India’s govt praises parliament for approving revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy as neighbors fume
The legislation, passed by the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, downgrades the status of Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a union territory. While states enjoy vast autonomy in decision making over local affairs, the central government effectively has direct control of a said territory.
The bill was already passed by the upper house of India’s parliament on Monday and now only needs to be signed into law by the country’s President Ram Nath Kovind. Central government has highly praised the swift decision making of parliament and its efforts to tighten up the “integrity” of the country.
The legislation “will go on to further integrate Jammu and Kashmir to India for many generations ahead,” Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah, a close ally of PM Narendra Modi, told the parliament, naming the revocation of Kashmir autonomy a “historic” moment that should be “written with golden words in Indian history.”
The Modi government has been calling for revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy for a few years already, but it was opposed by the state’s authorities. Since last year, however, the region was under direct control of India’s federal government which prompted fears that the autonomy revocation was imminent.
The move was preceded by deployment of an additional 35,000 soldiers and paramilitary forces into the region over the past two weeks, blackout of internet and phone services, curfews and other security measures.
The decision prompted an angry reaction in Islamabad that vowed to use “all possible options” to counter the autonomy revocation. Both India and Pakistan lay claim on the whole historical region of Kashmir, yet control only parts of it. The dispute has been a source of constant tensions and several full-scale armed conflicts between the two nuclear-armed nations over the past decades.
New Delhi’s move has also angered the main ally of Pakistan – China – as Beijing has border disputes with India in the troubled region as well. Beijing condemned India’s decision, warning both New Delhi and Islamabad of making any “unilateral actions” over Kashmir.Also on rt.com Operation Kashmir: Has Modi checkmated Pakistan?
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