Jammu and Kashmir Territorial Dispute


“In Kashmir when we wake up and say ‘Good Morning’ what we really mean is ‘Good Mourning.”
Arundhati Roy

 

 

                       Facts:

      Where:

               Jammu and Kashmir region of India,                  Pakistan and China

      Population:

               12.55 million

      Deaths:

               Between 50,000 and 100,000

      Refugees/Displaced People:

               More than 1.5 million

      Combatants:

               Indian Army

               Various militant groups supported                     by Pakistan

 

                 Overview

Conflict in the Jammu and Kashmir region has been ongoing since 1947, when British India became two secular states, Pakistan (Muslim majority) and India (Hindu majority). Kashmir is a Muslim majority region whose leader chose to join India rather than Pakistan, which was widely unpopular with the Kashmiri population. The people of Kashmir still wish to either become independent or accede to Pakistan. The conflict is unresolved and neither side looks like budging on the issue, while deadly border skirmishes continue.

                 Key Actors:

  • Pakistan is fighting for control of the Jammu and Kashmir region, nearly 40% of which is currently under their control.
  • India wants to maintain control of the Jammu and Kashmir region. They currently administer nearly half of the disputed territory.
  • Various rebel groups in Jammu and Kashmir are fighting for either independence or secession to Pakistan. Many of these groups are supported by Pakistan
  • China claims and administers a small part of the disputed territory. It claims that this is not part of the Jammu and Kashmir region. China has not been a major player in this conflict, but their presence is significant to the balance of power in the region.

 

                                                 Timeline:

