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On India’s Independence Day, Kashmir Is on Lockdown

Plus: Reports of Chinese paramilitaries near the Hong Kong border, the U.S. stock market falls, and the other stories we’re following today.

By , a senior editor at Foreign Policy.
Indian soldiers patrol along the India-Pakistan border in Akhnoor near Jammu, on August 14.
Indian soldiers patrol along the India-Pakistan border in Akhnoor near Jammu, on August 14.
Indian soldiers patrol along the India-Pakistan border in Akhnoor near Jammu, on August 14. RAKESH BAKSHI/AFP/Getty Images

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: The lockdown in Kashmir continues as India marks its independence, fears of Chinese interference in Hong Kong, and the U.S. stock market tumbles on a recession warning.

We welcome your feedback at morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.


Indian-Administered Kashmir Remains on Lockdown

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: The lockdown in Kashmir continues as India marks its independence, fears of Chinese interference in Hong Kong, and the U.S. stock market tumbles on a recession warning.

We welcome your feedback at morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.


Indian-Administered Kashmir Remains on Lockdown

Twelve days after the government moved to revoke Article 370—granting Indian-administered Kashmir its special status—the region remains on lockdown, with internet, phones, and travel restricted on the ground. Indian troops are deployed on the streets. Still, there have been reports of protests within the region (which the Indian government disputes). The curfew will remain in place today—India’s independence day, which is often marked by protests.

Hundreds of local activists and leaders have been detained in Muslim-majority Kashmir over the last week—with their relatives left in the dark, Reuters reports. On Wednesday, a group of Indian activists who had returned from a five-day visit to the region described a dismal situation and called for the government to reconsider its move. How the situation in Kashmir will be addressed on the global stage remains unclear.

Pakistan responds. In a fiery speech on Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the military was prepared to act in response to any Indian aggression in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. (The two countries have fought two wars over Kashmir.) The speech marked Khan’s first visit to the Pakistani part of the region since he became prime minister last year.

Will the U.N. Security Council hold a meeting? On Wednesday, China joined Pakistan in calling for the U.N. Security Council to hold a closed-door meeting tomorrow or Friday on India’s decision to revoke Article 370. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed concern about the lockdown. The decision to schedule a meeting lies with Poland, which is president of the council for the month of August.


What We’re Following Today

Chinese paramilitaries near the Hong Kong border. The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday that it was “deeply concerned” about Chinese paramilitary People’s Armed Police (PAP) forces near the border with Hong Kong, where anti-government protests have elicited threats from the mainland. The few dozen demonstrators who showed up to the international airport—where flights had resumed—held a banner apologizing for Tuesday’s violence, which China called “terrorism.” The paramilitary PAP has been the force most involved in putting down demonstrations and pursuing alleged insurgents across China, Hilton Yip writes for FP.

U.S. stocks plummet over recession fears. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its largest drop of 2019 on Wednesday—falling by 800 points, or 3.05 percent—after the bond market signaled that a recession might be on the horizon. The fall also followed a report on economic contraction in Germany. In Asia, the Nikkei fell slightly while the Hang Seng made narrow gains. The U.S. stock market had briefly spiked on Tuesday on the news that U.S. President Donald Trump had delayed tariffs on additional Chinese imports until December.

El Salvador rape survivor faces murder retrial over stillbirth. Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz, a Salvadoran rape survivor charged with aggravated homicide after a stillbirth, goes on trial for the second time today. (She won an appeal in February.) Abortion is illegal without exception in El Salvador, where women who have suffered obstetric emergencies have been put on trial. While President Nayib Bukele has condemned cases like Hernández’s, there appears to be little hope for legal reform under the current legislature.


Keep an Eye On

A Uighur-American on the NSC. As China cracks down on its Uighur population, the Trump administration has appointed a Uighur-American academic, Elnigar Iltebir, to the China post on the National Security Council. China has been accused of waging a cultural genocide against the Uighurs in the region of Xinjiang. The appointment could affect relations between the two countries, Amy Mackinnon and Robbie Gramer report.

Justin Trudeau’s reelection chances. A Canadian ethics watchdog has found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated an ethics law over his handling of the bribery case involving the engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. While the finding carries no penalty for Trudeau, it could hurt his chances at winning a second term in the national elections later this year. (Trudeau has not apologized.)

Cancer patients in Iran. Pharmaceutical exports to Iran have decreased drastically under the sanctions policies of the Trump administration. As a result, Iranian patients with advanced or chronic diseases—including cancer—are losing access to specific medications. These sanctions “function as a tool of economic war,” Abbas Kebriaeezadeh argues in FP.

Huawei’s security technology. Chinese telecoms firm Huawei dominates markets in Africa. Its security tools have been used by governments in Uganda and Zambia to surveil political opponents—including the Ugandan pop singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine, the Wall Street Journal reports. Huawei engineers embedded within police units for domestic spying.

New rules on Everest? After a deadly season on Mount Everest, a government committee in Nepal has recommended new rules for future climbers. The recommendations would require people to have climbed a peak higher than 21,320 feet and to have an experienced guide. Nepal faced criticism for the number of permits it issued for the 2019 season.


Key Statistic

On Wednesday, Tunisia’s election commission announced it had approved a list of candidates for the country’s presidential vote, which follows the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi last month. There are 26 candidates, among them the current prime minister and defense minister, a former president, and a media mogul. Tunisia’s next leader will be the second democratically-elected president since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.


Odds and Ends

Tencent, China’s biggest video-streaming platform, has apologized after sending an erroneous push alert stating that Typhoon Lekima had killed the whole population of Shandong province. The province is home to close to 100 million people.


That’s it for today. 

For more from FP, subscribe here or sign-up for our other newsletters. Send your tips, comments, questions, or typos to morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.  

Audrey Wilson is a senior editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

Tag: India

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