G20 Meet up- Addressing human security concerns in Indian Illegally occupied Kashmir

by Qurat Ul Ain Shabbir

The G20 is a leading forum for international economic cooperation, serving a crucial role in shaping and fortifying global economic policies and governance. Comprised of 19 countries and the European Union, it represents the major developed and emerging economies worldwide. The G20’s members collectively account for 85% of global GDP, 75% of international trade, and encompass two-thirds of the world’s population.

While economic and financial coordination remain central to each summit’s agenda, the G20 also addresses recurring issues such as the future of work, terrorism, global health, and climate change. The forum recognizes the interconnected nature of these challenges and aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among nations to address them effectively.

Basically, it provides developing countries or emerging economies an opportunity to sit beside developed nations and voice their opinion regarding global economic policy framework and action.

Bearing the significance of G20 as an international organization in mind, the Indian government’s decision to hold G20 meeting in a disputed territory is a discourteous move to portray Jammu and Kashmir as a place of normalcy. However, the massive crackdown and ground realities paint starkly a different picture. The ongoing restrictions on civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and assembly, the presence of Indian security forces and the suppression of dissent contribute to an atmosphere that diverges from the desired portrayal of normalcy.

Human security concerns in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir are a matter of great urgency. The region caught in a long-standing conflict, have witnessed multitude of human rights violations which has caused immense sufferings to its inhabitants.

When it comes to Kashmir conflict, securing human life is a major concern. Intense militarization and grave human rights abuses have marginalized Kashmir people. There seems to be bitterness among Kashmiri people who consider Indian state as an occupying force. Hundreds of journalists, lawyers, doctors and teachers etc. have been disappeared, killed or tortured. A 354-page report formulated by International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IPTK) and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has reported that in the last two decades, almost eight thousand people had disappeared with addition to the death of more than seven thousand persons. It also indicated towards six thousand unknown mass graves.

The prevailing violence in the Kashmir valley has severe repercussions for economic development, as it discourages private investors and contributes to stagnation. The hostile environment created by the ongoing conflict hampers the ability of the local government in Jammu and Kashmir to generate its own resource management mechanisms, exacerbating underdevelopment in the region.

Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK) heavily relies on transfer payments from the central government, which constitute nearly half of the state government’s reserves. These reserves primarily consist of 10% loans and 90% grants. This economic setup can be perceived as a form of economic imperialism by the Indian state, as it maintains a significant degree of control over the region’s financial resources.

There are human security challenges in Jammu and Kashmir as far as health security is concerned. Many people lost their limbs and eye sight which is a major health concern. In addition, health infrastructure which was already in shambles has been severely damaged. Moreover, Kashmir conflict has also severely affected mental health of people.  There is also lack of proper mental healthcare facilities as there is only one psychiatric government hospital which has little capacity to treat psychiatric patients in large numbers.

The people of Kashmir are putting up with the environmental degradation and exploitation due to Indian government’s policies and bad governance. The natural habitat and forest resources are in bad condition resulting in the loss of huge wild life reserves. The loss of natural habitat resulted in the disappearance of more than 100 varieties of birds. The existence of wetlands is also in great danger.

The Kashmir valley has total 9 wetlands and according to environmental experts these wetlands can vanish within a decade if continued to be neglected by the concerned authorities. The water pollution is another environmental challenge that requires attention.

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