Abrogation of Article 370:
Two years to the abrogation of Article 370 and a diversified topic of discussion today. From being called unconstitutional in the manner it was abrogated to providing hope to those in exile since the 1990’s is a hot political debate. We shall rather discuss not the political means of article 370 but the geopolitical aspect of the aforesaid.
Two Nation Theory:
Kashmir has been a bone of confrontation between two nations which was the result of Jinnah’s Two Nation Theory. The 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan was a chaotic movement. A blood bath of long drawn communal riots between the Hindus and the Muslims.
Jammu and Kashmir bounded to the East by now the Union Territory of Ladakh. To the South by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The geo-strategical aspect of a state within a country is important. It affects the lives of those living there and their relation with its neighbouring states.
The Line of Control:
The Line of Control most dangerous area to live also known as “The Cease Fire Line”. It’s a de-facto (not legally recognised) border between India and Pakistan after the 1972 Shimla Agreement. The region puts into danger the Security, Health, Education and Social -Economic development of the state.
The concept of Geopolitics:
The concept of Geopolitics emerged in the late 19’s and 20’s where the states and countries were following the expansionist policies of expanding their geographical boundaries. Kashmir thus acquired unique geopolitical status in the Indian continent. Kashmir is wedged between three triangular Nuclear Weapons states India, Pakistan, and China. This has created conflicts, chaos, low intensity wars.
The Sino- Indian war 1962 and 1967 are border related disputes and standoffs still take place. Look back at the INDO-PAK war of 1965 which provoked Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue by using hard power – a three-phase programme.
1- The Rann of Kutch is an 80 km wide, and 515 km long stretch of land bordering on Sind in Pakistan and Gujarat in India. There the Indian capacity was tested but saw no major intrusion.
2- Trouble in Kashmir was instigated to grab the valley.
3- Followed by Pakistan launching the operation ‘Grand Slam’. The aim was to defeat Indian forces in the Chhamb area to facilitate the capture of Akhnur bridge and Jammu. This in turn would have cut the Indian line of communication to Kashmir.
For India, Kashmir is an open gate to central India and has physical access to Afghanistan. Afghanistan has itself seen a changing canvas, the stronghold of the military (Taliban).
From Pakistan’s perspective, Kashmir should belong to them because of its Muslim majority. Pakistan claims Kashmir as her lifeline giving it easy access to China’s Xinjiang province and Afghanistan, and the Central Asian countries. Kashmir is a militarised zone in the world, insecurity, tensions than a zone of peace.
Rise of China and Pakistan relationship:
The rise of China and Pakistan relationship strategically can affect the hold of Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir and POK and the following Hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand is a point of concern. This diplomatic deepening, exchange of Arms and Drones technology between the two countries can not be neglected. Be it the case of the line of control or the line of actual control.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor:
Take the example of The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which India claims to be an Illegal corridor. This corridor that is said to be a developmental project has many halted projects and many ongoing terrorist activities. This is a cause of geographical concern for India as it cuts through the illegally occupied POK region, now The Indian UT of Jammu & Kashmir and UT Ladakh. Abrogation while takes away the separate constitution of Jammu and Kashmir with motives of development. Taking control over the administration and claiming it officially and fully a part of India has much to be like a response to future developmental projects like that of CPEC that can harm the national interest of India. Though the CPEC partners claim no hostile intentions.
The world has witnessed how China has been trying to make its presence permanent in the South China sea. On the other side forging a strong alliance to develop economic- social marks in the disputed region of Gilgit – Baltistan. With the abrogation of article 370, India has also reiterated its claim over the POK.
These boundaries between the state play a very important role when it comes to the level of security provided to the people living close to area’s prone to conflict. The overall growth, development and well-being are at stake. We have seen Kashmir facing strikes and hartal’s, the educational loss and business underdevelopment and the use of resources not to its full potential. The POK region is underdeveloped and for a long time without a constitution. The terrorism against which the world is fighting, Kashmir is the hot spot of terrorist infiltrations that can spread to central India too.
Respecting the views of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the decision of abrogation may or may not be fully in favour of all. When we talk of world peace and international agenda to counter-terrorism and global development. There is a need to come together to protect the right to life, when security assurance doesn’t seem possible certain actions using soft power is required. Changes take time to come to the forefront.
In the current scenario, if we put our focus on AFSPA, a minor change in the controversial act is – authority to declare any area as “disturbed” in both the Union Territories is now vested with the Department of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh Affairs under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Earlier the district magistrate was empowered to declare a particular district area “disturbed” under the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region. Any unlawful action the department will be accountable to people. The possibility of removal of the act will make a big difference if the peace is restored simultaneously.