Essay Kashmir Problem History

Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947, the Kashmir dispute has been an intractable one between them. They fought three wars over it in1948, 1965, and 1999, but have not been able to resolve it. The partition left the fate of over 550 princely states undecided. They were required to accede to either of the two states on the basis of the geographical location and wishes of their people.


The state of Jammu and Kashmir should have acceded to Pakistan because of its Muslim majority population and geographical location, but this was not happened when Mahraja Hari  Singh seek military assistance from India to resist the Pakistani tribal’s attacks and ultimately signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ with India. Eventually Indian forces intervened and captured the state of Jammu and Kashmir. From that day Kashmir dispute has been the core issue between both Pakistan and India, which also had kept the security of entire South Asia at stake because of their extensive nuclear capability.


So, the Kashmir issue has been a major bone of contention from the day of independence, resulted in three wars, numerous conflicts between India and Pakistan and severely rigid diplomacy. The United Nations Security Council had tried to resolve the dispute by declaring that the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method by holding a free and fair plebiscite but India had rejected any mediation which opposed its claim regarding Kashmir.


Kashmir’s strategic importance lies in the fact that its borders meet with China and Afghanistan and also is close to Russia. Almost all the rivers which flow through Pakistan, originate from Kashmir, that’s why both the countries ignore stepping back claiming of this territory.


The failure of diplomacy to resolve the Kashmir issue attracted international and regional attention to it. After the wars of 1948, 1962 and 1965, determined efforts were made to resolve this issue. In 1948, the United Nations became deeply involved but India didn’t show flexibility. After the India-China border War of 1962, there were intense but fruitless American and British efforts to bridge a gap between India and Pakistan. The end of 1965 war saw Soviet Union as a regional peacemaker. The Soviets did manage to promote a peace treaty at Tashkent, but this could not establish peace in the region and soon Indian involvement in East Pakistan led to her separation in 1970-71.


The most consistent feature of great power influence on the Kashmir problem has been its ineffectiveness. Besides Cold war rivalries, both United States and the Soviet Union have played significant, often parallel and cooperative roles in the subcontinent. Both Washington and Moscow made several inconclusive efforts to mediate the dispute or bring about its peaceful resolution, but were distrustful of anything more. It took the 1990 crisis with its nuclear dimension, to bring the United States back to the region.


Soviet Union, United states and China have different policies towards the Kashmir dispute according to their own interests. In the beginning all of them showed neutrality but with the changing world’s politics and dimensions, they formulate their concerns regarding Kashmir. China‘s Kashmir policy has passed through different stages. In first phase, from 1949 to 1960s, China avoided siding with either India or Pakistan; instead it favored a resolution of the issue through peaceful settlements and also opposed the role of UN and United States to mediate Kashmir issue.


The second phase started from early 1960s and lasted till 1970. Sino-Indian border war of 1962 started hostility between India and China resulted close relations with Pakistan. China stood by Pakistan on Kashmir issue with firm support for the right of self determination. But in 1970s, China adopted neutral policy on Kashmir issue as its relations were normal with India; this was reflected during Kargil conflict and Indo-Pak military possible conflict in 2001-2.


The normal relations between India and Pakistan on Kashmir would bring benefits to the United States. Indo-Pak tensions are especially dangerous because they bring two nuclear states on the brink of war. They divert Pakistan from fighting terrorists and militants on their own soils. India and Pakistan need to engage in combined bilateral talks on all important issues. Continuing tensions over Kashmir will weaken any initiative to bring stability to South Asia as well as bring about the risk of a nuclear war. It will be quite right by assuming that Kashmir is the root cause of much of the militancy in South Asia.


It is necessary for international community to realize that peace and stability in South Asia can only be guaranteed if all outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India, including the Kashmir dispute should be resolved because Pakistan has become a frontline state against the Global War of terrorism.The best solution of the Kashmir dispute could be the right of self determination which should be given to Kashmiris in order to give them the right to decide to whom they want to accede.

