The Indian government triggered outrage Monday by moving to revoke the special status of Kashmir, stripping the disputed border region with Pakistan of an autonomy that has governed the region for seven decades. CNN reports tens of thousands of Indian troops have flooded the region, internet connections have gone dark, and several prominent politicians have been taken into custody as a virtual lockdown went into effect. In New Delhi, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it would revoke Article 370, a provision that has given the region its own constitution, flag, and autonomous authority over all matters since 1949.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it “strongly rejects and condemns” the move. “No unilateral step by the Government of India can change this disputed status... As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps,” it said in a statement. It added the move won’t “ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan.” Thousands of Indian troops were deployed to the region ahead of the announcement and tourists were told to leave, according to the BBC. India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, have previously fought two wars over the territory.