  • 1947 – After ruling India since 1858, Britain partitions the Indian subcontinent into Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.
    • The ruler (or Maharaja) of each state is given the choice to accede to either India or Pakistan and the Hindu ruler of Kashmir decides to join India, despite Kashmir’s Muslim majority.
    • The Muslim population of Jammu and Kashmir protest this decision but become victims of massacres carried out by Hindu and Sikh civilians, with the support of state forces.
    • Kashmir becomes a disputed territory and Pakistani troops invade the region. India accepts the accession of Jammu and Kashmir, provisional until a plebiscite is held.
    • India demands the withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the region before this plebiscite is held. However, Pakistan refuses to withdraw its troops because they fear that a plebiscite will not be fair with Indian troops present.
    • Pakistan demands that both sides withdraw troops simultaneously but India refuses, leading to the First Kashmir War.
  • 1948  India approaches the United Nations Security Council about the Kashmir dispute.
  • 1949 – The First Kashmir War ends and a ceasefire line is established between Northern Kashmir, controlled by Pakistan and the rest of the region, controlled by India. The United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan states that the fate of Kashmir will be decided upon a plebiscite. Azad Jammu and Kashmir, which is controlled by Pakistan, is given some autonomy.
  • 1951  First election since becoming internally autonomous is held and Sheikh Abdullah overwhelmingly wins, in what is thought to be a rigged election.
  • 1956/57  Jammu and Kashmir formally become part of the Indian Union.
  • Oct 1962 – Nov 1962  Sino-Indian War over a border dispute in Ladakh, an area within the Jammu and Kashmir Region. China gains control over a small part of Northeast Jammu and Kashmir Region.
  • 1963 The foreign minister of India agrees that the Kashmir territory may be adjusted, while his Pakistani counterpart concedes that it may be more productive to consider options outside of a plebiscite to solve the territorial dispute in Jammu and Kashmir. However, no agreement is met.
  • 1965  A second war breaks out between India and Pakistan, this time in the state of Gujarat. Pakistani troops enter Indian-controlled Kashmir and the war escalates. A ceasefire is agreed upon by both sides, through UN mediation, and the war ends with India taking some of Pakistan’s territory and Pakistan taking control of some of India’s territory.
  • 1966  Guerrilla activity, supported by Pakistan, continues.
  • 1971  A Third War, lasting 13 days, occurs and ends with East-Pakistan earning independence and becoming Bangladesh.
  • 1972  The Simla Agreement is signed and declares that the Kashmir dispute will be peacefully settled and both sides will honour the line of control.
  • 1974 –India successfully tests its first nuclear bomb, which it names “Smiling Buddha”.
  • 1984 – Conflict in the Siachen Glacier, a strategic area to both India and Pakistan, occurs. It was left undefined in the 1972 Simla agreements’ line of control.
  • 1988 – India and Pakistan sign the Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement. Protests erupt in Kashmir Valley, which lead to a curfew being imposed. After the end of war in Afghanistan, Pakistan increases support for militants in Kashmir.
  • 1990 – 100 unarmed protestors are killed by the Indian army at Gawkadal Bridge. Demonstrations erupt on the streets of Sringar and the Kashmiri people demand a plebiscite.
    • Less than a month later, forty people are killed by police when one million protestors peacefully marched the streets of Srinagar.
    • Much of the minority Hindu population flee the Jammu and Kashmir region in fear as militant groups grow.
    • Many militants go to Pakistan for training before returning to Kashmir to re-join the insurgency.
  • 1991 – Both sides agree to give the other side warning of any military action.
  • 1992 – India and Pakistan sign an agreement to ban the use of chemical weapons.
  • 1998 – India successfully conducts five nuclear tests, to which Pakistan responds with six nuclear tests. International sanctions are placed on both countries.
  • 1999 – The Lahore Declaration is signed by both India and Pakistan. Conflict resumes in Kargil as Pakistani forces join local militants in occupation of the Indian territory.
    • Indian forces push them back to the Pakistani side of the Line of Control.
    • General Pervez Musharraf assumes the position of Pakistani President through a military coup ousting Nawaz Sharif.
  • 2001 – Both India and Pakistan station troops along their borders, bringing the threat of war or a nuclear stand-off. Troops are later withdrawn with the help of international mediation, after diplomatic talks break down between the Pakistani President (Pervez Musharraf) and Indian Prime Minister (Atal Behari Vajpayee).
  • 2002 – Osama Bin Laden writes a “Letter to American People”, stating that America’s support for India in the Kashmir dispute is one example of why he opposes them. Throughout the 2000s Al-Qaeda were thought to be encouraging conflict in the Jammu and Kashmir region, predominantly in support of Pakistan.
  • 2003 – At the UN General Assembly, President Pervez Musharraf requests a ceasefire and an easing of tensions. Leaders of both countries come to a formal agreement regarding this.
  • 2006 – India withdraws some of its troops from Jammu and Kashmir after a cooling of tensions with Pakistan in the region.
  • 2008 – Pakistan and India agree to multiple Confidence Building Measures (CBM’s). But later, the Indian embassy in Kabul is bombed and India blames Pakistan.
    • The countries agree to multiple new trade routes across the Line of Control.
  • November, 2008 – there are multiple attacks by gunmen across significant Indian sites, which leave over 160 people dead. Talks between India and Pakistan break down after the attacks.
  • 2010 – Conflict between Indian and Pakistani forces resume across the Line of Control as tensions rise.
  • 2013 – Leaders from each side accuse the other of breaking the ceasefire and initiating violence. They meet at the UN General Assembly and agree to ease tensions.
  • 2014 – A Pakistani official states that the territorial dispute in Kashmir should be resolved through diplomatic processes in line with what the Kashmiri people want and so the region can enjoy long term peace. The leaders of India and Pakistan meet and agree to re-open bilateral talks to resolve the issue.
  • 9 July, 2016 – During a large-scale protest following the death of Burhan Wani, a local militant leader, 11 people are killed and 120 injured. This leads to a curfew being put in place across most of the Indian-administered territory.
  • 16 July, 2016 – The government cracks down on the press, with local forces destroying and seizing newspapers.
  • 17 July, 2016 – India sends in an extra 2000 troops to control the people of Kashmir.
  • 31 August, 2016 – The curfew is lifted in most parts of Kashmir but schools, shops and banks remain closed with mobile and internet services shut down.
    • The curfew was reinstated in any parts of the Kashmir region over the next few days.
  • September, 2016 – An assault on an Indian base in Kashmir kills 18 soldiers, which India profusely blames Pakistan for.
  • 25 September, 2016 – The curfew was finally lifted across all of the Kashmir region.
  • November, 2016 – Seven Pakistani soldiers are killed in a firefight at the Line of Control.
  • July, 2017 – One year on from Burhan Wani’s death, a wave of violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir are carried out in defiance of Indian control.
    • Seven Hindu pilgrims are killed and 16 injured by local militants in an act of unprovoked violence.
  • April, 2017 – A by-election was held in for the Srinagar seat in parliament, which separatists tried to boycott with an outbreak of violence on election day.
  • August, 2017 – Two Indian troops and three militants die in a small border skirmish.

 

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