Political Science 123
17 November 2012
Kashmir Conflict (India and Pakistan)
The Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan dates back to the independence of both countries in 1947. The territory of Kashmir was at the time mostly Muslim but with a Hindu ruler, and it was unclear whether Kashmir would join with Pakistan or India. Eventually Kashmir would join India which led to a dispute between India and Pakistan with both claiming that Kashmir belongs to them. Both Pakistan and India went to war briefly over the dispute of Kashmir. The war ended with Kashmir being divided into sections controlled by both countries. After the war under UN supervision, a ceasefire line was agreed upon by both countries, which has been renamed the “Line of Control” (Insight on Conflict). About one-third of Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan, with the rest of Kashmir being controlled by India, Including a region known as the Kashmir Valley (Insight on Conflict) which has a significant Muslim population.
The conflict began around the same time India and Pakistan gained Independence from Great Britain in 1947. Muslim revolutionary forces from the western region of Kashmir and Pakistani nationalists began their advancement into other Kashmir areas based on rumors that the ruler of Kashmir who was a Hindu was planning to annex Kashmir with India (Insight on Conflict). India at this time could not militarily intervene in Kashmir because of the “Standstill Agreement” (Insight on Conflict) with Pakistan, which was an agreement of non-intervention; furthermore, the ruler of Kashmir must relinquish power if India is to become involved. The ruler of Kashmir ultimately gave up power and the Indian army moved in to force out the Pakistani forces and began occupying the remaining territories of Kashmir, despite Pakistani calls for a referendum and the Muslim majority in Kashmir (Insight on Conflict). The war between Pakistan and India continued into 1948 when finally India sought out the UN Security Council to participate in securing a ceasefire between India and Pakistan. A ceasefire was passed which required Pakistan to withdraw all their troops from Kashmir, and it allowed India to keep a minimum amount of forces in Kashmir (Insight on Conflict). The ceasefire was unfair to Pakistan because it had no active role in making decisions. The conditions of the ceasefire stated that the “final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations” (Insight on Conflict). Pakistan refused to withdraw its troops from the region leading to the beginning of unrest and conflicts in the Kashmir region.
In 1965 conflict arose again between India and Pakistan. Throughout the rest of the 20th century heavy fighting and small skirmishes have been prevalent in Kashmir. In 1999 insurgents and Pakistani soldier infiltrated Kashmir. Taking advantage of winter conditions, they managed to block off an important highway. By blocking this highway, further conflict erupted once more between Pakistani forces and Indian forces. At the time both Pakistan and India possessed nuclear weapons and the international community feared this could lead to a nuclear holocaust between the two countries. The United States intervened in fear of a nuclear conflict and pressured Pakistan to retreat (Insight on Conflict).
To this day the territorial dispute of Kashmir has lasted for more than 6 decades. After the insurgency began in 1989, more than 60,000 people have died (NY Times). In present day Kashmir, there is a huge military presence from both sides. Violence decreased in 2004 during a failed peace process but picked up again in 2009. There are many factors as to why this conflict is ongoing such as the “deeply entrenched views each side hold; the...
Cited: “Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance.” Arms Control Association. Nov. 2012. 19 Nov 2012.
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