FILE - In this July 19, 2009, file photo, an Indian Border Security Force soldier, right, and a Pakistani Rangers soldier face one another at a daily closing ceremony at the Wagah border post near Lahore, Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a tough stance on Pakistan the centerpiece of his re-election campaign, equating it with a “New India.” “India has quit the policy of being scared of Pakistani threats,” Modi said at a recent election rally, mocking the ever-present possibility that Pakistan could use its nuclear weapons. “So what do we do then? Are those being saved for Diwali?” he said, referring to India’s own arsenal and the Hindu festival of light. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)
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FILE - In this April 18, 2019, file photo, election officers sit inside an empty polling station during the second phase of India's general elections, in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, as Kashmiri separatist leaders have called for a boycott of the vote. In the world’s largest democracy, few issues reach as broad a consensus as Kashmir, that the Muslim-majority region must remain part of Hindu-majority India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using this, and a February attack on Indian paramilitary forces in Kashmir, to consolidate the Hindu vote in India’s five-week elections that conclude May 21 to bolster his campaign-slogan claim to be India’s chowkidar, or watchman. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin)
SRINAGAR, India – Shortly before India's elections began in April, New Delhi banned civilian traffic on the only major highway connecting the heart of disputed Kashmir with the rest of the country.
The government cited unspecified security threats for the twice weekly ban, but the move is indicative of the approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken to the disputed Himalayan region since taking power in 2014.
Gone are the carrot-and-stick methods of previous governments that saw at least attempting to win hearts and minds in the Muslim-majority region. Modi's government instead has given the military carte-blanche to counter resistance to Indian rule.
While unpopular in Kashmir, the campaign has resonated in much of the country, where few issues reach as broad a consensus as that Kashmir must remain a part of India.
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