The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan, having started just after the partition of India in 1947. China has at times played a minor role.[2] India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947 and 1965, as well as the Kargil War of 1999. The two countries have also been involved in several skirmishes over control of the Siachen Glacier.

India claims the entire princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, and, as of 2010[update], administers approximately 43% of the region. It controls Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and the Siachen Glacier.[3] India's claims are contested by Pakistan, which administers approximately 37% of the region, namely Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.[4][5] China currently administers the remaining 20% mostly uninhabited areas, the Shaksgam Valley, and the Aksai Chin region. China's claim over these territories has been disputed by India since China took Aksai Chin during the Sino-Indian War of 1962.[6]

The present conflict is in Kashmir Valley.[7] The root of conflict between the Kashmiri insurgents and the Indian government is tied to a dispute over local autonomy[8] and based on the demand for self-determination.[9][10][11] Democratic development was limited in Kashmir until the late 1970s, and by 1988, many of the democratic reforms introduced by the Indian Government had been reversed. Non-violent channels for expressing discontent were thereafter limited and caused a dramatic increase in support for insurgents advocating violent secession from India.[8] In 1987, a disputed state election[12] created a catalyst for the insurgency when it resulted in some of the state's legislative assembly members forming armed insurgent groups.[13][14][15] In July 1988 a series of demonstrations, strikes and attacks on the Indian Government began the Kashmir Insurgency.

Although thousands of people have died as a result of the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir,[16] the conflict has become less deadly in recent years.[17][18] Protest movements created to voice Kashmir's disputes and grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military, have been active in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989.[17][18]Elections held in 2008 were generally regarded as fair by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and had a high voter turnout in spite of calls by separatist militants for a boycott. The election resulted in the creation of the pro-India Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, which then formed a government in the state.[19][20] According to Voice of America, many analysts have interpreted the high voter turnout in this election as a sign that the people of Kashmir endorsed Indian rule in the state.[21] But in 2010 unrest erupted after alleged fake encounter of local youth with security force.[22] Thousands of youths pelted security forces with rocks, burned government offices and attacked railway stations and official vehicles in steadily intensifying violence.[23] The Indian government blamed separatists and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group for stoking the 2010 protests.[24]

Elections held in 2014 saw highest voters turnout in 26 years of history in Jammu and Kashmir.[25][26][27][28] However, analysts explain that the high voter turnout in Kashmir is not an endorsement of Indian rule by the Kashmiri population, rather most people vote for daily issues such as food and electricity.[29][30] An opinion poll conducted by the Chatham House international affairs think tank found that in the Kashmir valley – the mainly Muslim area in Indian Kashmir at the centre of the insurgency – support for independence varies between 74% to 95% in its various districts.[31][32] Support for remaining with India was, however, extremely high in predominantly Hindu Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh.

According to scholars, Indian forces have committed many human rights abuses and acts of terror against Kashmiri civilian population including extrajudicial killing, rape, torture and enforced disappearances. Crimes by militants have also happened but are not comparable in scale with the crimes of Indian forces.[10][33][34] According to Amnesty International, as of June 2015, no member of the Indian military deployed in Jammu and Kashmir has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court, although there have been military court martials held.[35] Amnesty International welcomed this move but cautioned that justice should be consistently delivered and prosecutions of security forces personnel be held in civilian courts. Amnesty International has also accused the Indian government of refusing to prosecute perpetrators of abuses in the region.[36]

Kashmir's accession to India was provisional, and conditional on a plebiscite,[37] and for this reason had a different constitutional status to other Indian states.[38] In October 2015 Jammu and Kashmir High Court said that article 370 is "permanent" and Jammu and Kashmir did not merge with India the way other princely states merged but retained special status and limited sovereignty under Indian constitution.[39]

In 2016 (8 July 2016 – present) unrest erupted after killing of a Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani by Indian security forces.[40]

India–Pakistan conflict

Further information: Timeline of the Kashmir conflict

Early history

See also: History of Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir (princely state)

