India Strikes a Political Match in Kashmir

India Strikes a Political Match in Kashmir

The world's most dangerous disputed border may be about to flare up again. Earlier this year, Pakistani militants killed 40 police officers on the India-controlled side of Kashmir, a Himalayan, majority-Muslim province of 12 million people that is claimed by both countries. India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, responded by launching the first country's first airstrikes inside Pakistan since 1971. Tensions between the countries eventually cooled, but not before Pakistan downed an Indian fighter jet, raising the specter of a wider conflict between the two nuclear-armed arch enemies.


Now Modi and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party are stirring the pot again, fulfilling a longtime BJP campaign promise by moving to strip Kashmir of the special status it has enjoyed under India's constitution for decades. The move will delight Modi's base, but revoking long-standing concessions to the region, including its own constitution, flag, autonomy in local decision-making and special property rights for residents will infuriate Kashmiris, who are fiercely protective of their culture, and risks escalating tensions with Pakistan once more.

Pakistan, which has thousands of troops stationed in its own section of the disputed territory, denounced the political crackdown as "illegal" and warned that the unilateral move by India risked destabilizing a region where the countries have fought two wars and where separatist political violence has killed tens of thousands of people over the years. But independent-minded Kashmiris are a political force to be reckoned with, too. New Delhi is braced for trouble: before it announced the constitutional changes, the government sent thousands of additional troops to the region, placed some local Kashmiri leaders under house arrest, and blacked out the internet and mass media. It may take only a small provocation for this political powder keg to explode.

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China is making its neighbors nervous these days. Chinese fighter jets are screaming into Taiwan's airspace. Hundreds of armed Chinese "fishing boats" are plying the disputed waters of the South China Sea. And Beijing is slashing imports from some trading partners because of disputes over political issues.

To push back against this increasingly aggressive behavior, regional powers Japan, India, and Australia, together with the US, are boosting cooperation via a 17-year-old grouping called the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or simply "The Quad." But how effectively can these four countries really work together to counter China? Eurasia Group's Peter Mumford discusses the Quad's future.

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Want to tackle climate change? If so you'll have to reach out to China, which is currently responsible for over a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. Beijing will certainly take your call, as climate is a huge priority for President Xi Jinping.

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Over the past half century, climate change has had an immense impact on the farmers who produce the food we eat. A new study by Cornell University shows that global warming has knocked 21 percent off of global agriculture productivity growth since 1965, equivalent to seven years of normal growth if humans had not polluted the planet. But not all countries have been affected in the same say. Farmers in warmer parts of the world have been hit hard as conditions grow more arid, but sub-polar regions in Canada or Siberia are now actually better for agriculture because they are not as cold as they used to be. Here we take a look at how climate has affected farming productivity growth around the world.

On Tuesday, a major US intelligence report said the top threat to America right now is China. A day later, John Kerry, the Biden administration's "climate czar," got on a plane to... China.

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