The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is experiencing its most severe domestic uprising since 1989. Despite the severity of the situation, very little is known about the nature of the present uprising and how it compares to previous ones. The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a panel discussion on the present situation in Kashmir, and what impact the violence may have on Indian, Pakistani and American policy towards Kashmir.
Read the event analysis, Social Media Amplify Concerns in India’s Jammu and Kashmir State
The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is experiencing its most severe domestic uprising since 1989. While recent years delivered some good news through fewer militant attacks, relatively peaceful elections, and revival of the tourist industry, the current wave of protests has once again paralyzed the Kashmir Valley. More than 100 Kashmiris, predominately young men and boys, have died in clashes with Indian security forces since the protest began this summer. The state government has failed to regain control of the region, the Indian prime minister has expressed his shock at the unfolding situation in Kashmir, and the government seated in New Delhi has mentioned reviewing its security deployments and pushing for a political settlement.
Despite the severity of the situation, very little is known about the nature of the present uprising and how it compares to previous ones. The strategic aspect of the developments in Kashmir is equally important, not only for the Indian state but also for U.S. policy in the region. What, if any, lasting implications will the situation have on New Delhi's policy towards Kashmir, and by extension, on the India-Pakistan relationship? Furthermore, what does all this mean for the U.S. policy on the Kashmir dispute?
To discuss the present situation in Kashmir, USIP hosted a panel of three eminent speakers:
- Rebecca Byerly, freelance journalist who has reported for Voice of America and has recently reported from Kashmir. She discussed the on-the-ground situation and the nature of the protests taking place in the troubled state.
- Zubair Ahmed, a senior journalist with the BBC who has covered Indian Kashmir for two decades. He discussed the political situation in Kashmir and what this means for the future of Kashmir, and for New Delhi's relations with the state.
- Ambassador Howard B. Schaffer, a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and presently a professor at Georgetown University. He analyzed the strategic implications of the situation in terms of India's role in South Asia, the India-Pakistan relationship, and most importantly, U.S. policy on Kashmir and towards India and Pakistan.
- Moeed Yusuf, moderator
South Asia Adviser for the U.S. Institute of Peace