Asha Karmakar: India and Pakistan – Kashmir ConflictWhat is the conflict and who are the parties involved?The Kashmir conflict is an ongoing territorial dispute since 1947 between the countries of Pakistan and India over the possession of the region of Kashmir. The conflict began during the partition of India when the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir chose to not join Pakistan or India and instead remain neutral for the time being. Later, he signed the Instrument of Accession, acceding Kashmir to India after a Pakistani invasion, and war broke out between the two countries (BBC News, 2017). The region of Kashmir is located along the northern borders of both Pakistan and India. It is divided into territories controlled by India, Pakistan, and China.
There have been two Indo-Pakistani wars over Kashmir and much protesting and violence. However, many Kashmiris do not want to join India or Pakistan, calling for independence instead (BBC News, 2016). 2. Is this a territorial, religious, racial, or ethnic conflict? Combination? Explain.
The Kashmir conflict is primarily a territorial conflict with religion playing a significant role. The region of Kashmir is mainly divided into the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen Glacier, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, and Aksai Chin. The Pakistan-administered territories of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir make up the northwestern portion, the Indian-administered southeastern portion includes the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and Siachen Glacier, and the easternmost portion is Chinese-administered Aksai Chin (Central Intelligence Agency, 2018).
China also controls the Trans-Karakoram Tract, a strip of land along the northeastern border of Kashmir that India claims Pakistan illegally ceded to China. The Pakistan-administered region and Indian-administered region are separated by the de facto Line of Control. The majority of people living in Jammu and Kashmir are Muslim. Because of this, they prefer to either be part of Pakistan (a predominantly Muslim country) or gain independence (CNN, 2010). 3. Where is the conflict occurring? How does the location affect the conflict?The conflict is occurring in the Kashmir region, which borders China, India, and Pakistan.
Location greatly affects this conflict because each country administers the part of the Kashmir region that borders that country. For example, China administers the portion that borders China (Aksai Chin), Pakistan administers the northwestern portion bordering Pakistan, and India administers the southeastern portion bordering India. The region is divided in this fashion because it is easier for each country to maintain control of the area that is closest to itself, especially for military purposes (CNN, 2017). 4. What is the cause of the disagreement? The Kashmir conflict originated in 1947 during the partition of India into the states of Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. According to the Indian Independence Act, the region of Kashmir was allowed to choose if it wanted to join Pakistan or India. After Pakistan invaded Kashmir and attempted to annex the region, the Hindu ruler of the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, Hari Singh, chose to accede to India to receive its protection, and war broke out between the two countries over the region (BBC, 2017).
Pakistan claims that when Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, he did not take into account the wishes of those living in the region and that Kashmir should join Pakistan due to its Muslim-majority population. 5. How long has the disagreement occurred?The Kashmir conflict began in 1947 and has continued for 70 years. It began between India and Pakistan when the British partitioned India and China joined in later. India and Pakistan have not yet negotiated a resolution for this conflict (BBC, 2017). 6. How has the dispute been carried out? In 1948, India brought up the conflict in the United Nations Security Council, after which the council decided to partition Kashmir into separate regions that were allocated to each country. China entered the conflict in the 1950s when it occupied eastern Kashmir, and claimed the territory of Aksai Chin after a brief war with India in 1962.
In 1965, an Indo-Pakistani war took place and quickly ended in a ceasefire. Another Indo-Pakistani war took place 6 years later where India won, and the 1972 Simla Agreement was signed between the two countries, establishing the Line of Control. The Line of Control divides Kashmir into Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Indian-administered Kashmir.
In 1987, Islamic militants in Indian-administered Kashmir began expressing their desire for independence, causing Indian forces to crack down harder on the region. The dispute continues to this day with clashes, killings, and violence along the border between the two countries (BBC, 2017). 7. What impact has this conflict had on the region and people?This lengthy conflict between India and Pakistan has caused much suffering from violence for those who live in the Kashmir region, as many civilians get caught in the crossfire.
Over 47,000 have died as a result of the conflict. Because many living in Jammu and Kashmir (Indian-controlled area of Kashmir) disapprove being part of India and began calling for independence in 1990, to keep them in control, the Indian government passed the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) allowing the Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir to detain, seize property from civilians, and perform other actions that would otherwise be opposed in a democratic state (Foreign Policy, 2014). The Indian army sometimes abuses their power, conducting human rights abuses and getting away with it. Also, After the death of Islamic militant Burhan Wani, there have been multiple protests where young men hurl rocks at Indian forces, who in return fire “non-lethal” pellets into the crowd, severely injuring, blinding, and killing many innocent people (Reuters, 2017). 8. What is the scale of the conflict? The Kashmir conflict is limited to just the region of Kashmir and its bordering countries: China, India, and Pakistan. The people mainly affected by this conflict are Kashmiris, Indian troops, and Pakistani troops (BBC, 2017).
9. Why does the disagreement continue and are there any contrary opinions?India states that the Kashmir region belongs to India because the Maharaja, or local ruler, of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, signed the Instrument of Accession, legally acceding it to India. Pakistan argues that the Instrument of Accession is fraudulent and that Kashmir should belong to them because like Pakistan, the majority of the population (about 75%) of Kashmir is Muslim, and their Muslim brethren should join them rather than being a minority in Hindu-majority India (NPR, 2008). 10. What is the world response? In 1948, India raised the issue of Kashmir in the UN Security Council. Resolution 47 stated that the people of Kashmir must vote on which country they want to be affiliated with.
It also called for India to minimize its military presence and for Pakistan to remove its troops from the area. However, Pakistan refused to comply, so a ceasefire was put into place and Kashmir was divided and allocated to each country. In 1951, after a popular vote in Jammu and Kashmir supported accession to India, India deemed the UN’s referendum unnecessary. However, the UN stated that the vote must include people all throughout Kashmir, and not just those in the Indian-administered region (BBC, 2017). There are also multiple NGOs such as social welfare, disaster relief, and child education organizations helping those living in the troubled region.