Thousands protest in Britain for Kashmir outside Indian High Commission

Kashmir: India's Modi hails 'path-breaking' changes amid lockdown

Indian PM Modi Addresses Independence Day Amid Kashmir Tensions, Vows to Expose Exporters of Terror

In a speech given on India's Independence Day, Modi proclaimed: "In the past 70 years, the existed system in Jammu and Kashmir encouraged terrorism, nepotism, corruption".

"The secretary-general also recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means", the statement said.

Modi faces a raft of serious challenges in his second term in government.

Article 370 of the Indian constitution protected the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, requiring the mandatory approval of most of the laws adopted by the Indian parliament in the local assembly.

During the last five years, Modi's government has made it much easier to do business in India, he added, vowing to further streamline government procedure.

The consultation is being held at China's request.

In Pakistan, which shares divided Kashmir and has fought two wars with India over the region, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi described Modi as a key hurdle to peace and a resumption of dialogue between the rivals.

India celebrates Independence Day one day after Pakistan.

They came close to a third in February after a deadly attack on Indian police by a Pakistan-based militant group resulted in air strikes by both countries.

Pakistanis and residents of Pakistani-administered Kashmir on Thursday observed "the Black Day" in solidarity with Kashmiris in the Indian-controlled portion.

Modi's 90-minute speech ended with the prime minister leading chants of "Jai Hind" ("Long live India") with schoolchildren dressed in the saffron, white and green of the Indian flag, before a rendition of the national anthem.

The BBC World Service, meanwhile, has stepped up its output on shortwave radio in Indian-administered Kashmir amid the communications shutdown. "The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced", he said.

The report, presented in New Delhi, found that people living under the security lockdown expressed "enormous anger and anguish" in response to the surprise move by Mr Modi. The team said it travelled to towns and villages the length of the Kashmir Valley between August 9 and 13, including southern areas that had been recent hotbeds of rebel activity. Critics have likened it to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

"Kashmir is like an open jail", said Vimal Bhai, another activist on the team.

Mass protests in the street have been put down by some 43,000 Indian troops now stationed in the region. IOK (India-Occupied Kashmir) is how Islamabad refers to the region administered by India.

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