According to the mid-12th century text Rajatarangini the Kashmir Valley was formerly a lake. Hindu mythology relates that the lake was drained by the sage Kashyapa, by cutting a gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula),[41] and invited Brahmans to settle there. This remains the local tradition and Kashyapa is connected with the draining of the lake[41] in traditional histories. The chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley is called Kashyapa-pura, which has been identified as Ancient Greek: ΚασπάπυροςKaspapyros in Hecataeus (ApudStephanus of Byzantium) and the Kaspatyros of Herodotus (3.102, 4.44).[41] Kashmir is also believed to be the country indicated by Ptolemy's Kaspeiria.[42]

The PashtunDurrani Empire ruled Kashmir in the 18th century until its 1819 conquest by the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. The Raja of Jammu Gulab Singh, who was a vassal of the Sikh Empire and an influential noble in the Sikh court, sent expeditions to various border kingdoms and ended up encircling Kashmir by 1840. Following the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–1846), Kashmir was ceded under the Treaty of Lahore to the East India Company, which transferred it to Gulab Singh through the Treaty of Amritsar, in return for the payment of indemnity owed by the Sikh empire. Gulab Singh took the title of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. From then until the 1947 Partition of India, Kashmir was ruled by the Maharajas of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu. According to the 1941 census, the state's population was 77 percent Muslim, 20 percent Hindu and 3 percent others (Sikhs and Buddhists). Despite its Muslim majority, the princely rule was an overwhelmingly Hindu state. The Muslim majority suffered under Hindu rule with high taxes and discrimination.[45]

Partition and invasion

British rule in the Indian subcontinent ended in 1947 with the creation of new states: the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India, as the successor states to British India. The British Paramountcy over the 562 Indian princely states ended. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, "the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States".[46] States were thereafter left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population ruled by the Hindu MaharajaHari Singh. He decided to stay independent because he expected that the State's Muslims would be unhappy with accession to India, and the Hindus and Sikhs would become vulnerable if he joined Pakistan.[47][48] On 11 August, the Maharaja dismissed his prime minister Ram Chandra Kak, who had advocated independence. Observers and scholars interpret this action as a tilt towards accession to India.[49][48] Pakistanis decided to preempt this possibility by wresting Kashmir by force if necessary.[50]

Pakistan made various efforts to persuade the Maharaja of Kashmir to join Pakistan. In July 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah is believed to have written to the Maharaja promising "every sort of favourable treatment," followed by lobbying of the State's Prime Minister by leaders of Jinnah's Muslim League party. Faced with the Maharaja's indecision on accession, the Muslim League agents clandestinely worked in Poonch to encourage the local Muslims to an armed revolt, exploiting an internal unrest regarding economic grievances. The authorities in Pakistani Punjab waged a 'private war' by obstructing supplies of fuel and essential commodities to the State. Later in September, Muslim League officials in the Northwest Frontier Province, including the Chief Minister Abdul Qayyum Khan, assisted and possibly organized a large-scale invasion of Kashmir by Pathan tribesmen.[51]:61[52] Several sources indicate that the plans were finalised on 12 September by the Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, based on proposals prepared by Colonel Akbar Khan and Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan. One plan called for organising an armed insurgency in the western districts of the state and the other for organising a Pushtoon tribal invasion. Both were set in motion.[53]

The Jammu division of the state got caught up in the Partition violence. Large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs from Rawalpindi and Sialkot started arriving in March 1947, bringing "harrowing stories of Muslim atrocities." This provoked counter-violence on Jammu Muslims, which had "many parallels with that in Sialkot." According to scholar Ilyas Chattha.[55] The violence in the eastern districts of Jammu that started in September, developed into a widespread 'massacre' of Muslims around the October, organised by the Hindu Dogra troops of the State and perpetrated by the local Hindus, including members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and the Hindus and Sikhs displaced from the neighbouring areas of West Pakistan. The Maharaja himself was implicated in some instances. A large number of Muslims were killed. Huge number of Muslims have fled to West Pakistan, some of whom made their way to the western districts of Poonch and Mirpur, which were undergoing rebellion. Many of these Muslims believed that the Maharaja ordered the killings in Jammu and instigated the Muslims in West Pakistan to join the uprising in Poonch and help in the formation of the Azad Kashmir government.

