The Kashmir issue is very controversial in the South Asian region as well as in the global level. One of the reasons for the lack of regional integration in South Asia is the Kashmir issue.
In this post I’ll discuss all the main points that you should know about the Kashmir issue.
What is Kashmir?
Kashmir is a region situated in the Indian subcontinent, which is diversified ethnically and geographically.
Today, the northern and western parts of the Kashmir ( Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan) are controlled by Pakistan while Southern and Southeastern parts (Jammu kashmir) are controlled by India.
The historical background of the Kashmir issue goes back to the colonial rule in British Raj. In the 17th century until the 20th century, most of the parts in the Indian subcontinent were under the British control.
Indians protested against British for their Independence and had a strong independence movement which had the ultimate aim to a “Swaraj” (self-control). However, most of the Muslims in the Independence movement wanted a separate state for themselves. As the result of that, Muslims together with Muhammad ali Jinnah entered into a separate path requesting a separate Muslim state.
The tensions between Hindus and Muslims were increased and British administration decided to grant independence for India due to the fear of a civil war. In 1947 India got the independence while establishing a separate Muslim state known as Pakistan.
After the independence, more than 550 princely states in India had to decide whether they wanted to join India or Pakistan or remain independent.
However, the princely state Jammu and Kashmir, which had a Muslim majority and goverened by a Hindu ruler known as Maharaja Hari Singh, decided to remain independent. But Maharaja Hari Singh signed a standstill agreement with Pakistan that allows Kashmiris to trade and travel with Pakistan.
The 1947 war was the first war between India and Pakistan.
As for many sources, Pakistan pressured Kashmir to be its part. As a result, pro Pakistani rebels funded by Pakistan started violence in Jammu and Kashmir. This violence was the major reason for the 1947 war.
Maharaja hari Singh requested military assistance from India against Pakistan. However India agreed to help under the condition that Kashmir should join India. As a result of that, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of accession with India that aligned Kashmir with the Indian Administration.
With this agreement, India entered the war with Pakistan and it ended with the mediation of the United Nations.
Under the mediation of the UN, the Line of Control was established under the condition of India and Pakistan should administer each part of the Kashmir until a referendum could be held. But still in today, the promised referendum was not held.
The 1965 war was the second war between India and Pakistan regarding the Kashmir region. The reason for the war was the Operation Gibralter initiated by Pakistan to Infiltrate the Jammu and Kashmir and start a rebellion.
The hostilities ended with the UN mediation ceasefire and the diplomatic intervention of Soviet Union.
To establish peace, the Tashkent agreement were signed between India and Pakistan.
The 1971 war was the third war between two neighbours. The major reason for this issue was the Bangladesh Liberation war.
Pakistan consisted of East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (present Pakistan). Due to many social, political and economical differences, East Pakistan wanted independence from West Pakistan.
India entered the war between West Pakistan and East Pakistan to support East Pakistan. This war expanded into the global level with the support of the USA and China to Pakistan and Russian support for India and East Pakistan.
However, India and Pakistan signed Shimla Agreement to settle their differences through peaceful and bilateral negotiations.
The 1999 war also known as “Kargil war” was between India and Pakistan in the Kargil District administered by India. Pakistan troops occupied many areas in the kargil district and India responded by military attacks to regain its territory.
Due to the military pressure and international responses, Pakistan was forced to withdraw its troops from Kargil.
Consequences of the issue
There are many negative consequences of the Kashmir issue such as lack of regional integration, slowdown of SAARC, external threats from the major powers, Human rights abuses and terrorism.
In my point of view, this conflict should be resolved through bilateral negotiations. Even in recent years, there were many debatable incidents between two countries. Both neighbours should focus on their economic, social advancements domestically and regionally. Also, two countries should follow the recommendations of the respective International organizations regarding the Kashmir issue.