Islamabad’s efforts to keep Kashmiri separatism alive is not the sole spark that has reignited tensions.
Pakistan Prepares to Fight India for Kashmir
Kashmir was once the most dangerous place in the world. Disputed between India and Pakistan—two nuclear weapons states—the stunning Himalayan redoubt is India’s only Muslim majority state. Until the arrival of India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tensions in Kashmir were on the wane. Terrorist incidents and deaths were down, tourism was up and the erstwhile nuclear flashpoint was as close to peaceful as it had been in decades. That peace is now over.
On Monday, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government took the drastic step of abolishing the constitutional provision that guaranteed Kashmir’s autonomy. The government also announced a plan to partition Kashmir and downgrade it from a full-fledged state to a federally administered “Union Territory.” It deployed over ten thousand soldiers, blocked internet access, and placed leading Kashmiri politicians under house arrest. The separatist insurgency, which has accelerated under the BJP government after a period of relative calm, is now poised to explode.