Beyond the shadow of any doubt, Kashmir is the unfinished business of partition of Indian subcontinent. Britain, while leaving the region in haste after heist, staged a dogfight between newly born India and Pakistan by throwing a bone-of-contention in Kashmir’s shape. Seven decades that followed, saw a slight change in its fate. Present time, however, is quite different.
The ultra-nationalist BJP’s incumbent regime, obsessed with its Hindutva ideology, is hell-bent to entomb the secular image of India, once and for all. Its discrimination towards minorities in general and Muslims in particular, is privy to none. And, Kashmir is no exception. In fact, it is at the core of Modi’s belligerence and brinkmanship and his penchant for the ‘new normal’. Overtly, Articles 370 and 35A of Indian constitution, they profess, are the main hurdles preventing the integration of Kashmir to mainland India. Therefore, doing away with them is a sine qua non to its annexation. Covertly, however, New Delhi is perturbed for a number of reasons mentioned below.
First, the ongoing ‘Afghan Peace Talks’ is going to curtail India’s extended role in the uncharted territory of Afghanistan. Its hard-won clout established there under the aegis of US will diminish in no time. Moreover, the unholy alliance of RAW and NDS (premier intelligence agencies of India and Afghanistan) will fall apart like a house-of-cards.
Second, it will loose the opportunity to infuriate Pakistan consistently by keeping its western borders disturbed. India’s fomented and orchestrated trouble in Pakistan’s restive provinces i.e. Baluchistan, KP and erstwhile FATA is secret to none. Episode of Kulbulshan is a case here in point.
Third, India may fail to materialize its elusive dream of connecting with CARs (Central Asian Republics) for energy and trade. In this regard, its billion-dollar Chabahar initiative, it seems, will die a natural death during its infancy.
Fourth, China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC), passing through Pakistan’s held Kashmir region (Gilgit-Baltistan), is a bitter pill which India is unable to swallow. Not to mention, its dividends which will definitely take its arch-rivals China and Pakistan to new heights of glory and prosperity.
Last but not least, the battle-hardened fighters, once freed from Afghan-Chapter, may try to seek another theater to sate their insatiable appetite for fight. Their next battleground, it seems, will be none other than the Valley of Kashmir.
Having all these aforementioned things in mind and with threats–real and imagined–looming large on the horizon, India is trying to open-up a new Pandora-box of Kashmir’s legal status. The sole purpose of it is to keep US afoot in Afghanistan for indefinite time. And, thus pursue and protect its regional-cum-global vested interests, at large.