Abrogation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution: If the UN cannot persuade India to step back, war in the region will be inevitable

By Nejat İsmayilov

Writer of this article Nejat İsmayilov is a political expert and journalist from Baku. He holds degree in Politology from Sumqayit State University Azerbaijan.

On August 5, the Indian parliament adopted a resolution to abolish the special status of the province of Jammu-Kashmir (then upper house also adopted the same decision). The decision was strongly condemned by the Pakistani leadership.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned Indian authorities that the decision will increase tensions between the states. Foreign Minister Qureshi called India’s move a political game that could have a serious negative consequences on regional stability and peace.

Backstage of the abrogation of the status of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir)

It is no coincidence that India’s abolition of Jammu Kashmir’s high status comes shortly after Washington’s meeting of US and Pakistani leaders. At the Washington meeting, Imran Khan convinced Trump to mediate for peace with India, but India rejected “new Kashmir talks” with this decision.

What was Article 370?

This article was adopted in 1949 to prevent further aggravation of the Kashmir problem and reduce the risk of war. Providing special political privileges to Muslims living in Kashmir is considered as one of the main legal instruments for maintaining stability in the region. Article 370 gave Jammu Kashmir broad independence, a distinctive constitution, a flag different from India. Instead of all of these, Jammu Kashmir’s (Indian Occupied Kashmir) foreign policy is subordinated to the Indian federal government and the territory is known as the highest autonomy in India.

Main points stand behind the abolition of high status of Jammu-Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir):

–      Pakistan’s success in the Kashmir talks with regional states and the United States, and its diplomatic activity has increased the risk of the movement of the most of the population from India-led Jammu Kashmir (which most of the population are Muslims).

–      In particular, the results of the Washington meeting were a dangerous signal for the Indian leadership. Therefore, India, with a hasty resolution to keep it under control, abolished Jammu Kashmir’s high status.

–      Most of the population in Kashmir is Muslim. (90% of the Kashmiri Valley and 30% of the Jammu are Muslim). It should be noted that the UN resolutions on the Kashmiri problem embraces the principle of Kashmir’s determination by the referendum. So, the Indian government’s high appreciation of the risk of separating the region from India and the overthrow of the Kashmiri high status is a game played for Kashmir’s control.

–      According to Article 370, India did not have the opportunity to influence the demographic situation of Jammu Kashmir, and the Government of India, which abolished this article, is now comfortable. By abolishing this, the Indian government plans to separate Jammu and Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir) and create Jammu and Ladakh provinces. By doing so, the Indian government will be able to prevent the growing number of Muslims in Jammu, the area where the Indians live, and make even more demographic changes in the part of occupied Kashmir.

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Why after the meeting of Imran Khan with Donald Trump?

It is noteworthy that the abolition of Article 370 happened after the fruitful meeting of Donald Trump and Imran Khan. Of course, the federal government of India has been working on this issue for a while, but the decision made too quickly and without paying attention of the risks, without taking consideration of the position of Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslims points to one detail: “India is deeply concerned about the secret agreements between Donald Trump and Imran Khan obtained at the Washington meeting, and India wants close the doors without the participation of the United States to the problem as a mediator.

What compelled India to make such a hasty decision?

First of all, it should note that our forecasts about Washington’s meeting between US and Pakistani leaders became true. Pakistan was able to obtain new financial loans by the US, stabilize tensions with the US, achieve a “new start between states” and, most importantly, got US support for Kashmir. In its turn, the United States has announced that Pakistan will support them in Afghanistan policy.

“Naturally, the US is interested in the solution of the Kashmir problem and is ready to mediate between the parties to resolve the problem. Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Modi had asked me to do this,” Trump’s such statements can be understood as a victory of Pakistan at Washington meeting.

Trump’s changing position on Pakistan

Trump didn’t demonstrate single position on Pakistan after coming to power. He describes Pakistan either as a important ally or as a state stabbing US. In spite of all these uncertainties, there are three reasons why he is so enthusiastic about the Kashmiri issue, and announcing its readiness of mediation on the conflict resolution during the meeting with Imran Khan.

The first reason is related to Trump’s need for Pakistan to solve the Afghan problem. Although previous governments before Imran Khan, have pledged to cooperate with the United States on the Taliban, they have not been able to provide real assistance to the United States in the fight against the Taliban. Imran Khan, for the last year, has been a “reliable partner” for Trump in his position on the issue.

