Weekly briefing: The end of autonomy for Kashmir?

A weekly round-up of relevant IEP data providing insight into the world around us.

Thursday, 12 September 2019: This week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of “catastrophic” consequences in response to India’s actions in disputed Kashmir, saying they could lead to an “accidental war,” accusing India of “state terrorism.” The comments follow the Indian government’s move revoking Indian-administered Kashmir’s special status in early August, heightening tensions with neighbouring Pakistan. Article 370 of India’s constitution, which guaranteed special rights of autonomy to the Muslim-majority state has now been cancelled. India enforced a further blackout, suspending all internet and mobile phone services in Kashmir. The actions of the Indian government come after months of growing tensions in the region. The United Nations human rights chief voiced concern over “restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists”. Tensions have also been felt in Pakistan-administered Kashmir with at least 22 people arrested in pro-independence protests. Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since the 1940s. Since then, around 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

By the numbers

  • India’s level of ongoing domestic and international conflict ranks 150th out of 163 countries
  • India’s militarisation ranks 152nd
  • Pakistan’s level of ongoing domestic and international conflict ranks 159th
  • Pakistan’s militarisation ranks 154th

Conflict and terror is already at high levels

The Global Peace Index (GPI) score for the internal conflicts fought indicator was the highest in both India and Pakistan, and rankings on the Global Terrorism Index for both countries deteriorated in 2019.

Pakistan ranks 5th in amongst countries most impacted by terrorism, with 16,773 deaths since 2001. Pakistan’s three most active terror groups, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TPP), the Khorasan Chapter of the Islamic State, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were responsible for 67 per cent of all deaths in Pakistan in 2017.

India’s US$66.5 billion military expenditure makes it the fourth highest in the world, after the likes of the US, China and Saudi Arabia. India is ranked 7th on the 2019 GTI, and the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir saw the most deaths in 2017 – with 102 deaths committed by five different terror groups.

Source: Global Peace Index