Kashmir is in a perilous state because of India’s pivot to nationalism

By Ajai Shukla | The Guardian

On Friday, the four-day-long military flare-up between Pakistan and India began winding down, with Islamabad handing back an Indian air force pilot taken captive by the Pakistan army two days earlier. He had been shot down in the first aerial fighter combat between the two South Asian enemies since a full-scale war in 1971.

Yet, forgotten in the Indian euphoria is the fact that Kashmir, where the deaths of 40 security men in a suicide bomb attack last month triggered this latest crisis, continues to simmer. Even as the pilot walked free, four policemen died in an encounter with Kashmiri militants.

The wider story in a crisis with such potential devastation, involving, as it does, nuclear powers, is that the Modi government has launched a nationwide anti-Muslim agenda that regards Muslims as unpatriotic, Pakistan as a cunning and implacable foe and Kashmiri separatists as its willing tools.