Charmaine Wellington, Discussion Leader
Wednesday, February 26,
The Arizona Senior Academy Building
“India and Pakistan” is the sixth in the 2020 ASA series of Discussions based on materials prepared by the non-partisan Foreign Policy Association (FPA) “to serve as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues.” For each of our eight 90-minute sessions, an Academy Village resident will summarize the issue to be discussed based on briefing material in the Great Decisions Briefing Book and his/her own research, show a short video provided by the FPA, and lead a group discussion.
India became a nuclear power in 1998, when it detonated six nuclear bombs. Three weeks later, neighboring Pakistan detonated six bombs of its own. William J. Perry, Professor, Stanford University, and Former US Secretary of Defense, called the introduction of nuclear weapons to the already dangerous confrontation between India and Pakistan “one of the most troubling security problems of the day.”
India and Pakistan (as well as China) have long-contested borders, particularly those of the northernmost regions, Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu-Kashmir was a political accommodation to irresolvable cultural differences between Hindu and Muslim residents upon Indian independence from the U.K. in 1947 and the subsequent establishment of Muslim-majority Pakistan. Under Article 370 of India’s Constitution and Section 35 A of its Annex, Jammu and Kashmir were given special autonomous status and divided into two“union territories” with limited indigenous administrative powers.
In August 2019, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced that Article 370 of the Constitution and Section 35 of its Annex were to be suspended on November 1, 2019. The government cracked down on Kashmiri protests, sending about 50,000 additional military into the area, establishing curfews and closing off communications lines.
Pakistan is, understandably, reacting to this change. The sub-continent is on the brink of a crisis. Will the two nuclear powers escalate their conflict? What should the U.S. do?
Charmaine Wellington, who visited several northern and southern Indian cities last month, will moderate the discussion.