India‘s government has revoked the special status of India-administered Kashmir, in a move that risks fuelling already heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.
Monday’s presidential decree revokes Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including its right to its own constitution and decision-making process for all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.
In the lead-up to its move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the region, imposing a curfew on parts of it, shutting down telecommunications and arresting political leaders.
Both New Delhi and Islamabad claim Kashmir in full, but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory.
The United Nations has urged the two countries to exercise restraint.
Here are all the latest updates:
Tuesday, August 6:
EU urges India, Pakistan to avoid tension
The European Union said that it is closely monitoring the situation and called for avoidance of escalation of tensions in the region.
“Our main message here is that it is very important to avoid any escalation of tension in Kashmir and in the region,” an EU spokesperson for foreign affairs, Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, told a news conference.
He noted that the issue has legal and political dimensions.
Turkey seeks to reduce tension
Turkey is closely following the “worrying” developments, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Erdogan’s remarks came at Turkey’s 11th Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara, where Turkish diplomats and foreign mission officials gather annually to discuss foreign policy.
Erdogan said he had a “fruitful” phone conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and that Ankara would get in touch with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in hopes to reduce tension mounting in the region.
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation expresses concern
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir has expressed “deep concern” over the recent developements.
In a statement at an emergency meeting held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the secretary general Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen reaffirmed the OIC’s “support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their just struggle to achieve their legitimate rights, in particular the right to self-determination”.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Indian steps which “interfere with the demography of India-administered Kashmir and the disputed status are a grave, destabilising threat to the already volatile situation in South Asia and would have serious implications”.
The Contact Group condemned India’s “illegal and unilateral” steps and urged New Delhi to allow access for its Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) and other international rights bodies in India-administered Kashmir in order to “independently verify the gross and blatant human rights violations”.
Modi: ‘new dawn’ awaits Kashmir
Modi described the passage of legislations as a “momentous occasion” in a parliamentary democracy.
In a series of tweets, Modi said: “I salute my sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh for their courage and resilience. For years, vested interest groups who believed in emotional blackmail never cared for people’s empowerment. J&K is now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better tomorrow awaits!”
Modi also said his government had fulfilled a longstanding demand of the people of Ladakh, Kashmir’s mostly Buddhist region, to be declared a territory of India’s union.
“Special congratulations to the people of Ladakh!,” Modi tweeted.
“This decision will give impetus to the overall prosperity of the region and ensure better developmental facilities.”
India tells China Kashmir is ‘internal matter’
India warned China that Ladakh’s new designation as a “union territory” is an “internal matter” after Beijing slammed India’s “unilateral” decision.
“India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.
China: India’s move undermines our sovereignty
China expressed serious concern and called for maintaining the status quo in the disputed region.
“[India and Pakistan] should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
“We call on both India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the region,” Hua said.
The Kashmir issue “is an issue left from the past between India and Pakistan,” she said. “The relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently.”
Beijing also criticised India’s “unilateral” decision to turn Kashmir’s mostly Buddhist region of Ladakh into an administrative territory directly ruled by New Delhi.
“China is always opposed to India’s inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction,” Hua said.
“Recently India has continued to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law. Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force.”
India says China is illegally occupying 38,000 square kilometres of its northwestern territory, while Beijing claims a 90,000-square-kilometre chunk of Arunachal Pradesh state in northeast India.
India’s parliament approves resolution revoking Kashmir of its status
India’s parliament approved a resolution revoking Kashmir’s special status and cleared a bill to split the disputed state.
The resolution, backing Monday’s decree to abolish Article 370 of the Indian constitution, was adopted by the lower house of parliament.
The “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill” that splits the state into two territories directly governed by New Delhi was passed by 370 parliamentarians voting for the legislation, and 70 against.
The two crucial motions have now been ratified by both houses of the parliament – with the upper house approving the measures on Monday.
“Together we are, together we shall rise and together we will fulfill the dreams of 130 crore (ten million) Indians,” Modi tweeted after parliament approved the move.
Khan calls for international intervention
Khan said his government would challenge the Indian move to change the constitutional status of India-administered Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council, urging the international community to intervene in the crisis or risk regional destabilisation.
“We will raise this at every level, at the United Nations Security Council,” said Khan, addressing a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament in the capital, Islamabad.
“We are thinking of how we can go to the [International Court of Justice] through the UN Security Council … we will raise this issue at every forum.”
Read more here.
India’s opposition accuses BJP government of ‘murdering’ democracy (2:31)
Pakistan army will ‘go to any extent’ to support Kashmir
Pakistan’s army chief said the country’s military will “go to any extent” to support people in the contested region after India’s move,
“Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” General Qamar Javed Bajwa said following a meeting with top commanders in Rawalpindi.
“We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations in this regard,” he added, without elaborating further.
India’s lower house debates bill to split Kashmir
The lower house of India’s parliament was set to ratify the bill downgrading the governance of the India-administered portion of Kashmir.
Members of the Lok Sabha were debating the “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill” a day after the legislation was introduced alongside the presidential decree revoking Article 370.
The bill downgrades the region from a state into two federally administered union territories: Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh. Jammu and Kashmir would still have its own legislature, while Ladakh would not.
Read more here.
Kashmir on edge as India tightens grip on disputed region
A communications blackout and a security lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir prompted anger and fear among residents.
Sheikh Mushtaq, 55, said he has lost contact with his daughter who was forced to leave her university in southern Jammu on Monday because of the lockdown. “We are helpless,” he said.
The security measures have also hit businesses hard ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
Read more here.