The rebel forces in the western districts of Jammu got organised under the leadership of Sardar Ibrahim, a Muslim Conference leader. They took control of most of the western parts of the State by 22 October. On 24 October, they formed a provisional Azad Kashmir (free Kashmir) government based in Palandri.


Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan, the Maharaja's nominee for his next prime minister, visited Nehru and Patel in Delhi on 19 September, requesting essential supplies which had been blockaded by Pakistan since the beginning of September. He communicated the Maharaja's willingness to accede to India. Nehru, however, demanded that the jailed political leader, Sheikh Abdullah, be released from prison and involved in the state government. Only then would he allow the state to accede.[58] The Maharaja released Sheikh Abdullah on 29 September.[49] Before any further reforms were implemented, the Pakistani tribal invasion brought the matters to a head.

Maharaja's troops, heavily outnumbered and outgunned and facing internal rebellions from Muslim troops, had no chance of withstanding the attack. The Maharaja made an urgent plea to Delhi for military assistance. Upon the Governor General Lord Mountbatten's insistence, India required the Maharaja to accede before it could send troops. Accordingly, the Maharaja signed an instrument of accession on 26 October 1947, which was accepted by the Governor General the next day.[60][62] While the Government of India accepted the accession, it added the proviso that it would be submitted to a "reference to the people" after the state is cleared of the invaders, since "only the people, not the Maharaja, could decide where Kashmiris wanted to live." It was a provisional accession.[64][note 1]National Conference, the largest political party in the State and headed by Sheikh Abdullah, endorsed the accession. In the words of the National Conference leader Syed Mir Qasim, India had the "legal" as well as "moral" justification to send in the army through the Maharaja's accession and the people's support of it.[65][note 2]

The Indian troops, which were air lifted in the early hours of 27 October, secured the Srinagar airport. The city of Srinagar was being patrolled by the National Conference volunteers with Hindus and Sikhs moving about freely among Muslims, an "incredible sight" to visiting journalists. The National Conference also worked with the Indian Army to secure the city.[66]

In the north of the state lay the Gilgit Agency, which had been leased by British India but returned to the Maharaja shortly before Independence. Gilgit's population did not favour the State's accession to India. Sensing their discontent, Major William Brown, the Maharaja's commander of the Gilgit Scouts, mutinied on 1 November 1947, overthrowing the Governor Ghansara Singh. The bloodless coup d'etat was planned by Brown to the last detail under the code name 'Datta Khel'. Local leaders in Gilgit formed a provisional government (Aburi Hakoomat), naming Raja Shah Rais Khan as the president and Mirza Hassan Khan as the commander-in-chief. But, Major Brown had already telegraphed Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan asking Pakistan to take over. According to historian Yaqoob Khan Bangash, the provisional government lacked sway over the population which had intense pro-Pakistan sentiments.[67] Pakistan's Political Agent, Khan Mohammad Alam Khan, arrived on 16 November and took over the administration of Gilgit.[69] According to various scholars, the people of Gilgit as well as those of Chilas, Koh Ghizr, Ishkoman, Yasin, Punial, Hunza and Nagar joined Pakistan by choice.[70][71][72][73]

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

Main article: Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

Rebel forces from the western districts of the State and the Pakistani Pakhtoon tribesmen[note 3][note 4] made rapid advances into the Baramulla sector. In the Kashmir valley, National Conference volunteers worked with the Indian Army to drive out the 'raiders'.[note 5] The resulting First Kashmir War lasted until the end of 1948.

