Climate change exacerbating Kashmir crisis?

Renewed fighting between India and Pakistan across the Line of Control in Kashmir has killed at least 19 civilians over the past week—11 on the Pakistani side; eight on the Indian side. Thousands of villagers have been displaced by the fighting, as each side blames the other for breaking the 2003 ceasefire. (BBC News, Oct. 9; India Today, Oct. 8) At Kishtwar, in India-controlled Kashmir, Muslim protesters defied security forces, marching through the town and hoisting the Pakistani flag Oct. 8. (Kashmir Media Service, Oct. 8) Local anger is deepened by last month's devastating floods, in which large parts of Srinagar, capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, were inundated, leaving a still undetermined number dead. New Delhi has come under harsh criticism for its response to the disaster—prioritizing the rescue of tourists as little was done to assist locals. Local government was paralyzed by the collapse of the telecommunications system. (Saudi Gazette, Oct. 8)

The Indian Meteorological Department had issued a warning before the flooding started Sept. 2 about imminent heavy rainfall, but authorities took no action. The disaster came just a year after Uttarakhand, another Himalayan state, was devastated by floods—prompting warnings that local deforestation and global climate change were conspiring to make such catastrophic events more frequent. (Al Jazeera, Sept. 22)

Repeated devastating floods in Pakistan in recent years have coincided with destabilization of the Himalayan glaciers.