28 February, 2021

Why Complicate A Tangled Issue?

There are demands for change, but anything drastic will only escalate tensions

Why Complicate A Tangled Issue?

The Indian debate on Article 370 has been deeply flawed from the start, because it rests on a misperception. Article 370 is not a standalone provision of the Constitution. In fact, it merely codifies the Instrument of Accession under which the state of Jammu and Kashmir joined the Union of India. The instrument stipulated that the writ of the Indian government would be limited to defence, external affairs and communications (currency was added later).

In other words, if Article 370 is abrogated, then it will have to be replaced by a similar article. Otherwise, abrogation would require renegotiating the terms of accession, which may open up the issue of accession itself, and would certainly permit the introduction of new terms. Are the people of the state and India willing to reopen the accession issue and terms? Have their representatives considered what could be put in place instead, not to mention, ever discussed it?

In my view, any suggestion of repealing Article 370 opens a can of worms. However, this does not mean Article 370 cannot be amended. The Instrument...

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