Sunday, January 17, 2021

Donald Trump Incited Indian PM Narendra Modi To Revoke Article 370 From Kashmir – US Report

US President Donald Trump on several occasions had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir conflict. Questions have arisen whether offer of mediation by Donald Trump prompted India to revoke Article 370 from Kashmir?

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According to a report prepared for the US Congress, Donald Trump could have incited New Delhi to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in a bid to further integrate the volatile region with the country.

Earlier, the US president during a meeting with Pakistan PM Imran Khan offered to play mediator between the two South Asian nuclear rivals. The proposal was rejected by New Delhi and asserted that Kashmir was an internal matter of India.

In August, the Modi government abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country, hours after forcing a major clampdown in the region.

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The report, prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), states that “President Trump’s seemingly warm reception of Pakistan’s leader, his desire that Pakistan help the United States ‘extricate itself’ from Afghanistan, and recent US support for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout of Pakistan combined to elicit disquiet among Indian analysts”.

“Trump’s Kashmir mediation claims were especially jarring for many Indian observers, some of whom began questioning the wisdom of Modi’s confidence in the United States as a partner. The episode may have contributed to India’s August moves,” added the CRS report.

President Trump’s offer of mediation may have “convinced Indian officials that a window of opportunity in Kashmir might soon close” and officials in New Delhi may have taken this opportunity to “deprive Pakistan of the ‘negotiating ploy’ of seeking US pressure on India as a price for Pakistan’s cooperation with Afghanistan”.

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The CRS further dismisses the claim by the BJP-led government that the move was intended to bring the disputed territory on par with other Indian states economically. “Notwithstanding Indian authorities’ claims that J&K’s special status hobbled its economic and social development, numerous indicators show that the former state was far from the poorest rankings in this regard.”

The report for Congress investigated the state of affairs in India and stated that negative economic news and growing critique of the administration also played a part as “Modi and his lieutenants were eager to play to the BJP’s Hindu nationalist base and shift the national conversation”.

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