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Gulf States Shrug as India Seizes Kashmir
Kashmiri protesters hold Azad Kashmir and Pakistani National flag during a protest, on August 16, 2019 in Srinagar, India. (Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gulf States Shrug as India Seizes Kashmir

Walter Russell Mead

The Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed a unique status in predominantly Hindu India for more than 70 years. No more. Both houses of the Indian Parliament have approved legislation to divide Kashmir into two “union territories” and allow non-Kashmiri Indians to move freely into the region, open businesses and buy land. Many Kashmiris fear the result will be a wave of migration that ends any hope of Kashmiri independence or autonomy.

Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India over Kashmir, reacted with rage, but it isn’t getting much support from its purported Muslim allies in the Persian Gulf region. As hundreds of Kashmiri intellectuals, journalists and activists were arrested, and as telephone and internet service to much of the state was cut, Saudi Aramco announced a $15 billion investment in an Indian oil company. On Sunday evening, after stone-throwing crowds confronted security forces in Srinagar, Kashmir’s capital, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to the United Arab Emirates next week to receive the country’s highest civilian honor. From the U.A.E., he will travel to Bahrain on the first-ever visit to that country by a sitting Indian prime minister.

Civil libertarians and human-rights activists in India and around the world have condemned the crackdown in Kashmir, but a recent opinion poll found 57% of Indians wanted Kashmir to lose its special status. Sixty-five percent said they thought Mr. Modi could solve the Kashmir problem in five years.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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