Jammu and Kashmir Territorial Dispute

Jammu/Kashmir, Asia

Jammu and Kashmir have been impacted by conflict since 1947. This has been due to the British involvement in splitting India into two secular states. Ultimately, this decision divided Pakistan into a Muslim-majority state and India into a Hindu-majority state. Kashmir has a large percentage of Muslims however they are represented under an Indian government with Hindu values and beliefs.

This lack of representation and different beliefs has caused turmoil between the leadership and the large Muslim population. The people of Kashmir wish to become an independent state or join Pakistan. This unresolved conflict has continued for decades, resulting in dangerous border skirmishes and violence.

When the conflict began, India requested the United Nations intervene. As peace could not be agreed upon, the UN recommended that a ceasefire line be established in January 1949, which Pakistan signed. This resulted in the land becoming divided.

Although the USA is not part of the territorial dispute, ex-President Trump offered to mediate the conflict. Pakistan welcomed this intervention however India’s foreign ministry consistently rejected Trump’s offer.

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

Arundhati Roy, Indian Author

Key Facts


People killed

1.5 million

People displaced

Population of

12.55 million

Religion: Over 60% of the population are Muslim. This is followed by a Hindu population.

Article 370: A law that exempted Muslims in Kashmir from the Indian constitution since 1947. This was later scrapped by India.

Article 35A: Continued many of the original rules of Article 370. However, this also forbids women from buying property if they marry outside of Kashmir.

The Key Actors

Timeline of the crisis

The State of Jammu and Kashmir was formed under the Treaty of Amristar. Maharaja Gulab Singh buys the Kashmir Valley from the East India Company and adds it to Jammu and Ladakh which was already underneath his rule.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British took place. This was the First Indian War of Independence. This was highly unsuccessful for the Indians against the British East India Company.

The movement against the Maharaja in Kashmir begins but is suppressed by State forces.

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.

India approaches the United Nations Security Council about the Kashmir dispute.

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.

The Indian constitution comes into power. Due to this, Article 1 defines Jammu and Kashmir as a state of India.

First election since becoming internally autonomous is held and Sheikh Abdullah overwhelmingly wins, in what is thought to be a rigged election.

Kashmiri leaders discuss their relationship with the union of India in the Jammu and Kashmir constituent assembly. This results in a comprehensive Delhi Agreement which defined the affiliation of the state with the union.

The pro-Indian authorities dismiss and arrest Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the governing National Conference. This took place after he takes a pro-referendum position and postpones official accession to India. A new Jammu and Kashmir administration ratifies accession to India.

Jammu and Kashmir formally become part of the Indian Union.

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.

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.

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.

Guerrilla activity, supported by Pakistan, continues.

A Third War, lasting 13 days, occurs and ends with East-Pakistan earning independence and becoming Bangladesh.

The Simla Agreement is signed and declares that the Kashmir dispute will be peacefully settled and both sides will honour the line of control.

India successfully tests its first nuclear bomb, which it names “Smiling Buddha”.

Sheikh Abdullah becomes chief minister, and his electoral dynasty continues to dominate the National Conference and state after his death in 1982.

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.

Disputed state elections in Jammu and Kashmir give motivation to a pro-independence insurgency centred around the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). India accuses Pakistan of inciting the rebellion by posting fighters across the Line of Control, however Pakistan denies this.

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.

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.

Both sides agree to give the other side warning of any military action.

India and Pakistan sign an agreement to ban the use of chemical weapons.

India successfully conducts five nuclear tests, to which Pakistan responds with six nuclear tests. International sanctions are placed on both countries.

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.

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).

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.

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

The Indian and Pakistani relationship calms after decades of instability. Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh meets with Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf.

India withdraws some of its troops from Jammu and Kashmir after a cooling of tensions with Pakistan in the region.

Amnesty International and organisations report of gross human rights violations from India. This included systematic arrests, detentions, enforced curfews, rape and torture. India denied any of this took place and claimed and states it is controlling terrorism.

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.

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.

Conflict between Indian and Pakistani forces resume across the Line of Control as tensions rise.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah overlooked 1,200 stone pelters. The Indian human rights commission finds 2,000 unmarked graves near the line of control.

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.

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.

The BJP forms a government in Jammu and Kashmir with People’s Democratic Party for the first time.

The government cracks down on the press, with local forces destroying and seizing newspapers.

India sends in an extra 2000 troops to control the people of Kashmir.

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.

The curfew was finally lifted across all of the Kashmir region.

Seven Pakistani soldiers are killed in a firefight at the Line of Control.

The 70th year of modern dispute of the territorial dispute sees a total of nearly 100,000 peoples missing or dead. The UN Organization of Islamic Cooperation calls for a referendum, but the proposal is rejected by New Delhi.

The body of Kashmiri separatist militant Sameer Tiger is found riddled with gun wounds. The body is claimed by separatists as an asset.

8 Indian and 4 Pakistani civilians are killed during a shootout between Indian and Pakistani soldiers at Kashmir border posts.

The Governor Satya Pal Malik dissipates the legislative assembly.

The central rule declared in Jammu and Kashmir.

A vehicle loaded with explosives crashed into an Indian paramilitary convoy, which killed 40 people. India carried out retributive strikes on terror camps across the line of control in Pakistan’s Balakot region. An Indian Air Force pilot captured by Pakistan was later freed.

The BJP returns to power for their second term in India.

The U.S. president Donald Trump offers to mediate the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.

The Indian government takes away the special status that was held by the Jammu and Kashmir state which gave it significant autonomy.

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