India’s settler colonialism in IIOJK: Following Israel’s footsteps

India’s illegal and unilateral abrogation of articles 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019, was a blatant violation of the UN-recognized disputed status of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). It was also aimed to squander the natural resources of the occupied territory, depriving the indigenous Kashmiri people of their rights and livelihoods. According to a report by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), India has illegally extracted 1.5 billion tonnes of minerals worth $40 billion from IIOJK since 1947.

One of the latest examples of this plunder is the awarding of a contract of mining in two sites, Nichahama and Hangnikkot areas in Kupwara district located along the Line of Control (LoC), to an Israeli company on 99 years lease. The handover of the sites will take place in the presence of the Indian Ministry of Mines, Director of Geology and Mining J&K and officials of the Arava Mines including its CEO on July 24, 2023.

It is to be noted that Nichahama and Hangnikkot areas have huge deposits of lignite and have huge potential of thermal power generation. Both the areas are close to the LoC and are strategically important for Pakistan’s security.

This move by India is not surprising, given its close ties with Israel and its emulation of Israel’s Palestinian occupation model. India and Israel have elevated their relations to a strategic partnership level and have extensive mutual experience sharing mechanisms in pursuing their nefarious illegal occupational objectives.

Both oppressive countries are considered the world’s two most pronounced and internationally acknowledged nations involved in human rights violations. They have forced their neighboring states into conventional wars, defied UN resolutions and international responsibilities, and threatened regional peace and stability. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, India and Israel have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in their respective occupied territories, including unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, restrictions on movement and expression, and forced evictions.

They are also notorious for their settler colonialism policies, which aim to loot and plunder the wealth and natural resources of the occupied territories, change their demography and culture, and suppress their legitimate aspirations for self-determination.

Kashmir and Palestine are the worst examples of Hindu and Jewish settlements in modern history, joining hands of two confirmed enemies of humanity demands immediate attention from international stakeholders.

The involvement of Israel in IIOJK is certainly going to worsen the already appalling human rights situation in IIOJK. After the abrogation of articles 370 & 35A, India has unleashed a reign of terror in IIOJK, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, detaining thousands of political activists, imposing a communication blackout, restricting media access, and denying basic services to the people.

Moreover, India has endeavored to develop stakes of different Middle Eastern countries in IIOJK to create an economic leverage. It has also tried to use multinational economic forums like G-20 to legitimize its claims². India is certainly following a strategy to involve a number of nations/stakeholders in IIOJK and dilute its disputed status. India has signed several agreements with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Oman on trade, investment, energy and security cooperation in IIOJK, despite their official support for the Kashmiri cause.

Pakistan, as a party to the Kashmir dispute and a responsible member of the international community, must highlight the Indian nefarious designs contributing towards complications in the final settlement of the Kashmir issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may initiate necessary diplomatic efforts to object Indo-Israel involvement in IIOJK at the UN and OIC forums.

Moreover, Pakistan’s foreign missions all over the world especially in; the US, UK, EU, Canada, Geneva and Middle East should initiate rigorous diplomatic efforts to sensitize the international community on its concerns.

The world must not turn a blind eye to India’s settler colonialism in IIOJK, which is not only a grave violation of international law and human rights, but also a serious threat to regional peace and security. The world must also hold Israel accountable for its complicity in India’s crimes against humanity in IIOJK.

The Kashmiri people deserve justice and freedom from India’s illegal occupation. The Palestinian people deserve justice and freedom from Israel’s illegal occupation. The world must stand with them and support their legitimate struggle for self-determination.

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