The disputed areas of the region of Kashmir. India claims the entire erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir based on an instrument of accession signed in 1947. Pakistan claims all areas of the erstwhile state except for those claimed by China. China claims the Shaksam Valley and Aksai Chin. The Kashmir conflict is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the northwestern most region of South Asia. India claims the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir and as of 2010, administers approximately 43% of the region, including most of Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and the Siachen Glacier. India's claim is contested by Pakistan, which controls approximately 37% of Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir and the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. India has officially stated that it believes that Kashmir is an integral part of India, though the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, stated after the 2010 Kashmir Unrest that his government is willing to grant autonomy within the purview of Indian constitution to Kashmir if there is consensus on this issue. Pakistan says that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. China states that Aksai Chin is a part of China and does not recognize the addition of Aksai Chin to the Kashmir region. Certain Kashmiri independence groups believe that Kashmir should be independent of both India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought at least three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947, 1965 and 1999. India and Pakistan have also been involved in several skirmishes over the Siachen Glacier. Since 1987, a disputed State election has resulted in some of the state's legislative assembly forming militant wings, creating a catalyst for insurgency. The Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been the site of conflict between the Indian Armed Forces, militants, and separatists. India has furnished documentary evidence to the United Nations that these militants are supported by Pakistan, leading to a ban on some terrorist organizations, which Pakistan has yet to enforce. The turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in thousands of deaths, but has become less deadly in recent years. There have been protest movements in Indian Administered Kashmir since 1989. The movements were created to voice Kashmir's disputes and grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military. Elections held in 2008 were generally regarded as fair by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, had a high voter turnout in spite of calls by militants for a boycott, and led to the pro-India Jammu & Kashmir National Conference forming the government in the state. Early history
According to folk etymology, the name "Kashmir" means "desiccated land" (from the Sanskrit: Ka = water and shimeera = desiccate). In the Rajatarangini, a history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in the mid-12th century, it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake. According to Hindu mythology, the lake was drained by the saptarishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). When Kashmir had been drained, Kashyapa asked Brahmans to settle there. This is still the local tradition, and in the existing physical condition of the country, we may see some ground for the story which has taken this form. The name of Kashyapa is by history and tradition connected with the draining of the lake, and the chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley was called Kashyapa-pura.
Prior to 1815 the area now known as "Jammu and Kashmir" comprised 22 small independent states (16 Hindu and 6 Muslim) carved out of territories controlled by the Afghanistan Amir (King) combined with...