir resist India’s takeover of the region.
Searching for a Political Solution
During his visit to the U.N., Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan voiced his concerns to other political leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and French President Emmanuel Macron, warning that Pakistan and India are on the brink of nuclear war. Both nations have access to nuclear weapons. If their dispute over Kashmir were to escalate, it could lead to devastating consequences that reverberate beyond these two countries.
Trump has agreed to mediate talks between the two parties if they both agree to let the U.S. play such a role. However, some question whether Trump and the U.S. can remain impartial during these talks. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become a close political ally of President Trump’s, even appearing at one of his recent political rallies in Texas.
It remains to be seen who would play such a role in the ongoing dispute over Kashmir. Currently, it seems neither India nor Pakistan are ready to resolve this confrontation on their own.
The protests in Kashmir have since captured the world’s attention. The area is already one of the most unstable regions in the world, and India’s revoking of Article 370 will likely worsen this crisis over the coming weeks and months. While India remains in control of Kashmir, impartial parties believe a third-party moderator is needed to resolve the crisis. With the threat of nuclear war in the air, some of the most powerful nations in the world are hoping for a swift end to the dispute.
Stay tuned as Tanya Johnson continues following this important issue.