Kashmir has often been called the crown jewel of India. India’s northernmost and sixth-largest state, Jammu and Kashmir, is one of its most mountainous areaand well known for its mesmerizing beauty.It also summarizes the cultural and religious diversity of the country by falling into three distinct regions. The southwestern end of its thick expanse is Jammu which is the part dominated by the Hindu majority. To the northeast, hugging the disputed borders with both Pakistan and China is the remote and rustic region of Ladakh which occupies nearly seventy percent of the state according to its de facto borders and is populated mostly by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism.And finally to the north across the first range of the Himalayas is the almost exclusively Muslim Kashmir which is as infamous for its enchanting beauty as it is renowned for its ongoing political despair. Kashmir is a disputed territory of India over which Pakistan claimed authority in some parts which is now called PoK, or Pakistan occupied Kashmir, during the partition of India. Many wars have been fought by both countries over the issue, which is to whom Kashmir does wholly belong to? Legally, India has authority over the entire state of Kashmir but Pakistan refuses to accept any outcome that does not result in Kashmir being a part of their territory. Hence the term, disputed region. Now this argument really has no end and war is not a good outcome as both countries possess nuclear capabilities. But imagine a world in which Pakistan did manage to win the entire area of Kashmir from India. What would it mean for the part of Kashmir that is a part of India? Here is what would happen to the tourism industry if Kashmir becomes a part of Pakistan.
- Kashmir covers a great area of about 2,20,000 sq km of habitable land but out of this only 7,150 sq km of land which is close to the river Jhelum is arable. Even though Kashmir ishome to some of the great rivers of India like Indus, Jhelum, Ravi, etc., agriculture here is not easy as the landscape is not ideal for cultivation. With not much in the way of agriculture, Kashmir generates most of its revenue through tourism. Kashmir used to be a favorite destination of Indians as well as foreigner tourists but it fell into a lull for about two decades due to insurgency in the area. Recently as peace has started returning to the region, tourism industry has again started to thrive with Indian nationals making up for the majority of the tourists that visit every year. Bollywood has also started returning to this area to film scenes in the beautiful valleys of Kashmir. If Kashmir goes to Pakistan, this tourism industry will face a major setback. Due to high tensions between India and Pakistan, most Indian as well as foreign tourists would avoid Kashmir. Many people whose source of revenue depends on the tourism industry which is supported by the Indian government will have their livelihoods ripped from them.
- There are some groups in the region who want the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir to be part of Pakistan, while some would prefer it to stay with India. And ther is no guarantee of peace in the region as different groups may ask for further division of the state based on their affinities.
- It is a well known fact that Pakistan has become a refuge for terrorists. Terrorist organisations will settle in Kashmir and will further their fanatic agendas.As is evident from the reports from terror struck regions, these terrorists show no mercy and will participate in brutal acts of killing innocent civilians and foreigners.
- The most worrisome point perhaps is what will become of the Kashmiri youth who will find themselves entangled in politics of terrorism. Many NGOs from India are working in the Indian occupied Kashmir for the welfare of women and children, to increase literacy in the area and raise standards of living. All the progress that has been made will be halted if governance of Kashmir goes to Pakistan. The development of Kashmir will be hampered.
- Pakistan does not allow the people living in PoKany freedom of choice and these people have no democratic rights. They cannot elect a government and they cannot dare to even talk against Pakistan for fear of being killed. While Kashmiris living in India enjoy much more freedom and same democratic rights which are allotted to every other Indian state. Even the people living in Kashmir who openly speak condemn India will find that they can’t do the same to Pakistan if the Pakistan government takes over.
- Indian government uses a lot of resources to support tourism industry of Kashmir by providing funds and good infrastructure, like the famous Gulmarg Gondola which is a source that attracts many tourists every year. Indian army makes sure that the borders are secure for the people living in Kashmir as well as the tourist visiting the state. Pakistan is a small country and will not be able to dedicate the same amount of resources for the development of Kashmir.
- India is a democratic nation which allows individuals the right to choose their own freedom. Whereas Pakistan is an Islamic nation. The Buddhists and the Hindus living the state of Jammu and Kashmir will face discrimination from the Pakistan government and authorities.