On August 5, 2019, the government of India revoked the constitutional autonomy of its Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. This report—based on field interviews, new data collection, and extensive research— focuses on the revitalized insurgency and mass uprising between 2013 and 2019, explains how the Kashmir conflict evolved to a point that contributed to India’s extraordinary political gambit, and lays out both New Delhi’s strategy and the challenges the government faces going forward.

A violent protest on the outskirts of Srinagar, in Jammu and Kashmir, on August 16, 2019, after India stripped the Kashmir region of its autonomy. (Atul Loke/New York Times)
A violent protest on the outskirts of Srinagar, in Jammu and Kashmir, on August 16, 2019, after India stripped the Kashmir region of its autonomy. (Atul Loke/New York Times)

Summary

  • Since 2013, mass resistance and armed insurgency have returned and grown in India’s Kashmir Valley, partly in response to the government’s failed strategy.
  • Resistance has involved mass participation in “quasi-violence” that involves semi-organized pressure by unarmed civilians to provoke, frustrate, and impose costs on the state.
  • New data on quasi-violence in the Kashmir Valley reveal substantial growth since 2013, at times even outpacing armed insurgency.
  • New Delhi’s strategy fixated on kinetically degrading militant organizations to improve security, which fed local militant recruitment and depressed faith in democratic institutions.
  • The government’s dramatic revocation of autonomy provisions for Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 minimized international penalties and preempted significant violent responses. Whether it replicates past political engineering or pursues revolutionary demographic engineering, the state is likely to face a resurgence of violent and quasi-violent resistance.
  • U.S. influence is limited, but U.S. policymakers could encourage dialogue with all stakeholders and alert New Delhi to the challenges that Indian choices will pose for cooperation if it is indefinitely bogged down in Kashmir.

About the Report

This report focuses on India’s Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of its revoked autonomy in early August 2019, how the evolving nature of the Kashmir conflict contributed to such a political gambit, and where the situation is headed. Supported by the Asia Center at the United States Institute of Peace, this report is based on extensive research, new data collection, and field interviews in the Kashmir Valley between 2012 and 2017.

About the Authors

Sameer P. Lalwani is a senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center, where he researches nuclear deterrence, interstate rivalry, crisis behavior, and counter/insurgency. Gillian Gayner was previously a research associate at the Stimson Center.

Related Publications

Dan Markey on the Quad Leaders’ Summit

Dan Markey on the Quad Leaders’ Summit

Thursday, September 30, 2021

By: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.

USIP’s Dan Markey says the growth of the Quad — a partnership between the United States, Australia, India and Japan — can be seen as a counter to China, but “instead of being principally a military organization, the Quad … will focus on more positive ventures” such as vaccine diplomacy, climate change and technology.

Type: Podcast

Global Policy

What the Quad Leaders’ Summit Means for the Indo-Pacific Amid Rising Tensions with China

What the Quad Leaders’ Summit Means for the Indo-Pacific Amid Rising Tensions with China

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

By: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.; Carla Freeman, Ph.D.; Brian Harding; Mirna Galic; Vikram J. Singh

On September 24, President Biden hosted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House for the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit. The event marked a milestone for the group, which started as an ad hoc coordination mechanism for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The four leaders unveiled a slate of new initiatives on a range of pressing global issues — from climate change and COVID-19 to technology, infrastructure and education — as well as formalized plans to meet annually.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

How the Region is Reacting to the Taliban Takeover

How the Region is Reacting to the Taliban Takeover

Thursday, August 19, 2021

By: Garrett Nada; Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D. ; Gavin Helf, Ph.D.; Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.; Tamanna Salikuddin

While the Taliban’s swift advance into Kabul over the weekend has left much of the West reeling, Afghans themselves will bear the brunt of the militant group’s rule. Beyond Afghanistan’s borders, its neighbors will feel the most immediate impact. Earlier this year, Russia, China and Pakistan affirmed that the future of Afghanistan should be decided through dialogue and political negotiations. How will they engage with the Taliban now?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

The Impact of COVID-19 on South Asian Economies

The Impact of COVID-19 on South Asian Economies

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

By: Uzair Younus

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused one of the most serious public health and economic crises faced by India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in recent years. This report looks at the economic impact on these nations, their prospects for the remainder of 2021, and their relations with the United States. It identifies key areas of focus for ensuring the subcontinent’s recovery is equitable—which, in the context of an erosion of democratic norms, growing authoritarianism, and severe crackdown on dissent, could help avoid economic and social instability.

Type: Special Report

Economics & Environment

View All Publications