Four brief thoughts on developments in Kashmir

I suppose everyone has seen the news on Kashmir. I have some thoughts.

1. I don't know if the internet as we know it will exist in ten years, or whether I will still be alive at the time, but I feel reasonably comfortable making the following prediction: strictly seen from the perspective of maintaining the current territorial status quo in Kashmir, the Indian state will come to regret this decision within a decade. Even if it holds on to the state in its entirety, it just made its job a lot tougher and costlier. I also think it has opened up wiggle room -- diplomatically and legally -- that did not exist before.

2. Relatedly, I believe no institution is happier today than GHQ. No, not even the RSS or Times Now or Republic TV. Congrats to Modi and Amit Shah for doing more for Pakistan's position than anyone in Pindi could have hoped for. There's a dissertation and a half waiting to be written on popular right wing nationalism at home leading to dumb and overreaching shit abroad (I can think of some recent cases).

3. Anyone in Delhi or DC or on anywhere else who tries to pin this on any "external threat" should never be paid attention to again. Trust me, I'm more than aware of the times when Pakistan's behavior has been key to how India behaves in Kashmir, but this time ain't it. I've seen some hilarious tweets in this regard but this probably takes the cake

This is basically geopolitical mad libs. May as well add climate change and North Korea to the mix as well while we're at it. The "external threat assessment," objectively speaking, has actually been trending the other way:

Yeah so guys, sorry, but this is ALL domestic politics. It's a combination of the mandate the BJP perceived/received in the recent elections and the fact that the Hindutva right has been talking about 370/35-A for a long time. As I told Zafar Aafaq (Kashmir Life journalist) in an interview a couple years ago
There is the Indian domestic angle. When Modi came to power, the big question was, would he try to satisfy his Hindutva base or go for the economic reforms. It is pretty clear now that he chose to burnish its social cultural Hindutva base which is extremely intolerant of any concession to Kashmir. They want to take back old concessions like Article 370 and 35-A rather than giving new concession. So I don’t think this government in Delhi is in any mood to concede anything to Kashmir.
 They finally got what it wanted. But going back to 1, be careful what you wish for, fellas.

4. There is a rabidity on Kashmir on the Indian right and even mainstream that is, to put it mildly, unsettling (and no, this is not just about Anupam Kher's tweets). I really hope there's something resembling a leash put on security forces behavior in the next few weeks because there exist plausible scenarios where things get pretty bad. Not necessarily likely, but definitely plausible. 


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