Jammu and Kashmir Territorial Dispute

Jammu/Kashmir, Asia

In August of 1947, the British Raj, i.e. Crown rule in India was dissolved resulting in the partition of India into two states; Republic of India and Republic of Pakistan (established as Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1956). The partition was done based on the religious lines, whereby majority Hindu areas were part of India and majority Muslim regions were ultimately Pakistan.

The territorial dispute over the Jammu and Kashmir region began when the maharaja (local ruler), Hari Singh, decided to join India although the region was classified as Muslim majority. As a result of Hari Singh’s engagement with India, a war erupted between India and Pakistan. Soon thereafter, the United Nations recommended holding a plebiscite to settle the dispute of whether the Jammu and Kashmir region would join India or Pakistan. Though, India and Pakistan have since not agreed to a deal to demilitarize the region.

In July of 1949, the two states agreed to a ceasefire and establish what is now called a Line of Control (LoC), as recommended by the United Nation. This resulted in the division of the region into Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir (aka Azad Jammu and Kashmir).

Since 1947, the two South Asian states have fought three wars as a result of this territorial dispute. First in 1947, soon after the British departed, the second in 1965 and then in 1999. Today, Delhi and Islamabad both claim Kashmir in full, but control only parts of its territories.

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

The Situation


  • Territorial Dispute, Human Rights Violations

Adviser’s suggestions:

When Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew the dividing lines based on religious lines, Pakistan was in de facto control, thus the local rules decision to join India was invalid because even till this day Kashmir has a Muslim majority population.

However, in an attempt to resolve this territorial dispute in the modern day, UN Security Council Resolution 47 must be adhered to by India and Pakistan. Moreover, the Kashmiri people must be given an option to self-determine as promised in Article I of the UN Charter.

Similar Crises:

  • Aegean Sea dispute, Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, Kalapani Territory dispute, Atacama corridor


With constant violence in both parts of Kashmir (India administered and Pakistan administered) and a heightened threat of terrorist activity by Pakistan-based militant groups, tensions and concerns over a serious military confrontation between nuclear-armed neighbours remain high. A new leader has emerged for the resistance, after Syed Ali Geelani’s death. However, the new leader, Masarat Bhat, is a extremist who is backed by the Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI). For this reason, India will not take his leadership seriously and will most likely not consider a dialog with the resistance movement.

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.

Kashmir is put under complete curfew and all forms of communication is suspended. The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and local party leaders are detained. The streets of Srinagar remain empty as Section 144 is imposed forbidding any gathering.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Gueterres urges India and Pakistan to maintain peace and practice restraint. Envoys of several countries are briefed by the foreign ministry on the decision. An emphasis is given to assert that the decision was made to promote economic development, social justice and good governance at the valley.

The main opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian National Congress vehemently opposes the bill whereas surprisingly, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by charismatic Dalit (formerly known as untouchables) leader Mayawati, and anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party supports the decision. Communist party leaders slam the government, calling the revocation unconstitutional. Across India mixed reactions are being seen. The Kashmiri pandits who were forced out of the valley in the 1990s celebrates the revocation whereas students from top tier universities in the country protests against it.

The upper house of the parliament, the Rajya Sabha passes the contentious bill with 125 votes in favour.

The main opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian National Congress vehemently opposes the bill whereas surprisingly, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by charismatic Dalit (formerly known as untouchables) leader Mayawati, and anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party supports the decision. Communist party leaders slam the government, calling the revocation unconstitutional. Across India mixed reactions are being seen. The Kashmiri pandits who were forced out of the valley in the 1990s celebrates the revocation whereas students from top tier universities in the country protests against it.

Kashmir is put under complete curfew and all forms of communication is suspended. The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and local party leaders are detained. The streets of Srinagar remain empty as Section 144 is imposed forbidding any gathering.

Calling the decision illegal, protests erupt in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the rest of the country. Imran Khan, the Pakistani premier says that the move may lead to another war, highlighting how the BJP ideology is racist. Khan also requests international intervention.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Gueterres urges India and Pakistan to maintain peace and practice restraint. Envoys of several countries are briefed by the foreign ministry on the decision. An emphasis is given to assert that the decision was made to promote economic development, social justice and good governance at the valley.

The upper house of the parliament, the Rajya Sabha passes the contentious bill with 125 votes in favour.

