Modi seeks legitimacy for Kashmir oppression in G20 Summit

Dictators and autocrats constantly seek legitimacy for their human rights abuses and all too often, they find an eager world waiting to look away. That is because they don’t want to confront them.

The rotating presidency of the G-20 allows a member state to organize and host the next summit, often regardless of the political situation or moral standing of that country.

The G-20 comprises the world’s nineteen largest economies. It provides a venue for India to showcase itself to the world, to make decisions that impact the lives of billions…and what it wants is for the world to forget what has happened and is continuing to happen in Kashmir.

A fake veneer of normalcy

Since the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A – the Modi regime has sought to keep the world’s eyes away from Kashmir. It instituted a media blackout, limiting access to the internet, and has been constantly harassing and arresting journalists. It has engaged in counter-programming by supporting Hindu nationalist propaganda such as the Kashmir Files and funding Bollywood projects that tow the BJP line, to ensure that when the world learns of the crimes committed by the Modi government that it can be contradicted.

The truth, as they say, is out there and it has a habit of making itself known.

News of mass arrests and detention by the Indian army, and the routine torture, beatings, rape, and forced disappearances have circulated in foreign capitals. The hate propagated by Hindu nationalists has grown so dire that there have been repeated warnings of genocide in Kashmir. Foreign governments from Pakistan, Turkey, Canada, and even the United States have raised objections to the conditions in Kashmir.

Like a thorn in Modi’s paw, he can’t hide what he’s doing to Kashmiri Muslims, so the new goal is to give the world leaders a strictly guided tour of Kashmir with 800,000 military, paramilitary, and police at every inch.

Pre-G20 International Hindutva Campaign

Indian Occupational forces have planted several young Kashmiris who have no credibility or following from the indigenous populace to peddle lies for the government and justify the massive presence of the Indian army in occupied Kashmir.

Such individuals are sent to places such as the US, UK, Australia, and other countries to present a false and misleading narrative that justifies the everyday killings in occupied Kashmir. Indian agencies, BJP, and the Kashmiri Pandit diaspora heavily sponsor these events. These army pawns are given space internationally to blame Pakistan and pro-freedom groups for human rights violations. They portray themselves and Kashmiri Pandits as victims of “oppression.” When confronted by the Kashmiri Muslim diaspora, the resistance diaspora members are not allowed to speak and are then forcibly thrown out of these events.

Political experts and analysts believe such events are a precursor to the upcoming G20 event that allows India to distort the reality of the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle. The Modi regime seeks to reassure the world by presenting an image of peace and stability within the region. However, it is believed that such tactics won’t work and such lies will fall flat given the international condemnation that India is getting from various human rights institutions around the world.

Staging the event

The G-20 will host meetings and summits throughout 2023. The Indian government has spread the meetings throughout the whole of the country. India’s permanent representative Ruchira Kamboj told the UN that “India will hold 56 meetings across the length and breadth of the country, taking G20 from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south.”

Indian officials have set the agenda to discuss the protection and restitution of cultural property, harnessing sustainability, and promotion of cultural property.

Like any Potemkin village – the meetings will be tightly controlled. The world’s diplomats will see what India wants them to see. What it wants the world to see is that Kashmir belongs to India as a vital cultural and historical center where no human rights abuses occur and talks of genocide are relegated to “Fake News.”

The goal is that when diplomats return to their respective capitals, they will report the Indian talking points, and the complaints of human rights abuses will be quietly and quickly dropped.

Redeploying the army

Ironically, the largest obstacle for India to providing the appearance of normalcy is the Indian Army itself. Having an occupying military force maintaining law and order seldom provides assurances that everything is fine.

India maintains over 700,000 soldiers in the illegally occupied regions of Jammu and Kashmir and there have been discussions to lead to a phased withdrawal of the armed forces. After which, the security of the region would be handled by local police forces, the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) but also supplemented by paramilitary forces such as Village Defense Groups, which have a long history of their own human rights abuses.

Due to the brutal crackdown, unrest has decreased within the valley, and other geopolitical factors such as the border crisis with China may take higher precedence. The message of normalcy tells the world New Delhi won the occupation and that there is nothing worth seeing in Kashmir.

India brushes off opposition

When India announced it would hold G-20 meetings in Kashmir, it set off outrage. Prominently from Pakistan and China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian condemned the announcement almost as soon as it was issued. ”China’s position on Kashmir is consistent and clear cut. It is a legacy issue between India and Pakistan. It should be properly resolved in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements.”

China’s position is also driven by investment and development ties with Pakistan.
While the objections were noted and discussed within the G-20, India has moved ahead with planned meetings in Srinagar.

What remains to be seen is which diplomats show up for those planned meetings, and international pressure is building.

In Ottawa, Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP) called for its delegates to boycott any meetings that would be held in occupied territory. It remains to be seen whether other Western nations will follow such a lead or put blinders on for their meetings.

Final thoughts: The dangers of “normal”

Modi wants the world to see Kashmir as its territory. It wants the world to forget its promise of Kashmiri self-determination and it wants the world to accept its neo-colonial aspirations and ethnic cleansing as a small price to pay for stability.

New Delhi will do everything to project that air of stability for the visibility of the world’s diplomats. While the world sets its eyes on other matters, the Hindu Nationalist government will finish the job it started. They will keep evicting and repressing Muslims in the Jammu and Kashmir regions. Denying them the ability to make a living, keep a home, and eliminate any opposition.

Kashmiri diaspora who have seen enormous suffering of their families, particularly since the August 5th, 2019 revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy, must speak up around the world capitals.

Our job is to not let them get away with it. They must see the real atrocities that have occurred in the name of stability and normalcy. For the diaspora, it is necessary to tell our elected leaders not to have blinders on when they visit India, and to remind them of the atrocities committed and the lives lost.

It is necessary to remind the world over social media of the price paid in the blood of India’s illegal occupation when those same diplomats arrive in the country, remind them that Kashmir is not India’s to conquer, and to remember our right to self-determination.