The second reason is that the Indian federal government raises customs duties on US goods. Noting Trump’s businessman background and his sensitive approach to customs in trade relations between countries, we can say that those of all played a crucial role in the formation of Trump’s “new” position.

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The third reason is due to India’s passive position in the settlement of Afghanistan’s problem. Criticizing this position long ago, Trump demanded that India should support the United States in military actions and send troops to the region, not by the words. The Indian government, however, remained silent on Trump’s message. This silence is also one of the factors that can undermine Trump’s silence on the Kashmir issue…

Trump’s message on Kashmir made shock in India

In the Indian government, however, this issue has made shock. Truly, Prime Minister Modi did not deny Trump’s remarks for the diplomatic protocol, but Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar commented on this in his tweet account:

“This morning, in a telephone conversation with my colleague Pompeo, I mentioned that discussions on Kashmir can only be held between Pakistan and India.”

This statement means that India does not want to include the US in Kashmir under current political conditions (at a time when China and the US support Pakistan).

Taking into account these conditions and the “shifting position” of the US which has had on Kashmir since 1947, India canceled its special status fearing that Pakistan can resolve the problem in favor itself.

Signal of new war in Kashmir…

Of course, Pakistan strongly opposed India’s decision on Jammu Kashmir. However, the course of events points that Pakistan is not content with mere protests. This is due to the fact that the abolition of Kashmir’s high status is not in compliance with international law and means currently the isolation of the region.

Prime Minister Imran Khan cannot reconcile with this radical move of India and has to react. Because India initially made this decision formalizing Kashmir’s occupation. India has already become strong voice in Kashmir and could prevent the compact settlement of Muslims in Kashmir. Thus, the decision may result change of the demographic situation in Kashmir against Muslims. This, in turn, could lead to the resolution of the Kashmir problem in favor of India.

At the same time, it should be noted that Imran Khan mobilized all diplomatic opportunities to solve the problem. Following a series of telephone conversations with the leaders of Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, China and other countries, the Prime Minister received messages of support from them. Other Muslim countries are expected to support Pakistan in the shortest possible time. However, Imran Khan said that he would not content with appealing to the UN and bring the issue to the UN, this is right decision of him. The UN, which adopts resolutions on the Kashmiri problem, should react to India’s ignorance of these resolutions and legal obligations. If the UN cannot persuade the Indian leadership to step back, war in the region will be inevitable. The confrontation between two nuclear powers poses a threat to the security of the world, not just the region.

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Let’s remember the fact that dogfight between Pakistan Air Force and Indian Air Force would almost lead to the war in February, this year when Pakistan shot down two Indian Air force fighter jets and captured one Indian pilot who was handed over back to India as a good will gesture from Pakistan.

The removal of Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir) status and the complete breakdown of communications with the region since Sunday, the spread of news about the arrest of Muslim leaders in the region, the disruption of telephone and internet, the actual isolation of Jammu Kashmir and the deployment of 35,000 troops could urge Pakistan to military intervention.

All this is also a shame for Indian democracy, according to Mehbooba Mufti, one of the former leaders of Jammu Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir).

Pakistan can use the military factor to force India to take a step back if diplomatic channels fail. So, international law and power are now on Pakistan’s side. Also in the crisis just six months ago, the Indian army was clearly not ready for military action against Pakistan. Gaurav Gogoi, a permanent member of the Security Committee of the Indian Parliament, voiced the matter openly, noting that the Indian army was deprived of modern weapons and could not endure more than 10 days of fighting. But of course, the use of force is the ultimate version, and it can have very serious consequences.

The only solution to the problem of Kashmir is to listen to the voices of the people and to recognize their right to self-determination. People of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian Occupied Kashmir) should determine the status of the Kashmir, not Pakistan or India, for which they should either go to a referendum or gain independence or gain greater autonomy under one of the two states. India’s isolation of the Kashmiri people and its repressive actions are unacceptable. The problems of Kashmir, Karabakh and Cyprus are a common issue of the whole Islamic world, and the Muslim people of Azerbaijan are with their Muslim brothers who face persecution in Kashmir …

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.