Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Daily life in locked-down Srinagar. Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

India and Pakistan are sliding toward potential nuclear war, according to the president of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. The warning comes as Pakistan attempts to rally global outrage against its neighbor and rival.

Catch up quick: On Aug. 5, India revoked the constitutional autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir — the state it controls within the disputed Himalayan territory — while instituting a communications blackout and a curfew enforced by hundreds of thousands of troops.

  • Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir, partially control it and have gone to war to defend their claims. The sudden move to fundamentally change the status of Indian-controlled Kashmir enraged Pakistan.
  • Where things stand: Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center tells Axios that while conditions vary across the state, “you still have a lockdown in effect, you still have a communications blackout in effect and you still have a number of people detained, including local political leaders.”

Masood Khan, the president of Azad Kashmir and a longtime Pakistani diplomat, told Axios this week in Washington that India’s actions constitute a “declaration of war,” not just against the local population but also against Pakistan.

  • He echoed claims by Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, that there will be “massacres” of civilians once the lockdown is lifted. But he went a step further, warning the ensuing escalation could result in a nuclear exchange.

The other side: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week said the special status of Jammu and Kashmir — India’s only Muslim-majority state — “was meant as a bridge that became a barrier.”

  • He argued that the state's autonomy cut it off economically and politically, limiting development and thus spurring alienation and separatism.
  • Jaishankar accused Pakistan of exacerbating that separatism by creating “an entire industry of terrorism for dealing with the Kashmir issue.”
  • As for the lockdown, Jaishankar said he’d rather Kashmiris go without internet than lose their lives in potential unrest.

While Jaishankar downplayed the severity of the lockdown and insisted it was being gradually loosened, Masood Khan accused India of “brutalizing” Kashmiris.

  • He predicted “asymmetric resistance” from the local population and warned that many on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC) were anxious to join the fight.
  • Khan said the government had “no intention” of sending fighters across the LoC, but warned that the anger would be “difficult to control.” He said direct intervention by the Pakistani military could also not be ruled out.

The big picture: Pakistan is attempting to focus the eyes of the world on Kashmir in part by framing it not just as a human rights issue, Kugelman says, but also a global security threat.

  • International criticism of India so far has been focused on the lockdown rather than the constitutional change, and hasn't come with pressure for negotiations on Kashmir's long-term status.
  • Thus, Kugelman contends, "India has really come out on top here in the battle of narratives."

Masood Khan conceded that President Trump effectively “endorsed” India’s crackdown at a rally in Houston on Sep. 22, during which he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts on "border security."

"When Modi and Donald Trump were holding hands together in Houston at the Howdy Modi rally, Modi was seeking endorsement of the actions he had taken in Kashmir from the most powerful nation on Earth."

Khan concedes that Modi got his endorsement.

  • He says Trump was motivated by "realpolitik," given the importance of the U.S.-India relationship, and assurances from India that they could handle the situation.
  • Trump had previously offered to mediate the Kashmir dispute, a proposal backed by Pakistan but fiercely opposed by India.
  • Despite Trump's attempts to "play both sides," Kugelman says, the long-standing U.S. policy is to treat Kashmir as a bilateral matter to be worked out by India and Pakistan.

What to watch: India recognizes that as soon as it lifts the lockdown, the “prospects for violence and threats to the lives of Indian security forces escalate significantly,” Kugelman says. Thus, he wouldn't be surprised if it's still in place in another 2 months.

Go deeper

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

Who in Congress is talking about Ukraine the most

Data: Quorum; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Mentions of Ukraine or Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in congressional statements and social media posts have been on the rise — with nearly 1,000 already this month, according to data from Quorum.

Why it matters: The growing threat of a Russian invasion has been mirrored by a growth in Ukraine-related chatter.