August 09, 2019

Lessons for Kashmir’s economic integration with the rest of India

Research Director and Senior Fellow Niranjan Rajadhyaksha writes Mint that India's slow history of economic integration suggests a similar future for Kashmir.


"In the course of his speech defending the decision of the Narendra Modi government to withdraw the special constitutional status given to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, home minister Amit Shah said that the way ahead will be determined by the ability to offer economic opportunities to young people in the Kashmir valley. In other words, political integration needs to be followed by economic integration. The worst fears of his many critics will be realized in case this does not happen.


The story of the rest of India is instructive in this context. India first got politically integrated in 1950. Economic integration followed more slowly. This is in sharp contrast to what happened in Europe after World War II. Europe first became a common economic zone—from a small initial agreement to coordinate steel production to the ambitious creation of a common currency. And it then took a shot at political integration, though that dream now seems in tatters after the rise of nationalist parties that are suspicious of transnational governance."


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