The Pakistan army made available arms, ammunition and supplies to the rebel forces who were dubbed the 'Azad Army'. Pakistani army officers 'conveniently' on leave and the former officers of the Indian National Army were recruited to command the forces. In May 1948, the Pakistani army officially entered the conflict, in theory to defend the Pakistan borders, but it made plans to push towards Jammu and cut the lines of communications of the Indian forces in the Mendhar valley.C. Christine Fair notes that this was the beginning of Pakistan using irregular forces and 'asymmetric warfare' to ensure plausible deniability, which has continued ever since.

On 1 November 1947, Mountbatten flew to Lahore for a conference with Jinnah, proposing that, in all the princely States where the ruler did not accede to a Dominion corresponding to the majority population (which would have included Junagadh, Hyderabad as well as Kashmir), the accession should be decided by an 'impartial reference to the will of the people'. Jinnah rejected the offer. According to Indian scholar A. G. Noorani Jinnah ended up squandering his leverage.

According to Jinnah, India acquired the accession through "fraud and violence." A plebiscite was unnecessary and states should accede according to their majority population. He was willing to urge Junagadh to accede to India in return for Kashmir. For a plebiscite, Jinnah demanded simultaneous troop withdrawal for he felt that 'the average Muslim would never have the courage to vote for Pakistan' in the presence of Indian troops and with Sheikh Abdullah in power. When Mountbatten countered that the plebiscite could be conducted by the United Nations, Jinnah, hoping that the invasion would succeed and Pakistan might lose a plebiscite, again rejected the proposal, stating that the Governors Generals should conduct it instead. Mountbatten noted that it was untenable given his constitutional position and India did not accept Jinnah's demand of removing Sheikh Abdullah.[78][note 6]

Prime Ministers Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan met again in December, when Nehru informed Khan of India's intention to refer the dispute to the United Nations under article 35 of the UN Charter, which allows the member states to bring to the Security Council attention situations 'likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace'.

Nehru and other Indian leaders were afraid since 1947 that the "temporary" accession to India might act as an irritant to the bulk of the Muslims of Kashmir. Secretary in Patel’s Ministry of States, V.P. Menon, admitted in an interview in 1964 that India had been absolutely dishonest on the issue of plebiscite.[80] A.G. Noorani blames many Indian and Pakistani leaders for the misery of Kashmiri people but says that Nehru was the main culprit.[81]

UN mediation

India sought resolution of the issue at the UN Security Council, despite Sheikh Abdullah's opposition to it.[note 5] Following the set-up of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The measure called for an immediate cease-fire and called on the Government of Pakistan 'to secure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the state for the purpose of fighting.' It also asked Government of India to reduce its forces to minimum strength, after which the circumstances for holding a plebiscite should be put into effect 'on the question of Accession of the state to India or Pakistan.' However, it was not until 1 January 1949 that the ceasefire could be put into effect, signed by General Douglas Gracey on behalf of Pakistan and General Roy Bucher on behalf of India. However, both India and Pakistan failed to arrive at a truce agreement due to differences over interpretation of the procedure for and the extent of demilitarisation. One sticking point was whether the Azad Kashmiri army was to be disbanded during the truce stage or at the plebiscite stage.[83]

The UNCIP made three visits to the subcontinent between 1948 and 1949, trying to find a solution agreeable to both India and Pakistan. It reported to the Security Council in August 1948 that "the presence of troops of Pakistan" inside Kashmir represented a "material change" in the situation. A two-part process was proposed for the withdrawal of forces. In the first part, Pakistan was to withdraw its forces as well as other Pakistani nationals from the state. In the second part, "when the Commission shall have notified the Government of India" that Pakistani withdrawal has been completed, India was to withdraw the bulk of its forces. After both the withdrawals were completed, a plebiscite would be held.[note 7] The resolution was accepted by India but effectively rejected by Pakistan.[note 8]

The Indian government considered itself to be under legal possession of Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of the accession of the state. The assistance given by Pakistan to the rebel forces and the Pakhtoon tribes was held to be a hostile act and the further involvement of the Pakistan army was taken to be an invasion of Indian territory. From the Indian perspective, the plebiscite was meant to confirm the accession, which was in all respects already complete, and Pakistan could not aspire to an equal footing with India in the contest.

