India's Modi promises Kashmir elections
June 25, 2021 - Indian premier Narendra Modi has said his government plans to hold elections in the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, in a major reversal of his policy since August 2019.
He told regional leaders in Delhi on Thursday that polls could be held after an exercise to redraw the boundaries of assembly seats was carried out.
This was the first such meeting since the government scrapped the Himalayan region's special status in 2019, detaining thousands of people and imposing a months-long lockdown.
Kashmiri leaders have long demanded a restoration of their semi-autonomy and for elections to be held, but India has been working to re-adjust some assembly and parliamentary constituencies there under a process known as “delimitation’.
Modi’s new conciliatory approach reflects growing strategic pressures, including a rapprochement
with rival Pakistan, tensions with China and concerns about rise of the Taliban following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in September.
In August 2019, the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir state of its semi-autonomous status. The state was split into two new federally-administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
In Jun 2020, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed during a clash with China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. India maintains 50,000 troops deployed in Ladakh.
- Jammu and Kashmir: PM Modi promises elections in Kashmir (BBC)
- India's Modi discusses Kashmir elections in first talks since autonomy revoked (Reuters)
- What’s behind Modi’s surprise talks with Kashmir leaders? Pakistan, China and the US, to name a few (SCMP)
- Modi meets Kashmir leaders 2 years after revoking region’s autonomy (FT)