What is Israel's position on the Kashmir conflict

questions and answers "The situation in Kashmir threatens to get out of hand"

Nuclear powers in conflict. Hindus and Muslims in dispute. The Kashmir region ties the states of India and Pakistan together in an explosive manner. One could say: Kashmir is a powder keg, and any ignition could lead to escalation. India has now made a controversial decision. We explain the background.

The Kashmir region

Kashmir has been the subject of conflict with neighboring Pakistan for decades. When the former colonial power Great Britain withdrew from India in 1947, Kashmir initially gained independence. Then there was the first war between India and Pakistan, as a result of which the region was divided after an armistice in 1949. Today the border is a demarcation line on which violent conflicts occur again and again. In 1965 and 1971 a second and third Indo-Pakistani war were fought. Rebel groups are fighting for independence.

In the Indian part, which lies in the far north of the country, a federal state was established. Expanded to the city or the Jammu district, it now bears the name "Jammu and Kashmir". Jammu is the largest city and the state capital in winter. The summer capital is the city of Srinagar. This regulation was made during the Dogra Dynasty more than 100 years ago - to escape the harsh winter in Srinagar.

What happened? - The message

The Indian government has announced that it will lift the special status of "Jammu and Kashmir". It is granted by Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Interior Minister Amit Shah told the New Delhi Parliament that this article would be repealed by Prime Minister Modi's decree. The order should come into force "immediately". For 70 years no Indian government had dared to touch the special status - for fear of the anticipated tensions.

The special status

The special status guarantees independence in almost all political areas. "Jammu and Kashmir" thus has the right to self-government, including its own state parliament and its own state government. New Delhi only has the say in foreign and defense policy.

Legally questionable decision

The Indian government's decision is legally controversial. Constitutional experts say the Kashmiri regional parliament and government must first approve such a decision. However, the Indian central government dissolved the Chamber of Deputies there in 2018 because of an increase in "terrorism and violence".

The governor Satya Pal Malik, appointed by New Delhi, justified the move with the lack of a stable state government, as two rival party groups claimed leadership for themselves. The Asia expert from the Science and Politics Foundation, Christian Wagner, said on Deutschlandfunk that the state had de facto been degraded to a Union territory that was administered directly by the central government. From this fact, Modi in turn derives his right to cancel the special status.

Why is the advance coming now?

One of the goals of the Modi government is to bind Kashmir more closely to India and to integrate the region more closely into the state. Modi's Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had already promised in the election campaign this year that it would finally get rid of the special status. Efforts were made to take this step in Modi's previous, first term of office.

Hindus and Muslims

Jammu and Kashmir are influenced by Muslims. It is the only state in India where Muslims have a majority. The city of Jammu, which is predominantly Hindu, is an exception. The current decision is also against the background of the religious tensions in the country, which had recently increased significantly. The BJP has long been accused by opponents of making policies against the Muslims in the country.

Fear of hinduization

The Indian Kashmiris fear that Hinduization will occur. The special status granted so far stipulates that people from other parts of India are not allowed to acquire any land or property in "Jammu and Kashmir". In particular, Hindus are to be prevented from moving to the region. Similar regulations also apply in other parts of India, which in turn is intended to prevent the settlement of Muslims. Hermann Kreutzmann from the Free University of Berlin also explained in the Dlf that the policy of the BJP basically aims to ensure that there are no special rights for Muslims in any region of the country

Reactions in India and Pakistan

In Pakistan in particular, many people reacted indignantly. The mood is heated. Images of Modi were burned, people speak of a new war. There were demonstrations in different cities. In India, Modi's supporters took to the streets cheering after the decision. Correspondent Bernd Musch-Borowska said it was normal for the Indian subcontinent for supporters and opponents to react in this way. But: "The situation can of course get out of hand at some point," he warned.

Situation in Jammu and Kashmir

There is a state of emergency. Associated with this are curfews, restricted telephone and internet connections. Leading politicians were also placed under house arrest. Public life is largely paralyzed, says Musch-Borwoska. India has sent thousands of additional soldiers to the remote Himalayan region. Tourists were asked to leave. There are currently no major public protests. But according to the words of our correspondent, that will be expected soon. Christian Wagner also assumes it. He said that Modi had offended the moderate parties with the move, which would give further impetus to local radicalization.

Two nuclear powers

India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers. Against this background, the conflicts between the two states are always viewed with particular concern by the international community.