The Pakistan government held that the state of Jammu and Kashmir had executed a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan which precluded it from entering into agreements with other countries. It also held that the Maharaja had no authority left to execute accession because his people had revolted and he had to flee the capital. It believed that the Azad Kashmir movement as well as the tribal incursions were indigenous and spontaneous, and Pakistan's assistance to them was not open to criticism.

In short, India required an asymmetric treatment of the two countries in the withdrawal arrangements, regarding Pakistan as an 'aggressor', whereas Pakistan insisted on parity. The UN mediators tended towards parity, which was not to India's satisfaction. In the end, no withdrawal was ever carried out, India insisting that Pakistan had to withdraw first, and Pakistan contending that there was no guarantee that India would withdraw afterwards. No agreement could be reached between the two countries on the process of demilitarisation.[note 9]

Cold War historian Robert J. McMahon states that American officials increasingly blamed India for rejecting various UNCIP truce proposals under various dubious legal technicalities just to avoid a plebiscite. McMahon adds that they were 'right' since a Muslim majority made a vote to join Pakistan the 'most likely outcome' and postponing the plebiscite would serve India's interests.[90]

Scholars have commented that the failure of the Security Council efforts of mediation owed to the fact that the Council regarded the issue as a purely political dispute without investigating its legal underpinnings.[note 10] Declassified British papers indicate that Britain and US had let their Cold War calculations influence their policy in the UN, disregarding the merits of the case.[note 11]

Dixon Plan

The UNCIP appointed its successor, Sir Owen Dixon, to implement demilitarization prior to a statewide plebiscite on the basis of General McNaughton's scheme, and to recommend solutions to the two governments.[91][92][93] Dixon's efforts for a statewide plebiscite came to naught due to India's constant rejection of the various alternative demilitarisation proposals, for which Dixon rebuked India harshly.[94]

Dixon then offered an alternative proposal, widely known as the Dixon plan. Dixon did not view the state of Jammu and Kashmir as one homogeneous unit and therefore proposed that a plebiscite be limited to the Valley. Dixon agreed that people in Jammu and Ladakh were clearly in favour of India; equally clearly, those in Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas wanted to be part of Pakistan. This left the Kashmir Valley and 'perhaps some adjacent country' around Muzaffarabad in uncertain political terrain.[95] Pakistan did not accept this plan because it believed that India's commitment to a plebiscite for the whole state should not be abandoned.[96]

Dixon also had concerns that the Kashmiris, not being high-spirited people, may vote under fear or improper influences.[97] Following Pakistan's objections, he proposed that Sheikh Abdullah administration should be held in "commission" (in abeyance) while the plebiscite was held. This was not acceptable to India which rejected the Dixon plan. Another grounds for India's rejection of the limited plebiscite was that it wanted Indian troops to remain in Kashmir for "security purposes", but would not allow Pakistani troops the same. However, Dixon's plan had encapsulated a withdrawal by both sides. Dixon had believed a neutral administration would be essential for a fair plebiscite.[98]

Dixon came to the conclusion that India would never agree to conditions and a demilitarization which would ensure a free and fair plebiscite.[99] Dixon's failure also compounded American ambassador Loy Henderson's misgivings about Indian sincerity and he advised the USA to maintain a distance from the Kashmir dispute, which the US subsequently did, and leave the matter for Commonwealth nations to intervene in.[100]

