Modi’s Kashmir Surprise Puts Region on Edge

Modi’s Kashmir Surprise Puts Region on Edge

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s penchant for surprise decisions has shocked Indians before. But nothing prepared the nation for his move to abolish Kashmir’s seven-decade-long autonomy — sneaked in among routine parliamentary discussions.

Still, there were warning signs.

India’s only Muslim-majority state had been tense for more than a week. As many as 10,000 extra troops were deployed to the already heavily militarized region, and tourists and pilgrims visiting the famous cave temple of the Hindu God Shiva were abruptly asked to leave. Two former chief ministers were placed under house arrest hours before the announcement.

Long an aim of Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party, analysts say U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent offer to mediate in the India-Pakistan dispute — rebuffed by India — may have pushed the premier to rush his Kashmir decision.

The move has enhanced Modi’s strongman image and redefined the boundaries of Indian democracy. It also lays the ground for deepening conflict with Pakistan — the nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over Kashmir and both claim the region — and may intensify religious divides in the rest of India where violence against minorities is rising. Pakistan has launched a diplomatic offensive against India’s move, calling on global powers to sanction New Delhi.

No one knows what Kashmiris think of the change. That will only emerge after restrictions on communication and movement in the restive state are lifted.

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Currency clash | China moved to limit weakness in the yuan, providing some stability to markets, after the Trump administration formally labeled it a currency manipulator, escalating its trade war with Beijing. While the potential penalties are less punitive than the steps Trump has already taken, the move underscores how rapidly relations between the world’s two largest economies are deteriorating. China denied it’s a currency manipulator, saying markets determined the yuan’s recent slide.

It’s far from certain whether the yuan’s slump will give Trump what he seems to covet — a weaker dollar. Subscribe to Bloomberg’s Terms of Trade newsletter to receive all the big developments in your inbox each weekday.

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Subscribe to Brexit Bulletin to stay on top of the divorce talks.

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Nigeria’s government must decide whether to comply with a high court ruling to release ailing Shiite leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, whose arrest four years ago sparked protests in which dozens of people have died. North Korea’s foreign ministry renewed its threat to take a “new road” in negotiations with the U.S., a sign that talks may be back on the edge of collapse six weeks after Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un at the DMZ. Puerto Rico’s roiling political crisis has entered a new phase, with the U.S. territory’s top court agreeing to consider whether freshly sworn-in Governor Pedro Pierluisi assumed the office legally.

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–With assistance from Alessandro Speciale, Kathleen Hunter, Alan Crawford and Karl Maier.

To contact the author of this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at

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