Why is Kashmir disputed?
The Kashmir dispute dates from 1947. The partition of the Indian sub-continent along religious lines led to the formation of India and Pakistan. However, there remained the problem of over 650 states, run by princes, existing within the two newly independent countries.
In theory, these princely states had the option of deciding which country to join, or of remaining independent. In practice, the restive population of each province proved decisive.
The people had been fighting for freedom from British rule, and with their struggle to bear fruit they were not willing to let the princes fill the vacuum.
Although many princes wanted to be “independent” (which would have meant hereditary monarchies and no hope for democracy) they had to succumb to their people’s protests which turned violent in many provinces.
Origin of dispute 1947
Because of its location, Kashmir could choose to join either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, was Hindu while most of his subjects were Muslim. Unable to decide which nation Kashmir should join, Hari Singh chose to remain neutral
But his hopes of remaining independent were dashed in October 1947, as Pakistan sent in Muslim tribesmen to attack the capital Srinagar.
Kashmir Accession 1947
Hari Singh appealed to the Indian government for military assistance and fled to India. He signed the Instrument of Accession, ceding Kashmir to
India on October 26.
Indian and Pakistani forces thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January.
United Nation Resolution 1948
In a resolution dated August 13, 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to remove its troops, after which India was also to withdraw the bulk of its forces.
India, has taken the issue to the UN, was confident of winning a plebiscite, since the most influential Kashmiri mass leader, Sheikh Abdullah, was firmly on its side.
Emergency Government was formed 1948
An emergency government was formed on October 30, 1948, with Sheikh Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
Pakistan ignored the UN mandate and continued fighting, holding on to the portion of Kashmir under its control.
First Cease fire signed 1949
On January 1, 1949, a ceasefire was agreed, with 65 percent of the territory under Indian control and the remainder with Pakistan.
Kashmir became part of India Union
In 1957, Kashmir was formally incorporated into the Indian Union. It was granted a special status under Article 370 of India’s constitution, which ensures, among other things, that non-Kashmiri Indians cannot buy property there.
The Sino-Indian War 1962
was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan uprising when India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama.
India initiated a Forward Policy in which it placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of a Line of Actual Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959.
Unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 3,225-kilometre-long Himalayan border, the Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962. Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang la in Chushul in the western theatre, as well as Tawang in the eastern theatre. The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal from the disputed area except Aksai chin.
1965 War and Tashkent Agreement
Fighting broke out again in 1965, but a ceasefire was established that September. Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Pakistani President, M Ayub Khan, signed the Tashkent agreement on January 1, 1966.
They resolved to try to end the dispute, but the death of Mr Shastri and the rise of Gen Yahya Khan in Pakistan resulted in a stalemate.
1971 War and Simla Agreement
In 1971 third war, resulting in the formation of the independent nation of Bangladesh (formerly known as East Pakistan). A war had broken out in East Pakistan in March 1971, and soon India was faced with a million refugees. India declared war on December 3, 1971, after Pakistani Air Force planes struck Indian airfields in the Western sector. Two weeks later, the Indian army marched into Dhaka and the Pakistanis surrendered. In the Western sector, the Indians managed to blockade the port city of Karachi and were 50 km into Pakistani territory when a ceasefire was reached.
In 1972 Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, her Pakistani opposite number (and father of Benazir Bhutto, a later Pakistani premier), signed the Simla Agreement, which reiterated the promises made in Tashkent.
The two sides once again agreed to resolve the issue peacefully, as domestic issues dominated.
Both India and Pakistan had other important domestic problems which kept Kashmir on the back-burner. In 1975 Indira Gandhi declared a state of national emergency, but she was defeated in the 1978 general elections.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was overthrown and hanged in 1977; Pakistan reverted to military dictatorship under Gen Zia ul Haq.
The balance of influence had decisively tilted in Pakistan’s favor by the late 1980s, with people’s sympathy no longer with the Indian union as it had been in 1947-48 and 1965.
Mrs. Gandhi’s attempts to install puppet governments in state capitals, manipulating the democratic process in the state legislatures, deeply angered the Kashmiris.
Why has there been so much violence been in Indian-administered Kashmir?
Although in recent years violence in Indian-administered Kashmir has abated, the causes of the insurgency have not gone away. Put simply, many people in the territory – especially in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley – do not want it to be governed by India. They would prefer to be either independent or part of Pakistan. The population of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir is over 60% Muslim, making it the only state within India where Muslims are in the majority.
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