1950 military standoff

The convening of the Constituent Assembly in Indian Kashmir in July 1950 proved contentious. Pakistan protested to the Security Council which informed India that this development conflicted with the parties' commitments. The National Conference rejected this resolution and Nehru supported this by telling Dr Graham that he would receive no help in implementing the Resolution.[101] A month later Nehru adopted a more conciliatory attitude, telling a press conference that the Assembly's actions would not affect India's plebiscite commitment. The delay caused frustration in Pakistan and Zafrullah Khan went on to say that Pakistan was not keeping a warlike mentality but did not know what Indian intransigence would lead Pakistan and its people to. India accused Pakistan of ceasefire violations and Nehru complained of 'warmongering propaganda' in Pakistan.[102] On 15 July 1951 the Pakistani Prime Minister complained that the bulk of the Indian Army was concentrated on the Indo-Pakistan border.[103]

The prime ministers of the two countries exchanged telegrams accusing each other of bad intentions. Liaquat Ali Khan rejected Nehru's charge of warmongering propaganda. Khan called it a distortion of the Pakistani press' discontent with India over its persistence in not holding a plebiscite and a misrepresentation of the desire to liberate Kashmir as an anti-Indian war. Khan also accused India of raising its defence budget in the past two years, a charge which Nehru rejected while expressing surprise at Khan's dismissal of the 'virulent' anti-Indian propaganda. Khan and Nehru also disagreed on the details of the no-war declarations. Khan then submitted a peace plan calling for a withdrawal of troops, settlement in Kashmir by plebiscite, renouncing the use of force, end to war propaganda and the signing of a no-war pact.[104] Nehru did not accept the second and third components of this peace plan. The peace plan failed. While an opposition leader in Pakistan did call for war, leaders in both India and Pakistan did urge calm to avert disaster.[105]

The Commonwealth had taken up the Kashmir issue in January 1951. Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies suggested that a Commonwealth force be stationed in Kashmir; that a joint Indo-Pakistani force be stationed in Kashmir and the plebiscite administrator be entitled to raise local troops while the plebiscite would be held. Pakistan accepted these proposals but India rejected them because it did not want Pakistan, who was in India's eyes the 'aggressor', to have an equal footing. The UN Security Council called on India and Pakistan to honour the resolutions of plebiscite both had accepted in 1948 and 1949. The United States and Britain proposed that if the two could not reach an agreement then arbitration would be considered. Pakistan agreed but Nehru said he would not allow a third person to decide the fate of four million people. Korbel criticised India's stance towards a ″valid″ and ″recommended technique of international co-operation.″

However, the peace was short-lived. Later by 1953, Sheikh Abdullah, who was by then in favour of resolving Kashmir by a plebiscite, an idea which was "anametha" to the Indian government according to scholar Zutshi,fell out with the Indian government. He was dismissed and imprisoned in August 1953. His former deputy, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was appointed as the prime minister, and Indian security forces were deployed in the Valley to control the streets.[108]

Nehru's plebiscite offer

Soon after the election of Bogra as Prime Minister in Pakistan he met Nehru in London. A second meeting followed in Delhi in the backdrop of unrest in Kashmir following Sheikh Abdullah's arrest. The two sides agreed to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir.[110] Scholar Noorani says the agreement Nehru reached with Bogra was only an act to quench the Kashmiri unrest[111] although Raghavan disagrees.[112]

They also agreed informally to not retain the UN-appointed plebiscite administrator Nimitz because India felt a pro-Pakistan bias on America's part. An outcry in Pakistan's press against agreeing to India's demand was ignored by both Bogra and Nehru who kept the negotiations on track.[113]

The USA in February 1954 announced that it wanted to provide military aid to Pakistan. The USA signed a military pact with Pakistan in May by which Pakistan would receive military equipment and training. The US President tried to alleviate India's concerns by offering similar weaponry to India. This was an unsuccessful attempt. Nehru's misgivings about the US-Pakistan pact made him hostile to a plebiscite.[114] Consequently, when the pact was concluded in May 1954, Nehru withdrew the plebiscite offer and declared that the status quo was the only remaining option.

