With the Rajya Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill that seeks to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A, while also bifurcating the state into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the bill is set to be introduced in Lok Sabha today. While the debate on the implications of this move continues, experts say that the terms of negotiation with India’s neighbours, Pakistan and China, are expected to change.
In an official statement, US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, “We are closely following the events in Jammu and Kashmir. We take note of India’s announcement revising the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and India’s plan to split the state into two union territories,” noting that India has described the actions in J&K as “strictly an internal matter”. Pakistan meanwhile slammed the Indian government’s decision stating that it would exercise all possible options to counter this.
According to a report in the Times of India, “With Jammu & Kashmir now fully integrated within the Indian Union, India will have no reason to include Kashmir in the list of subjects. For Pakistan, any negotiations with India are centred on the issue of Kashmir. But after Monday’s reorganisation of the state by the Indian government, it will not be the same any more.” Similarly, making Ladakh union territory was also vital to India’s security. “In the shadow of the Kashmir Valley developments, it has gone virtually unnoticed that China has been increasing its influence with the monasteries in Ladakh. There are several Buddhist sects in Ladakh and China has been accused of playing favourites, all of which have implications for not only Ladakh but the future of Buddhism in a post- Dalai Lama world,” it said
Meanwhile, the Hindu said, “The BJP’s ideological imperative of doing away with Article 370 has been always there, but the impetus for it was provided first by Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s determination to change the status quo in the State and also events in the past two weeks, after US President Donald Trump publicly said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approached him to play mediator for the dispute in the state.” The Union government, of course, denied any such conversation with Trump, but the realisation in government circles was to do something that would demonstrate that it was irrevocably opposed to US mediation, adding urgency to the matter, it said.
Earlier in the day, Ministry of External Affairs briefed the envoys of the P5 nations — the US, the UK, China, France and Russia — about Indian government’s decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories.