Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump’s ignorance has touched off a new crisis in Kashmir

Published

on

- Commentary
Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Dana Kennedy
Dana Kennedy

While Americans parse conspiracy theories about billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s demise in a Manhattan jail cell, Trump’s sinister role in helping light a fuse in one of the most dangerous areas of the world has gone virtually unnoticed – by the U.S. that is.

India’s abrupt takeover on Aug. 5 of the Muslim-majority Kashmir state was a double whammy for the seven million inhabitants of this once-storied Himalayan kingdom nominally ruled by India and bordered by arch-enemy Pakistan as well as China, both of which claim territory in the region. All three countries have nuclear weapons.

ADVERTISEMENT

Often referred to as “India’s Switzerland” for its striking mountains, lakes and valleys, Kashmir inspired the fabled Shangri-La in the 1933 novel, “Lost Horizon.”

On Aug. 5, in a shocking and surprise move, India’s military abruptly locked Kashmir down like a prison and shut it off from the outside world.

But Kashmir has also been called a “high altitude graveyard” and a “nuclear flashpoint.” The complicated conflict, awash in propaganda from all sides, has its roots in the 1947 partition of India into Pakistan. It’s involved battles over crucial water rights as much as ethnic strife.

Butting In

It didn’t need Donald Trump opportunistically butting in to use India in his effort to shut down China’s growing influence in the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi abruptly cut Kashmiris off from the outside world by revoking their special status and making them vulnerable to India’s Hindu majority.

Modi may also be doing Trump a favor, though he won’t admit it publicly, nor will Trump. By jettisoning Article 370, the quasi-autonomous agreement Kashmir had with India since 1949, some say Modi is challenging China’s claim to some Kashmiri lands and thus acting as the U.S. proxy in the President’s ongoing trade war with China.

How did this happen? Late last month, during a visit with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, Khan asked Trump to help mediate his country’s long, bloody dispute with India over Kashmir.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump claimed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a similar request and made a seemingly casual offer to arbitrate. Modi angrily denied that he had ever asked Trump for help on the issue.

On Aug. 5, in a shocking and surprise move, India’s military abruptly locked Kashmir down like a prison and shut it off from the outside world.

“The entire city has been knitted in razor wire to seek our silence and obedience,” resident Zameer Ahmed told The Associated Press last week as he prepared to enter one barbed passageway in Srinigar, the capital of what is officially called the state of Jammu and Kashmir. “This is so vast, so expansive.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Modi—’The Trump of India’

More than 40,000 troops dispatched by Modi, an Indian strongman sometimes called the Trump of India for his overweening nationalism, cut off all communication including the Internet and television, closed down stores and schools, arrested hundreds of Kashmiri leaders and instituted a near-constant curfew.

“Modi would not have acted so abruptly had it not been for what Trump said,” Kashmiri native and political activist Shah Faesal told DCReport in a phone interview from New Delhi.

“It’s a desperate act from India to convince America of its power. There’s a new game now. India and the U.S are on one side and Pakistan and China are on the other. Trump wants to contain China so he’s using India to fight China.It’s very dangerous for a region with a very long history that Trump knows nothing about.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Susan Thornton, the former acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, America’s chief diplomat for Asia, told The New York Times that Trump’s actions were a “precipitating factor” in Modi’s decision to annex Kashmir. In order to save face, she said, Modi had to abruptly rush in

“He might not have had to do that,” Thornton said,” but he would have had to do something. And this was the thing he was looking to do anyway.”

In a recent series of tweets, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan compared Modi’s actions to Nazism.

“Attempt is to change the demography of Kashmir through ethnic cleansing,” Khan wrote. “Question is: Will the world watch & appease as they did Hitler at Munich?”

ADVERTISEMENT

China Plays Its Cards

Pakistan, with China’s help, said it will fight India’s actions in Kashmir with the UN security council and may appeal to the UN human rights commission over what it has described as the “genocide” of the Kashmiri people.

Article 370 prevented Indian citizens from outside the region from permanently settling, buying land or holding local government jobs in the Muslim-majority region.

As soon as the agreement was abrogated, Indian citizens began tweeting online about their plans to go buy land in Kashmir and find Kashmir women.

In a Trump-like move, Modi was seen talking about his “positivity” and love of nature in an episode of Bear Grylls’ popular TV show “Man vs. Wild” last week while Kashmir endured its ninth day in lockdown with food supplies in danger of running low.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Aug. 17, India relaxed some restrictions on Kashmir, including re-opening phone lines. The action came after a dangerous exchange of gun and mortar fire between Indian and Pakistani forces on Saturday at the Line of Control that divides Kashmir from Pakistan.

A U.S.-based Kashmiri activist said that even though the region’s problems date back to the toxic legacy of British rule, Trump has been key to “emboldening” Modi’s power grab. In October 2016 at an Indian-American rally in Edison, N.J., Trump was fulsome in his praise of Modi’s India.

“I am a big fan of Hindu, and I am a big fan of India,” Mr. Trump said, seeming to entangle the faith with the nation. “Big, big fan.”

The activist spoke on condition of anonymity, saying Kashmir is a “rabbit hole” of people and politicians with a confusing array of agendas that are “vindictive” toward their enemies.

“All I can tell you is that Trump emboldened Modi even before he (Trump) was elected and you’re seeing some of the collateral damage now.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Indeed, what looked like a blunder at first glance may have been a clumsy, shortsighted end run around Pakistan to get India to do some of Trump’s dirty work against China.

On Aug. 12, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. pleaded in the pages of the Washington Post for Trump to make good on his offer of “immense goodwill” to help mediate in the conflict.

Too late. On Aug. 13, with the deed done in Kashmir, India’s envoy to the U.S. said the offer was “not on the table anymore.”

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ex-prosecutor demands congressional investigation after latest report on the FBI and Brett Kavanaugh

Published

on

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had another allegation of sexual misconduct revealed on Saturday in a bombshell report in The New York Times.

"A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly," the newspaper reported.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Boris Johnson promises Britain will be like the Incredible Hulk during Brexit negotiations

Published

on

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was making a "huge amount of progress" towards a Brexit deal with the EU, in an interview in which he compared Britain to the Incredible Hulk.

"It's going to take a lot of work between now and October 17" when EU leaders gather for their final summit before Britain's scheduled exit from the bloc, he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"But I'm going to go to that summit and I'm going to get a deal, I'm very confident. And if we don't get a deal then we'll come out on October 31."

His comments came ahead of talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Luxembourg on Monday.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

NYT blasted for ‘spectacularly offensive sentiment’ after tweet illustrating ‘rape culture’

Published

on

The results of a 10-month investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly was published on Saturday.

But attention was taken away from the powerful reporting after the Twitter account of The Times opinion page posted a shocking message.

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun," read the tweet.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image