The International Court of Justice calls on the Government of India to follow UNHCR’s recommendations, including respecting the right to self-determination of people of Jammu and Kashmir, and to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir. ICJ also condemns the government’s decision to revoke the Article 370.

Responding to India’s decision to revoke the special status given to J&K, the government of Pakistan announces a five point- plan that highlights the downgrade of its ties with India and the suspension of bilateral trade. The Indian envoy in Islamabad is also expelled.

District Magistrate, Sushma Chahan withdraws section 144 from the Jammu municipal limits. Talks about reopening of schools begin

Reports emerge about protests and violence in the Shoura area of the valley. The Ministry of Home Affairs, however denies the presence of any such incident

President Ram Nath Govind gives his assent to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

The people of Jammu and Kashmir offer Eid prayers amidst curfew and security control. Government of Pakistan urged the people of Pakistan to celebrate the festival in a ‘simple manner’ in order to show solidarity with the valley.

The apex court of India refuses to pass immediate directions on a plea for lifting several restrictions including the communication services in Jammu and Kashmir.

China asks for closed consultations on the Kashmir conflict with the United Nations Security Council

In Rajouri district of the valley, the police booked two men for their sensitive posts in social media.

India’s UN Representative, Syed Akbaruddin spoke out to Islamabad and said how Pakistan’s alarmist approach is misleading and that the abrogation of the Article 370 did not have any external ramification

A magistrate speaking to First Post on anonymity said that at least four thousand people were detained and arrested under the Public Safety Act, a controversial law that allows the state to arrest and imprison people for up to 2 years without trial.

In a factfinding report released by five Indian women who visited Kashmir from September 17- 21, it is revealed that Indian police and military are taking Kashmir teens away and torturing them. It is also reported that around 13,000 teenagers are detained in the valley since the revocation of the article.

In his UNGA speech, the president of Turkey, Erdogan calls for dialogue to solve the Kashmir conflict. The president says that the stability and prosperity of South Asia could not be separated from the Kashmir issue

In a meeting with Pakistani Premier Imran Khan in New York, US President Donald Trumps again offers to mediate the Kashmir conflict

In his UNGA speech, Imran Khan talks about bloodbath in Kashmir whereas Prime Minister Modi skips mentioning the conflict entirely in his speech.

Certain sections of Kashmir celebrated Imran Khan’s UNGA speech with firecrackers, hailing it as a step forward for the resolution of the conflict.

Malaysia joins Turkey and China in raising the Kashmir issue at 74th United Nations General Assembly, with its Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accusing India of “invading and occupying the country” of Jammu and Kashmir

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demands the ongoing “blockade must end” in Kashmir.

Calling the internet blockade, a government gag on local media, dozens of journalists protest at the Kashmir valley over the months of communication blackout.

US House panel asks India to end Kashmir lockdown

Chinese President Xi Jinping says he was watching the situation in disputed Kashmir and would support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests.

Access to post-paid mobile phones is restored in the valley.

At a sit-in protest in Pakistan administered Kashmir, around 32 activists of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front hold a hunger strike.

Three non-Kashmiris shot dead by suspected rebels and three alleged rebels killed by Indian troops in the region, in the deadliest day since autonomy loss

Just mere hours after restoration, text message services are blocked again in the valley. This happens after a truck driver is killed by rebels with his vehicle being set on fire. Indian government also arrests women activists in Kashmir.

Indian traders call for an unprecedented boycott of Malaysian palm oil after the remarks of the Malaysian prime minister on India at the UNGA. The Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad says he would not retract his criticism of New Delhi’s actions in disputed Kashmir.

Pakistan denies India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi permission to fly through its airspace due to “ongoing grave human rights violations” in Indian-administered Kashmir.

UN human rights office says it is extremely concerned that the population of India-administered Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights.

Taliban announced that they never had issues with India’s projects in Afghanistan but were opposing their support to the “puppet” government of Ashraf Ghani

Haqqani spokesperson provided that the media, especially in India, is spreading negative propaganda about us. This is spoiling the atmosphere. No Pakistani weapon was ever used in the war

Syed Ali Shah Geelani was symbol of Kashmir resistance. Geelani spearheaded Kashmir’s movement for right to self-determination and was a staunch proponent of merging with Pakistan

Authorities cut internet services and increased security patrols in India-administered Kashmir in an effort to curb protests following the death of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani

The Taliban have been unanimous in maintaining that they do not intend to get involved in the Indo-Pak tussle or the Kashmir issue

The 50-year-old incarcerated separatist leader was recently named as Syed Ali Geelani’s successor.

