Since the subcontinent’s partition in 1947, the groundwork has been prepared for the long-running violence in and around the Jammu and Kashmir regions, which continues to this day. India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the region’s borders, and each state continues to maintain rights over its whole territory. China also controls a sizable section of the disputed territory. Tensions and unsolved grievances stemming from these ancient issues continue to drive larger regional instability and hamper regional demilitarization initiatives.
To comprehend this battle, it is necessary to go back into the region’s history. India and Pakistan were on the verge of independence from the British in August 1947. The British, commanded by then-Governor-General Louis Mountbatten, partitioned the British Indian Empire into India and Pakistan. The British India Empire was made up of a number of princely states (states that were allegiant to the British but were ruled by a king) as well as nations that were directly ruled by the British. At the time of partition, princely kingdoms had the option of deciding whether to yield to India or Pakistan. “Typically, geographical context and collective interests, et cetera will be the components to be addressed,” says Mountbatten. Generally, Muslim-majority states went to Pakistan, whereas Hindu-majority states went to India, despite the fact that India was a secular republic.
Kashmir, on the other hand, was an outlier. While the bulk of the people was Muslim, the king, Maharaja Hari Singh, was Hindu. However, this was not the only instance of its kind. Junagadh was likewise confronted with such a dilemma. The monarch of Junagadh was a Muslim who wanted to join Pakistan despite his people’s preferences. Junagadh was proposed to India by Mountbatten not only because it was a densely inhabited state, but also because it was totally encircled by India. The king, however, succumbed to Pakistan. Enraged, India seized Junagadh under the guise that Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammed Ali Jinnah had warned that Hindus and Muslims could not coexist in one country and that they dreaded rioting.
When it came to the territory of Kashmir, however, things went differently. Despite the fact that Kashmir was a Muslim majority state ruled by a Hindu, Mountbatten advocated that it be annexed by India. This has to do with India’s secularism. However, Hari Singh determined that Kashmir would remain independent, at least for the time being, since he felt that Kashmiri Muslims would be dissatisfied with India, while Hindus and Sikhs would be dissatisfied with Pakistan. During this era of ambivalence in Kashmir, there were eruptions of unrest against the monarch in some regions. As a result, Pakistani tribesmen and militia crossed into Kashmir in an effort to seize the city of Srinagar while robbing and ravaging the region. Hari Singh begged India to help him fight the chaos, and in doing so, he gave Kashmir to India. This sparked the First Indo-Pakistani War, also known as the First Kashmir War, between Indian forces and Pakistani tribesmen. Pakistani military forces entered the conflict in 1948. Both sides reinforced their positions in Kashmir by the end of 1948. A truce was agreed upon, and a line of control (LOC) was established. India retained nearly two-thirds of Kashmir, while Pakistan gained control of one-third of the province. This was the first of several wars and confrontations between these two countries over Kashmir.
However, the LOC’s formation in 1948 proved insufficient. The United Nations then acted as a go-between. The Security Council voted and adopted Resolution 47 on April 21, 1948. A five-member panel (formed by Resolution 39) was to go to the Indian subcontinent to assist India and Pakistan in establishing peace in Kashmir. Furthermore, the commission was expected to assist these nations in preparing for a referendum on Kashmir’s accession.
Pakistan now holds the northwest section, India the middle and southern portions, and the People’s Republic of China the northeastern half. Kashmir has become a strongly militarized zone, and it has become one of the world’s finest instances of mountain warfare. The United Nations has accused Indian soldiers of perpetrating several human rights breaches in the country, including shooting on protestors and denying persons imprisoned due process. The Indian administration has dismissed these complaints as part of a territorial border dispute, neglecting the real problems of the people of Kashmir. As a result, militant organizations in the region exploit this dissatisfaction, persuading young people to use violence in their pursuit of Kashmir’s independence.
As a result, unrest is always boiling in Kashmir, and emotions fluctuate, occasionally exploding into open bloodshed, as was recently the case. One of the world’s longest-running conflicts is the struggle in Kashmir.
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“Kashmir: Why India and Pakistan Fight over It.” BBC News. August 08, 2019. Accessed January 15, 2022. https://www.bbc.com/news/10537286.
“Why India and Pakistan Are Fighting Over Kashmir Again.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed January 15, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/why-india-and-pakistan-are-fighting-over-kashmir-again.
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