After India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in early August, there were concerns raised that the restive region will emerge as the next West Bank. These fears are now proving true as India is seeking an ‘Israel-model’ solution for Kashmir.
An Indian diplomat in New York was heard telling Kashmiri Hindus and other Indian nationals that India will build settlements modeled after Israel for the Hindus in Kashmir. He said there was already a similar model in the Middle East, and if the Israelis can do it, then so could India. This exposes the Indian strategy to wrestle control in the face of the adverse situation in Kashmir.
These statements, though perverse, are not completely shocking. The intentions of the BJP-led government are well-known; a total absorption of the occupied territory to usurp its resources. This includes allowing Indian nationals to buy properties, cast their votes, marry Kashmir women and permanently settle in the disputed state. The move will have far-reaching implications and shall completely alter the demographic outlook in the region.
The Indian government is also building a new narrative of a settler-colonial policy in Kashmir. The strategy is crystal clear: to re-brand the Kashmiri Hindus as ‘settlers’ returning to their land. This is similar to the Israeli narrative- that Jews will return to the Promised Land- used to occupy Palestine.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has denounced India’s call for the Israel-model in Kashmir, terming it a depiction of the fascist minds of the Indian government’s RSS ideology that has continued a siege for over a hundred days. He also called out powerful countries for their silence due to their trading interests.
India is also displeased over the increasing international interest in the Kashmir issue. India’s actions have drawn condemnation from US lawmakers and prompted two congressional hearings. The Modi lead government also resisted concerns raised by human rights organisations to allow foreign delegations and journalists into the valley. The BJP government wants impunity like the Israeli military which has committed atrocities against innocent Palestinians.
India has strengthened relations with Israel and we have seen the bonhomie between Modi and Netanyahu. Now India is seeking to draw inspiration from Israel by invoking the Jewish experience. India should not forget that this will not restore peace in the region. The Kashmiris, just like the Palestinians, will continue to fight for their homeland forever.