It is our priority to win the hearts of people of Jammu and Kashmir. That could only be achieved through development and their welfare. We have a responsibility to see that people of the state are prosperous. We are not talking about Hindus or Muslims, but the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Development comes when there is integration.
Kashmir is a mountainous region, which enjoys a has very important geo-political situation. It is surrounded by Pakistan in the west and China embraces it in the east. The Indian provinces of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are in the south. The area is famous for its extra-ordinary natural beauty and resources. Presently, the northern and western sides of the region are occupied by Pakistan while the southern and eastern parts are controlled by the Indian Union. For over six decades, the region has been devastated by confrontations between the two countries. Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers and in the case of another shooting war between them; the entire subcontinent including Kashmir may be destroyed. Presently, it is at the diplomatic hyper point of the bilateral relationships between the two countries.
After centuries of Hindu and Buddhist rule, Muslim Mughal emperors took over Kashmir in the 15th century, converted the population to Islam and incorporated it into the Mughal Empire. Britain invaded in 19th century and sold the entire Kashmir Valley to the brutal repressive ruler of Jammu, the Hindu Gulab Singh. Further it was taken over by Hari Singh.
THE KASHMIR ISSUE
The Kashmir dispute dates from 1947. The partition of the Indian sub-continent led to the formation of India and Pakistan. However, there remained the matter of over 650 princely states, existing within the two newly independent countries.
These princely states had the option of either joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent.
Although many princes wanted to be "independent" they had to succumb to their people's protests which turned out violent in many provinces.
Because of its location, Kashmir could be joined either with India or Pakistan. Hari Singh tried to negotiate with India and Pakistan to have an independent status for his state. He offered a proposal of Standstill Agreement to both the Dominion, pending a final decision on State’s accession. Unable to decide which nation Kashmir should join, he chose to remain neutral.
Pakistan broke the Standstill Agreement by sponsoring a tribal militant attack in Kashmir on October 1947.Pakistan sent in Muslim tribesmen who were knocking at the gates of the capital Srinagar. Ruler appealed to the Indian government for military assistance.
India assured help on condition that he should sign the Instrument of Accession. It was also agreed that once the situation will get normalised, the views of the people of J&K will ascertain their future.
Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, ceding Kashmir to India on October 26, 1947.
India won over most of the Pak-supported tribal militants from Kashmir. However, one part of the State came under Pakistan’s control. India claims that the area is under illegal occupation. Pakistan describes this area as ‘Azad Kashmir’. India uses the term Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) for the area of Kashmir under the control of Pakistan.
India and Pakistan thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India referred this dispute to the United Nations on 1 January. In a resolution dated August 13, 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to remove its troops, after which India also had to withdraw the bulk of its forces.
India in 1947 had suggested conducting a plebiscite to know the aspirations of Kashmiri people. With all leaders of Jammu and Kashmir like Sheik Abdullah on its side, cherishing the common values – secularism, democracy, and pan-India nationalism, India was confident to win the Plebiscite if it was held in 1947.
An emergency government was formed on October 30, 1948 with Sheikh Abdullah as the Prime Minister of Kashmir.
Pakistan ignored the UN mandate and continued fighting, holding on to the portion of Kashmir under its control. On January 1, 1949, a ceasefire was agreed, with 65 per cent of the territory under Indian control and the remainder with Pakistan.
The ceasefire was intended to be temporary but the Line of Control remains the disputed border between the two countries.
In 1957, Kashmir was formally integrated into the Indian Union. It was also granted a special status under Article 370 of India's constitution.
Fight broke out again in 1965, but a ceasefire was established in September. Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bhadur Shastri, and Pakistani President, M Ayub Khan, signed the Tashkent agreement on January 1, 1966.
They resolved to try to end the dispute, but the death of Mr Shastri and the rise of Gen Yahya Khan in Pakistan resulted in stalemate.
This issue does not end here but has continued to trouble India even today.
The relationship between India and Pakistan has remained hostile over the Kashmir issue. Both the Govts are trying hard to come to a permanent solution.
This has been one of the most major issues of international conflict for India.
