UN resolution bars unilateral change of Kashmir’s status, says Chinese scholar
August 5, 2020 marks the first anniversary of India's abrogation of Act. 370 and 35A of its constitution changing the status of Jammu & Kashmir State. The Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi split the “State” of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two “Union Territories” (J and K and Ladakh) and thus brought them under New Delhi’s direct rule.
This was a historical turning point. From then on, the already turbulent Indian society became more turbulent, the already divided Indian nation was more split, and the rapidly developing Indian economy began to decline.
The action to change the status of Jammu & Kashmir is the continuation of India's decades-old expansionist tendency. In the 1970s, India successively dismembered Pakistan and annexed Sikkim by force of arms. Now India controls Bhutan as a de-facto colony. India regards South Asia as its sphere of influence and attempts to control Nepal also.
While consolidating the occupied territories, India has announced the establishment of the “the Union Territory of Ladakh", attempting to restart the "forward policy" vis-à-vis China and continues to occupy Chinese territory.
India's regional hegemonism and expansionism are the fundamental factors affecting peace, stability and development in the region.
India sees itself as the master of the region. If any country doesn't obey it, India will create trouble for that country. China, on the other hand, advocates building a community of shared destiny with all South Asian countries, and strives to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all South Asian countries, including India. However, India believes that this will shake its dominant position.
Due to its extreme nationalism, India’s relation with Pakistan has been highly strained in the past two years, and military clashes along the India-Pakistan border have been on the rise. India's relations with Nepal and Bangladesh have shown serious cracks. In addition, Bhutan has also begun to express its dissatisfaction with India.
Current situation in Indian controlled Kashmir
Since the amendment of the constitution to change the status of Jammu & Kashmir, Kashmiris have been conducting a boycott and resistance movement. Although the pandemic is completely out of control and the "economic miracle" has become a failure, the Modi administration has carried out large-scale military repression in Kashmir. In fact, Kashmir has become a live fuse, igniting religious and ethnic conflicts across the country. India is entering a new period of social unrest.
Now, the number of Army, Air and paramilitary troops deployed by India in Kashmir has increased to 900,000, totally depriving local people of their freedom of movement and expression. India has imposed a comprehensive blockade of telephone networks in Kashmir. Kashmir has become isolated with no contact with the outside world. The Indian media say it is becoming more and more difficult to report on Kashmir. In recent months, many journalists and scholars have also been arrested by the Indian military in Kashmir.
According to a news report released by the Indian Home Ministry, the Indian Army launched at least 210 military operations in Indian controlled Kashmir in the first six months of this year. At the same time, there were 50 gun battles, resulting in the death of 124 people, the arrest of 136 militants and the destruction of 17 guerrilla hideouts.
The continued siege of the civilian population for a full year with no access to normal life has resulted in increasing anger against the Indian government and the security forces. According to a report by Pakistani media Dawn, on May 7 this year, about 200,000 Kashmiri civilians took to the streets to hold a demonstration, and clashed with Indian security forces. Hundreds of thousands of local people used sticks, stones and other hard objects to attack Indian army armored vehicles, while Indian security troops opened fire on the ground to disperse the crowd.
Only way to solve Kashmir issue
The Kashmir issue is a historical legacy. Relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council have identified Kashmir as an internationally recognized dispute between India and Pakistan. The Kashmir issue should be properly resolved by peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions, and bilateral agreements. This is the consensus of the international community.
Pakistan believes that the current situation in Indian-controlled Kashmir emanates from denial by India of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people through a free and fair plebiscite, which was assured to them by the United Nations through multiple resolutions. According to UNSC resolutions, pending the resolution of Jammu & Kashmir dispute, India cannot bring about a material change in the status in Jammu & Kashmir. The UNSC resolution envisages the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute through a plebiscite to be held under the auspices of the UN to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
(Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law)