Nehru's withdrawal from the plebiscite option came a major blow to all concerned. Scholars have suggested that India was never seriously intent on holding a plebiscite, and the withdrawal came to signify a vindication of their belief.[121]

Indian writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri has observed that Pakistan's acceptance of Western support ensured its survival. He believed that India intended to invade Pakistan twice or thrice during the period 1947–1954. For scholar Wayne Wilcox, Pakistan was able to find external support to counter "Hindu superiority", returning to the group security position of the early 20th century.[123]

Sino-Indian War

Main article: Sino-Indian War

In 1962, troops from the People's Republic of China and India clashed in territory claimed by both. China won a swift victory in the war, resulting in Chinese annexation of the region they call Aksai Chin and which has continued since then. Another smaller area, the Trans-Karakoram, was demarcated as the Line of Control (LOC) between China and Pakistan, although some of the territory on the Chinese side is claimed by India to be part of Kashmir. The line that separates India from China in this region is known as the "Line of Actual Control".[124]

Operation Gibraltar and 1965 Indo-Pakistani war

Main articles: Operation Gibraltar, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, and Tashkent Agreement

Following its failure to seize Kashmir in 1947, Pakistan supported numerous 'covert cells' in Kashmir using operatives based in its New Delhi embassy. After its military pact with the United States in the 1950s, it intensively studied guerrilla warfare through engagement with the US military. In 1965, it decided that the conditions were ripe for a successful guerilla war in Kashmir. Code named 'Operation Gibraltar', companies were dispatched into Indian-administered Kashmir, the majority of whose members were razakars (volunteers) and mujahideen recruited from Pakitan-administered Kashmir and trained by the Army. These irregular forces were supported by officers and men from the paramilitary Northern Light Infantry and Azad Kashmir Rifles as well as commandos from the Special Services Group. About 30,000 infiltrators are estimated to have been dispatched in August 1965 as part of the 'Operation Gibraltar'.

The plan was for the infiltrators to mingle with the local populace and incite them to rebellion. Meanwhile, guerilla warfare would commence, destroying bridges, tunnels and highways, as well as Indian Army installations and airfields, creating conditions for an 'armed insurrection' in Kashmir.[126] If the attempt failed, Pakistan hoped to have raised international attention to the Kashmir issue. Using the newly acquired sophisticated weapons through the American arms aid, Pakistan believed that it could achieve tactical victories in a quick limited war.

However, the 'Operation Gibraltar' ended in failure as the Kashmiris did not revolt. Instead, they turned in infiltrators to the Indian authorities in substantial numbers, and the Indian Army ended up fighting the Pakistani Army regulars. Pakistan claimed that the captured men were Kashmiri 'freedom fighters', a claim contradicted by the international media.[129][note 12] On 1 September, Pakistan launched an attack across the Cease Fire Line, targeting Akhnoor in an effort to cut Indian communications into Kashmir. In response, India broadened the war by launching an attack on Pakistani Punjab across the international border. The war lasted till 23 September, ending in a stalemate. Following the Tashkent Agreement, both the sides withdrew to their pre-conflict positions, and agreed not to interfere in each other's internal affairs.

1971 Indo-Pakistani war and Simla Agreement

Main articles: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and Simla Agreement

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 led to a loss for Pakistan and a military surrender in East Pakistan. Bangladesh got created as a separate state with India's support and India emerged as a clear regional power in South Asia.

A bilateral summit was held at Simla as a follow-up to the war, where India pushed for peace in South Asia.[131] At stake were 5,139 square miles of Pakistan's territory captured by India during the conflict, and over 90,000 prisoners of war held in Bangladesh. India was ready to return them in exchange for a "durable solution" to the Kashmir issue. Diplomat J. N. Dixit states that the negotiations at Simla were painful and tortuous, and almost broke down. The deadlock was broken in a personal meeting between the Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi, where Bhutto acknowledged that the Kashmir issue should be finally resolved and removed as a hurdle in India-Pakistan relations; that the cease-fire line, to be renamed the Line of Control, could be gradually converted into a de jure border between India and Pakistan; and that he would take steps to integrate the Pakistani-controlled portions of Jammu and Kashmir into the federal territories of Pakistan.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *