The India-Pakistan crisis is still escalating. Pakistan suspended its main rail transportation service to India on August 8. Earlier, Pakistan asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to leave Islamabad to return to India and said that Pakistan will no longer send a high commissioner to India. On the same day, Pakistan also announced that it would close an air flight channel to India.
On August 7, Pakistan announced the downgrade of its diplomatic relations with India, interrupted bilateral trade, and re-examined bilateral arrangements to bring the issue to the UN and the Security Council. In addition, on the day of Independence Day on August 14, Pakistan will also support the people in India-controlled Kashmir to “just fight for the right to self-determination” and set August 15 as “Black Day.”
Pakistan’s serial action stems from a decision made by India on August 5th: On the same day, the Indian government announced the abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution and the abolition of the special status granted to the Indian-controlled Kashmir region by the previous Constitution.
In the past few decades, no Indian government has acted in Kashmir’s “special” status because of concerns about possible conflicts. The breakthrough action of the government of Narendra Modi will undoubtedly intensify the situation in India and Pakistan. Why did Modi touch this “minefield”? What do Modi want to gain under all kinds of adventures?
Interest visible in front of us
From a realistic perspective, this is the performance of Modi’s promise. As early as the Prime Minister’s election in 2014, Modi wrote the abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution into his own campaign platform. In this year’s (2019) general election, Modi’s Indian People’s Party promised that it would cancel the special status of the state.
When Modi was in his first term, the Indian People’s Party and the Congress Party were still in a state of checks and balances on the political map. And Modi won the reelection with an overwhelming victory, and the one-party Indian People’s Party finally had the opportunity to exert his fists. Modi, who just came to power, once again showed his “strong man” image.
The move by the Bharatiya Janata Party not only fulfilled its commitment to voters, but also weakened the power of Muslims in Kashmir. According to the original Constitution 370, Kashmir has its own constitution, banner, and independence of everything except diplomacy, national defense, and communications. In addition, it maintains local territorial sovereignty by giving its permanent residents the right to own property and franchise.
Today, the Modi government has stripped all of these privileges, and adopted the same attitude toward other states, especially the Hindu state, in Kashmir, India’s largest Muslim state, which will inevitably further stimulate the rise of Hindu nationalism.
Due to its large land area, large population, religious and ethnic diversity, India’s political and social identity is characterized by diversity and fragmentation. The Hindu population accounts for four-fifths of the Indian population, and Modi’s Indian People’s Party is a Hindu nationalist party.
After entering the 21st century, India’s economy has developed rapidly, and its economic strength has further enhanced India’s national pride. India’s desire to be a big country is even more urgent. Modi hopes to establish a unified “Indian identity” to strengthen India and gain influence internationally. Islam is the second largest religion in India, and 14% of the population believe in Islam. Today, the action of the Modi government in Kashmir is to squeeze the living space of Muslims in order to build a “great unity” big country.
Furthermore, considering that the Kashmir region is predominantly Muslim and enjoys a high degree of autonomy, the Indian government’s degree of control over the region is conceivable. The religious agreement makes India-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan have a natural affinity. India has taken back the privilege of Kashmir and under the jurisdiction of the central government. India can use this to cut off Pakistan’s ties with the Indian-controlled Kashmir region and control the local agent war in Pakistan.
Breaking the strategic dilemma
According to the proposal of the Indian People’s Party Chairman and Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah in the Federal Court (the upper house), the original Indian-controlled Kashmir region will be divided into two, becoming the Kashmir Central Territory and the Ladakh Central Authority. Area. This is not only related to the border differences between India and Pakistan, but also involves the border situation between China and India.
On August 5th, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized China’s opposition to the position that “the Indian side has placed the Chinese territory of the western section of the Sino-Indian border into the administrative jurisdiction of India.” For the outside world, New Delhi’s move is undoubtedly extravagant. But for Modi, this historic move is probably not just about the benefits of realism. From a strategic perspective, this can also change the passive situation of its own “two-line operations.”
Since 1948, the former Kashmir region has been an important battlefield between the India-Pakistan War and the Sino-Indian War. After decades of war and negotiations, the region is basically in a divided state of China, India, and Pakistan: Pakistan controls the northwest (free Kashmir and northern Kashmir), and India controls the central and southern regions (Jama and Kashmir). State), China controls the Northeast (Ak Saiqin and Karakorum Corridor). Under such a situation, India is under pressure from both Pakistan and China in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region.
India wants to break this two-line battle. In the past few years, China has basically taken control of India’s initiative on the Western Front, and the dispute over the 450-square-kilometer Barigas region remains unresolved. In 2013, the “Tent Confrontation” between China and India in the area of the Aksai Chin actual control line ended in India. Although this incident did not completely resolve bilateral border disputes, it also provided a reference for the settlement of disputes between China and India in the future.
Under the controllable situation of the Sino-Indian border situation, India has classified the Indian-controlled Kashmir region into two places, and can concentrate on Pakistan in the Jammu and Kashmir region. As a result, India’s confrontation with China and Pakistan has ended.
At a deeper level, India’s concerns are not just border disputes with Pakistan and China, but changes in the Kashmir region and throughout South Asia. The situation in New Delhi, which has been stretched over the years due to the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”, has the possibility of easing.
In 2013, Beijing proposed the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and pushed the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” with Pakistan. Today, this corridor has achieved considerable results, and the Pakistani military has clearly stated that it will escort the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. On the occasion of the “agent war” between India and Pakistan in Kashmir and Baluchistan, it is necessary for New Delhi to find a breakthrough after being under pressure.
According to the information, Modi has always hoped to show India’s status as a big country in South Asia after he took office: he used a rare gesture to treat neighboring countries and invited all South Asian countries including Pakistan to attend the inauguration ceremony. After his first visit, he also chose Bhutan. I have visited almost all the countries of South Asia for more than a year.
However, this series of actions did not jump out of the starting point of “India-centered” in New Delhi. This core has gradually widened the distance between India and the countries around South Asia. The “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” has not been adjusted because of India. It is also looking to other countries in South Asia. Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh, which originally looked at India, have already sought cooperation with Beijing.
In 2017, the Lang Lang confrontation revealed a gap between reality and fantasy in New Delhi. Fortunately, Beijing has always had a pre-judgment on the South Asian issue, “there is no war on the west line.” This kind of stable attitude of China gave Modi an opportunity. In addition, the United States, Russia and other big countries are also interested in traditional issues such as India and Pakistan. So far, New Delhi has used military control to control Kashmir. The breakthrough in regional affairs has shown his accurate judgment on the regional situation. The history of India’s two-line operations in Kashmir has also ended.