The efforts to establish peace are on but get disrupted through some dreadful actions of the neighbouring country.
WHAT THE WORLD HAS TO SAY…..
America's View over Kashmir:
American diplomats had different views on Kashmir during different periods of time.
Initially, post 1947, Pakistan emerged as a close ally of US contrary to India and hence US did not do much to control Pakistan’s illegal entry into Kashmir. India was initially isolated on Kashmir issue and the world felt that India was taking a Muslim province from a Muslim country.
It is to be reminded that Nehru was the one who took the Kashmir issue to UNO but to his disappointment, it backfired as US and Pakistan were close allies. Since then, India always stresses on dealing Kashmir bilaterally and not on the UN platform and on the other hand Pakistan has always been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
It is to be said that today the Americans view Kashmir in a different way. It has reduced its support for Pakistan (belief that it's an exporter of terrorism).
UK's Stand on Kashmir:
Traditionally, the UK has supported Pakistan on the Kashmir front.
This was largely because of the larger Mirpuri/Pakistani/Muslim South Asian diaspora (who became voting citizens), compared with numbers of Indian immigrants.
Initially, it was because of Cold War concerns (the strategic location of AJK-GB) - in fact when Nehru took Kashmir to the UN, Britain as a P-5 member famously refused to acknowledge that the invaders were Pakistani Army regulars.
But with time, UK's harsh stance on Kashmir has been dissolved too and currently they favour Indian side of Arguments and this change of opinion can be attributed to many reasons and now it believes on complete resolution of this vexed issue. India Gets Huge Support on Kashmir among British Lawmakers
Russia's Stance on Kashmir:
Russia has always supported India on Kashmir directly or indirectly through several means even at international platforms. It is because of alliance that India and Russia share since last 7 decades. It is this mutual friendship that has helped getting leverage over Pakistan Vis a Vis Russia.
UN's Stance on Kashmir:
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, adopted on April 21, 1948, concerns the resolution of the Kashmir Conflict. When after hearing arguments from both India and Pakistan, the Council increased the size of the Commission established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 39 to five members with representatives of Argentina, Belgium, Columbia, Czechoslovakia and the United States, instructed the Commission to go to the subcontinent and help the governments of India and Pakistan restore peace and order to the region and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir.
It has also formed a body to look into the cases of ceasefire violations perpetrated by both sides of the border names as United Nations Military Observer Group for Indian and Pakistan.
Following renewed hostilities of 1971, UNMOGIP has remained in the area to observe developments pertaining to the strict observance of the ceasefire of 17 December 1971 and report thereon to the Secretary-General.
UN is still governed by the ideas that it promulgated through its resolutions with a significant change in the attitudes of many western nations over this vexed contentious issue.
Thus, it can be inferred that there is an ambiguous stand on Kashmir on the global scene.
The Kashmir issue – which was once a simple, has now turned into a complex problem to solve. It has multiple dimensions – external and internal; inter-state as well as intra-state. This problem not only affects the state but also the 2 countries INDIA and PAKISTAN. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which is now not entirely with India. Pakistan and China now occupy a significant portion of the territories of the erstwhile princely state.
The Kashmir problem also includes the issue of Kashmiri identity known as Kashmiriyat. However, almost every state in India has its own identity – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal or Kerala. However, the people in each of these states even when seeing themselves as Tamilians, Kannads, Bengalis or Malayalis are also identify themselves as Indians. In Jammu & Kashmir not only are there diversities of all kind (religious, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and tribal) but there are also divergent political aspirations.
Unfortunately, from the perspective of the future of Jammu and Kashmir the state has never functioned like other Indian states since its accession to India. Because of high instability in the state development has been always hindered. The first step to solve the Kashmir issue is to identify the problems behind the alienation of Kashmir. To find a solution to Kashmir issue – all stakeholders should be considered.
Kashmir was and still is an integral part of India. It has a plural and secular culture .Urgent steps should be taken to bridge the gaps of trust deficit in the minds of Kashmiri youth. All Kashmiris should get the share in the growth of India. Like all other states in India, there should be adequate political autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir.
By: HARSHIKA CHHIMWAL