Ladakh Image Credit: Geopolitics
Ladakh Image Credit: Geopolitics

Ladakh As A Union Territory

According Union Territory status to Ladakh is a masterstroke to promote India’s strategic interests, writes P Stobdan. The bold political move will unlock several key problems that had been frozen for decades. The political and economic strengthening of Ladakh could usher in an opportunity for the country to physically connect with markets in China, Eurasia and Europe and beyond

P Stobdan

The abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir state has the most unprecedented implications for getting Ladakh in the national strategic focus. India needed to untie several difficult knots on the internal front that the nation has been fixated with. The most complicated one was the J&K knot that has become unsolvable despite diplomatic, military and economic efforts. The only way out left was to unknot the distortions borne out of history. This seemed only possible if India was to take a bold political step to separate Ladakh from J&K and make it a separate administrative unit on the lines of Arunachal Pradesh. This is the only way India could finally overcome the internal contradictions as well as external challenges. In fact, separating Ladakh from J&K to make it a Union Territory (UT) is certainly a political masterstroke by New Delhi and it will unlock several key problems that had been frozen for decades.

A lost western Himalayan kingdom

Ladakh is strategically the most critical part of the country. The geo-military dimension apart, Ladakh, in the past, undoubtedly had an unambiguous politico-historical personality of its own and survived as a Western Himalayan kingdom for eleven hundred years despite all constraints.

It had loosely defined boundaries with neighbouring Tibet, Sinkiang, Nepal, Mustang and Kashmir and maintained customary or tributary relationship with them until 1834 when the Dogra

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