A week after Geelani’s demise on September 1 this year, Bhat’s name reappeared on social media, with many wondering whether he would succeed Geelani as the chairman of Tehreek e Hurriyat, a separatist party in the disputed territory. Almost a week later, the party did name Bhat as its new chief

Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod stated that Denmark was aligned with the view of the European Union and the United Nations in advocating for peaceful and diplomatic dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute

Erdogan’s repeated calls for the “Kashmir dispute” to be settled within the UN—despite the stated international position that the matter is a bilateral issue and should be resolved between India and Pakistan—have led to a flurry of tit-for-tat responses between India and Turkey

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will meet with Pakistani officials during her October 7-8 visit.

The Deputy Secretary of State will address Pakistan’s support of extremist groups in Kashmir

Pakistan has called on the United Nation’s Decolonisation Committee and the Security Council to take action to end India’s colonialization of Jammu and Kashmir and enable its people to exercise their right to self-determination.

The government of Dubai, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, recently inked an agreement with India to ramp up infrastructure investment in Jammu and Kashmir

President Dr Arif Alvi has said that the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people is the “only way to ensure peace in the region”.

AJK PMSardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi on Sunday said that regional peace was linked with the early resolution of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir was relatively routine. The visit seemed more like a break from his hectic schedule than something geared towards some major policy or political objective. 

A politician from the Bharratiya Janta Party, the right wing ruling party in India was booked for hate speech when he called on his supporters to “skin them alive” – a reference to the region’s Muslims and militants. The former legislator, Vickram Randhawa called for violence against the Kashmiris who were reported to be celebrating the Pakistani cricket team’s victory over India. 

A police officer and a local worker have been shot dead in the valley by suspected rebels in what is being called a targeted attack. Similar incidents have been reported in the region over the past month raising security concerns. 

The Indian forced killed five suspected rebels in the southern district of Jammu and Kashmir in a gun fight. The five were killed in two separate operations in the Kulgam district. The killings led to massive protests in the valley with the armed forces being accused of using civilians as ‘human shields’ in the dispute.

An inquiry has been initiated by the New-Delhi backed administration in the Kashmir valley after a gun battle killed four people including two civilians. The probe was announced shortly after the family of the deceased and local activists started a protest demanding the bodies of the civilians so that they can be buried as per Islamic traditions.

Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez has been arrested by India’s National Investigation Agency under a draconian terror law. The arrest happened after the top agency raided his office and residence for 15 hours in the city of Srinagar. Parvez is the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

The United Nations has raised concerns over the arrest of the Kashmiri Human rights activist Khurram Parvez and has called for his release to the Indian government. Parvez was arrested under a stringent terror law where one person can be detained for months without charge or trial. The UN rights body has also demanded amendment in the law to bring it in line with the international human rights law and standards.

Two police officers have been killed as suspected rebels ambushed a police bus in Indian-administered Kashmir, while about a dozen others were wounded. The incident took place after the Indian forces shot down two alleged rebels in the valley.

A gun battle  between Indian forces and rebels broke out in the Surankote area of Jammu region’s Poonch district which led to the death of one suspected rebel. 

An Indian panel has laid a controversial proposal that calls to redraw the electoral map of India administered Kashmir which has caused great anxiety and anger amongst the Muslims of the valley who have called the move to be great a betrayal and a step backward for the community.

Three militants and an alleged Pakistani infiltrator were killed in the Pulwama region of the valley. This is the fifth such anti-terror operation in as many days, and a total of eight rebels have been killed by the Indian army so far.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration detained Sajad Gul, a freelance journalist who contributes to the privately owned news portal The Kashmir Walla, from his home in the northern Bandipora district of Kashmir in relation to a video he posted to his Twitter. The video that shows women protesting against the death of a rebel military commander has since been removed from the site. 

In an encounter between Indian forces and Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, a terrorist and a police officer were killed. The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the Pariwan area of the district after specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area. The incident also injured five people including three police officers. 

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