A South Asian Union

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There is no chance of a South Asian union anytime soon. The Modi government’s revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status in August triggered yet another war of words between India and Pakistan that could at any time descend into something far more serious with consequences for generations of Indians, Pakistanis, and indeed people from the rest of South Asia and the world.

It goes without saying that the actual inhabitants of the disputed region—which include areas such as Ladakh (in India) and Gilgit-Baltistan (in Pakistan) that are almost always glossed over by both the powers that be and even ordinary Indians and Pakistanis when they talk of Kashmir—are an afterthought in the calculus of both Indian and Pakistani establishments. The concern for Delhi and Islamabad, now as in the past, would appear to be control over strategically important swathes of territory rather than the guarantee of peace and prosperity to those who inhabit it.

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