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Recently, there is an area that is drawing attention from people around the world. It is Kashmir. India's cancellation of Kashmir's autonomy, which took place in August 2019, along with the terrorist attacks that began earlier this year, has created a number of issues. The abolition of Article 370 of India's constitution has prompted various reactions from countries surrounding Kashmir. In particular, Pakistan has shown the strongest response. India has claimed Kashmir's work is within India, but Pakistan has said Kashmir is an international issue that can no longer be ignored. Why has Pakistan shown such a strong response? Let's find out why Kashmir has become a hot issue between India and Pakistan, by extension, what is in the conflict between the countries surrounding it.
1. The Sparkle of Conflict: ‘Kashmir’
a. Where is Kashmir?
Kashmir is a mountainous region on the border of India, China, and Pakistan, with an area similar to the size of the Korean Peninsula. When the Sikh Empire fell around the 19th century, the Jammu and Kashmir regions merged to become the present state of Kashmir. Kashmir's original name is "Kasyapamar," which means "the place where the God Kasafa lives." The name was derived from a legend that Kasafa first began farming in this area. India and Pakistan have long been disputed, claiming that the entire Kashmir region is its territory. Pakistan and India continue to get along with their leaders' inclination and quickly cool relations if there is bloodshed such as a terror attack. This has made Kashmir a tense territory where anything could happen.
b. Partition of Kashmir: The Beginning of the Indian and Pakistan Wars
Since 1846, the Hindu government has ruled the Kashmir region. Unlike the regime, however, the majority of the residents living there were Muslims. Britain withdrew from India in 1947 and conflict over the Kashmir region began. The two countries, India and Pakistan, had many arguments over which country to incorporate Kashmir into. As mentioned earlier, Kashmir's residents hoped to join Pakistan because most of them are Muslim. However, because Kashmir leader Hari Singh was Hindu, he decided to join India, which is responsible for the rioting of Kashmir Muslims. The support that Hari Singh requested for India was triggered the beginning of the First India-Pakistan War. In 1949, in response to this endless war, the United Nations declared a cease-fire, which divided Kashmir into two regions. A quarter of Kashmir's territory, north, was incorporated into Pakistan as Azad-Kashmir and three-quarters of the country's Jammu-Kashmir into Indian territory. Under these circumstances, China, another border of Kashmir, intervened in late 1962 and the situation became even more complicated. China had incorporated the eastern part of Kashmir into China's territory. Kashmir had then been divided into three regions; India, Pakistan and China.
c. Fighting for the Separate Independence of Kashmir
There have been constant armed battles over the past 30 years in Indian-controlled Jammu-Kashmir. In the 1980s, an Islamic militant group emerged in Jammu-Kashmir, demanding independence from India. The group was criticized by the international community for conducting terrorist attacks. India has also accused Pakistan of supporting Kashmir's armed struggle and terrorism. In the early 2000s, the two countries began to work on positive lines to solve the Kashmir issue. However, a massive attack at a hotel in Mumbai, India, in 2008 left the two countries in conflict again after it turned out Islamic militants in Pakistan were responsible. In February 2019, more than 40 Indian police were killed in a suicide bombing in Jammu-Kashmir. The Indian government blamed Pakistan for the incident, and attacked from the air across the border into Pakistan's Barakot area. The Indian government claimed it was just an attack on a terrorist base inside Pakistan, and tensions rose significantly as Pakistan shot down an Indian air plane in response.
2. The Beginning of a New Crisis – Deprivation of Kashmir’s Autonomy
In 2019, a new crisis has come to Indian Kashmir as the conflict between India and Pakistan intensified. Indeed, under section 370 of India's constitution, India has granted to Jammu-Kashmir extensive autonomy over the past 70 years. As a result, Jammu-Kashmir was able to exercise autonomy in areas such as making its own constitution and law, and even using its own flag when not connected with diplomacy, national defense, or communication. However Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi deprived Kashmir of its autonomy on August 5, 2019, by deleting section 370 of India’s constitution. India's ruling party, which includes Modi, has opposed Kashmir's autonomy, citing Hindu nationalism. That's because they thought that if Kashmir was to be substantially integrated with India, it would have to get rid of its autonomy. With the elimination of Article 370 of India's constitution, Jammu-Kashmir loses autonomy, and once again faces a crisis of being placed under direct control of the Indian government.
Then, is it an overnight occurrence to deprive Jammu-Kashmir of autonomy? No. The Indian government was preparing many things in advance to strip Kashmir of its autonomy. The military force there has increased, the Indian government banned rallies and group action in Kashmir, and moreover closed the schools. The Indian government has also been taking a proactive response by cutting off communications such as phones and the Internet that can communicate with the outside world and arresting many people. They also warned tourists and pilgrims to leave Kashmir for reason of safety. The constant tension within Kashmir seems to show a growing distance from peace.
3. Take a New Turn: Present & Future of Kashmir
On Aug. 16, at Pakistan's request, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting in New York about the 'Kashmir dispute' between India and Pakistan. It is the first time that the Security Council has held a meeting on the Kashmir dispute at the U.N. since the 1971 India-Pakistan war. However, it failed to issue any statement due to the wide gap between the member countries. "The fact that today's meeting was held in itself means that the Kashmir dispute is an international issue," Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations said. On the other hand, India's ambassador to the United Nations said, "The Kashmir dispute is a matter entirely within India." The deprivation of Kashmir's autonomy is to cope with divisions and confusion within the Kashmir region. President Trump said that he would like to mediate in the crisis, but the Indian government has rejected the offer.
The conflict between India and Pakistan has intensified since then, and on August 20, gun battles broke out in the Tatapani region along the Line of Control (LoC). In response, India and Pakistan are divided.
Pakistan spokesperson Asif Gafursaid that three civilians, including a 7-year-old boy, were killed in Indian gunshots. Pakistan's military responded, through this progress, six Indian soldiers were killed and two bunkers were destroyed.
India, however, said that the Pakistan army attacked the guard post in advance, killing one soldier and wounding four others. India has only responded, and in the process, there have been Pakistan military casualties
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmud Kureshi’s interview on 'ARY news' said that the Pakistan had decided to bring the Kashmir case to the International Court of Justice. No one can predict what the Kashmir dispute will result in, but both nations have nuclear weapons, which could lead to a nuclear war. Many countries are keen on the case as it is a sensitive one.
Article 370 of India's Constitution, which provided Kashmir with special autonomy, eventually allowed it to make its own rules on permanent residency, property ownership and basic human rights to Kashmir's residents. Furthermore, it could have prevented outsiders from purchasing property or settling down recklessly. The abolition of these laws infers that India is strongly claiming ownership of Kashmir. After closed-door conference at the Security Council on Aug. 16, India's U.N. ambassador said there was no need for international interference in Kashmir. Control over Kashmir is reasonable, and is being eased. However, contrary to India's claim by the U.N. ambassador, there is no concrete solution in sight at the moment. The talks will not be the last, but the first step toward resolution of the Kashmir conflict. Hopefully, India, Pakistan, and Kashmir will have the best results for each nation and region in line with the situation they face. To prevent further damage to innocent people.
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