Countries Play Tug Of War

August 18, 2019

When two groups want the same thing, deciding who gets it can be rather tricky. Just think … if two classrooms wanted access to the library at the same time, what would your school principal have to consider before deciding who actually gets access to it?

Decisions get trickier when it comes to two countries wanting the same thing. Ever since India and Pakistan separately established their independence from the British in 1947, a small region has been a point of conflict between the two countries. Both India and Pakistan demanded that the region of Jammu and Kashmir (an area sandwiched between the two countries) be theirs. Even though the region was handed to India, the Indian constitution declared that the region would be self-governed.

While self-governing may sound like an excellent idea for this region, Jammu and Kashmir has actually struggled to fight against terrorism and unrest caused by different unruly groups in the region.

Shahnoor1 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
In a sudden move this month, the Prime Minister of India revoked the independence of the region, bringing it under the control of the central Indian government. Why? His party said that people could be better served directly from the central government and that opportunities for the local region would then flourish. The move, as one might expect, was not well received by Pakistan who felt that India had unfairly taken over complete control of the region. Sure, but what about the people living in Jammu and Kashmir?

In another unexpected move, the Indian government kept the region “in the dark.” What does that mean? Residents of Jammu and Kashmir had no access to phones, the internet, or any other means of communication. While the Indian government said that the decision was intended to reduce tensions and malicious spread of rumors, cutting off communication channels also meant that residents have not been able to voice their opinions on the decision.

Both India and Pakistan are making their voices heard. Was it legal for India to revoke a constitutional declaration? Did Jammu and Kashmir leaders have a voice in the decision?

It remains to be seen how this decision will affect the region, but we’ll keep you updated on what happens.