How an Indian Kashmir Fits Into Modi's Grand Plan

Aug 29, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

India and Pakistan regularly target each other with mortar shells and gunfire on the de facto border known as the Line of Control in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir, which is claimed by both nuclear-armed countries.

Jammu and Kashmir is in the midst of a seismic political shift after New Delhi announced it was stripping the state of its autonomy and splitting it into two centrally administered territories.



  • The growing political presence of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kashmir enabled Prime Minister Narendra Modi to finally absorb the autonomous territory after nearly seven decades. 
  • The need to distract voters from India's slowing economy plus fears that the pending U.S. exit from Afghanistan will eventually bolster Pakistan's regional power likely prompted Modi's decision.
  • In the long-term, Modi will encourage the migration of non-Kashmiri Hindus to the region as part of the BJP's efforts to advance national unity and strengthen India's control over the state. 
  • But an increasing involvement of locals in the insurgency in Kashmir could thwart these plans, and will remain the likeliest cause of future conflict between India and Pakistan.

It's been almost a month since the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir of its nearly 70-year-old constitutional autonomy. The decision has since sparked both jubilation and outrage across India's diverse political spectrum, as well as weeks of protests in Kashmir. For the state's former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, the Aug. 5 announcement amounted to "the darkest day in Indian democracy." But to Modi's supporters, it advanced the long-cherished objective of absorbing the territory into the union.  Modi is keenly aware of the dangers his decision gives rise to, including risks of a more violent insurgency in the region and of worsened relations with Pakistan. But for the recently reelected prime minister and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the benefits of advancing India's territorial unity outweigh the risks -- especially amid shifting power dynamics in South Asia....

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