Ever since the Indian government decided to end Jammu & Kashmir’s special status, the situation in the Kashmir valley and between India and Pakistan has been tense. Under the new changes, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has now been converted into two Union territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, which will be administrated directly by the Central government. The government has termed these measures strictly an internal affair of India, aimed mainly to improve governance and economic development. The government’s argument is that it will help in eliminating corruption and terrorism. Addressing the nation on India's 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that “different governments made efforts in 70 years to deal with Kashmir but it did not bear results; a new approach was needed”.
Pakistan reacted angrily, accusing India of planning a ‘demographic change’ and the further suppression of Kashmiri people. It has downgraded diplomatic ties, and stopped trade as well as bus and train services between the two countries. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has also accused India of planning military action in areas of Kashmir under Pakistan’s administration.
The situation in the Kashmir valley is still not fully normal. There is a huge military and paramilitary presence and communications restrictions continue. The Indian government has promised these restrictions will be eased in the coming days. There have been some reports of sporadic protests but by and large, Kashmir has remained peaceful.
If the issue is not sufficiently ‘internationalized’ and large violent protests do not materialise in Kashmir, Pakistan's administration may be left with the limited choice of infiltrating trained militants in Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of India in the coming months. In fact, a large number of them may be available if a peace deal is worked out in Afghanistan.
Even if India gets support from the major powers, including the P5, at the moment, their support in the medium-to-long run cannot be taken for granted. They may change their position depending on the developing situation. Moreover, they are also likely to make demands in exchange for supporting India. These could take the form of foreign arms imports (Russia, US, France), the opening of markets (US, European Union), and some support for large projects such as China's Belt and Road initiative.
Pakistan will make all efforts to involve major powers in the developing situation of Jammu & Kashmir. However, if Indian security forces are alert in averting major terrorist incidents and are able to tackle immediate discontent in a sensitive manner, most nations will not be seriously concerned. Due to increasing economic and strategic convergence with India, major powers may not say anything openly but are not going to accept easily that changes in Kashmir are purely an ‘internal affair’ of India. They will try to push for India-Pakistan dialogue as well as their individual economic and/or arms export deals. This international price also needs to be calculated while evaluating recent changes in Jammu and Kashmir.