Flag of Azad Kashmir on soldiers arm. Flag of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on military uniform (collage)

India Strips Kashmir of Special Status: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. India takes aggressive action

Kashmir was long protected by article 370, which allowed Kashmir a certain amount of autonomy – its own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws, while the defence, communications and foreign affairs were controlled by the central government. This was long opposed by PM Modi and the BJP, and India has now taken the provocative step, scrapping article 370, and forcefully placing Kashmir on the same footing as the rest of India. Many in Kashmir believe India wants to change the demographics of the region, to integrate it into Indian society as the government please. As a result, Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution but will have to abide by the Indian constitution much like any other state and all Indian laws will be automatically applied to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state will be able to buy property there. The government has shown no regret or stalling, as they said it would help develop the region. But that is not all, as in another move that has outraged both Indian opposition and the UN, The government is also moving to break up the state into two smaller, federally-administered territories. One region will combine Muslim-majority Kashmir and Hindu-majority Jammu, while the other is Buddhist-majority Ladakh. This is a bold move that will be very hard to implement.

2. Unrest in Kashmir

After the latest actions from India, Kashmir has been in a state of panic and unrest, as people queued for hours outside petrol stations and cash machines on sunday, and thousands of tourists and Hindu pilgrims have been evacuated since Friday after the Indian government cancelled the annual Amarnath Yatra, a 45-day pilgrimage to a Himalayan cave shrine. This was not only sparked by India’s latest scrapping of article 370, but also the deployment of 10,000 extra troops by India to the region last week. Furthermore, one of Kashmir’s most popular politicians, Omar Abdullah, the former Chief Minister, is set to be placed under house arrest. Such an arrest is not good for the economy and public opinion of Kashmir, but such hard-line policies of India in Kashmir so far may only be the beginning.

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3. Will the US act as mediator?

4. Pakistan responds as expected

5. The UN interferes

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