Just because Imran is flailing around doesn’t automatically have to mean that a better frontman can never be unearthed. It could just be a question of more skilfully looking in the right place at the right time. A regime frontman with the skills of a technocrat, the savvy of a traditional politician and the sleight of hand of a populist. See the problem there? In Pakistan? You may as well be looking for a unicorn snuggling up to leprechaun at the end of a rainbow.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s character is being transformed by a government with no regard for institutions, understandings, and conventions maintained since independence. If this trend continues, India may well soon cease to be the country which Mahatma Gandhi struggled to free.
After a hard-partying life as a cricket star and sex symbol, Pakistan’s prime minister has transformed himself from revered sportsman into international statesman. Now, as he seeks to navigate the crisis over Kashmir, Khan remains torn between his years as an Oxford-educated playboy and his growing role as a critic of Western decadence.
In the United States, India’s actions have attracted almost universally negative coverage: A spate of news stories and op-eds have highlighted the quashing of Kashmiri human rights, the risk of war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, the threat to Indian federalism and democracy, and the rise of a muscular brand of Hindu nationalism hostile to Islam. In India, by contrast, the government’s decision was widely welcomed. In Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party easily reconfigured a seven-decade-old political compact with the state over just two days.
New Delhi has played its cards right to ensure global powers do not rock the boat over controversial futures mapped out for the two far-flung regions, but while many are onside now, analysts warn India cannot expect something for nothing.
While a superpower negotiates an exit from Afghanistan, India stirs up a hornet’s nest in Kashmir. It is the 1980s, and the world is at an inflection point that led to a major insurgency in Kashmir, the Afghan civil war, the rise of the Taliban, and the attacks of 9/11. Again today, the world is facing no less an important transition period as the United States is set to conclude a preliminary peace agreement with the Taliban and India’s Hindu nationalist government continues its communications and media blackout in Kashmir after having revoked the region’s nominal autonomy this month.
India has told China that its concerns about Kashmir are misplaced because it is an internal matter “that has no impact on China at all”. Vikram Misri, the country’s ambassador to Beijing, delivered the message as part of a defence of the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, where the borders with both Pakistan and China are disputed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved an extension in the tenure of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for another three years, a statement issued by the premier’s office said on Monday. The announcement comes nearly three months before Gen Bajwa was due to retire.
Chinese leaders have expressed heightened concern over India’s decision last week to scrap the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both New Delhi and Islamabad. They also urged India to avoid provocation and to play a “constructive role” in regional stability. The message was delivered by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice-President Wang Qishan in separate meetings in Beijing on Monday with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during his three-day visit to China.