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Kashmir has been fighting for freedom for more than 65 years now and on the other hand Pakistan has been desperate to bring it under its administration and control since the independence! Not only Pakistan, but there have been border disputes with China also that from too pre-independence times.
India and Pakistan agreed on Wednesday to ease tensions in disputed Kashmir by strictly observing a decade-old cease-fire after five soldiers were killed in recent clashes, an Indian army spokesman said.
The military commanders of the two armies spoke by telephone for 10 minutes and reached an understanding not to allow the situation to escalate further, spokesman Col. Jagdeep Dahiya said. Three Pakistani soldiers and two Indian soldiers have died in the worst bout of fighting in the region since the cease-fire was signed in 2003. India said one of its soldiers was beheaded.
The series of tit-for-tat attacks had threatened to ratchet up tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Earlier Wednesday, Pakistan accused Indian troops of killing one of its soldiers along the cease-fire line a day earlier. The Pakistani army said the shooting was unprovoked and occurred in the Hot Spring and Jandot sectors of Pakistan-held Kashmir.
However, Col. R.K. Palta, another Indian army spokesman, said Pakistani troops fired at two Indian positions using small arms and mortar fire on Tuesday night in the Poonch sector of the Indian portion of Kashmir. “Our troops didn’t fire at all,” Palta said. Lt. Gen. K.T. Parnaik, an Indian commander in charge of the troubled area, said, “We want to ensure that we dominate the line of control and don’t let them (Pakistanis) provoke us into making it a hot line of control.
” In a sign of the rising tensions, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar accused India of “warmongering” in a speech in New York on Tuesday. In New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his country’s relations with archrival Pakistan “cannot be business as usual.” India and Pakistan have been rivals for decades and have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.
The Himalayan region is divided between the two countries, but each claims it in its entirety. Senior Pakistani and Indian officials are trying to limit the potential damage from the recent clashes to relations, which have slowly warmed since Pakistani militants killed 166 people in the Indian coastal city of Mumbai. They suspended peace talks after the Mumbai attack, but both countries have economic and other reasons for wanting better ties. Still, the fighting along the Kashmir border highlights how easily simmering tension can flare into conflict. The biggest risk remains an attack by militants like the one in Mumbai that would likely scuttle the reconciliation process once again. The tension has disrupted cultural and sporting ties. Performances by a Pakistani theatre group were cancelled in the western Indian city of Jaipur and in the Indian capital following protests by hard-line Hindu groups.
On Tuesday, nine Pakistani hockey players who came to India to participate in a tournament were sent home. The tension comes as political turmoil is increasing in Islamabad, with Pakistan’s top court ordering the arrest of the country’s prime minister in a corruption case, officials said, and a firebrand cleric rallying thousands of people in the capital against the government. On Monday, Indian army chief Gen. Bikram Singh accused Pakistan of planning the attacks that left the two Indian soldiers dead – making clear he felt it was not an unintentional skirmish – and warned of possible retaliation. “The attack on Jan. 8 was premeditated, a pre-planned activity. Such an operation requires planning, detailed reconnaissance,” Singh told reporters.
He said India reserved the right to retaliate at a “time and place of its choice.” Singh urged his troops to be “aggressive and offensive in the face of provocation and fire” from Pakistan. He said the alleged beheading of the Indian soldier was “unacceptable and unpardonable” and accused Pakistan of violating the “ethics of warfare.” The Kashmir fighting began Jan. 6 when Pakistan accused Indian troops of raiding an army post and killing a soldier. India denied launching the attack and said its troops had fired across the border in response to Pakistani shelling that had destroyed an Indian home. Two days later, India said Pakistani soldiers, taking advantage of heavy fog, crossed the de facto border and killed two Indian soldiers, beheading one. On Jan. 10, Pakistan said Indian troops had fired across the border and killed another of its soldiers. The Pakistani army said the shooting was unprovoked, while the Indian military said its troops were responding to fire from across the frontier.
Pakistan denies India’s allegations and has suggested UN monitors in the region conduct an inquiry – a call that India rejected, saying it didn’t want to internationalize the issue. Pakistan and India struck a cease-fire agreement over Kashmir in November 2003. There have been periodic violations of the cease-fire, but the incidents during the past week have been the most serious. In Pakistan, the Supreme Court’s arrest order for Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Tuesday was likely to inflame antagonism between the government and the court. The order is linked to allegations of corruption in bidding on private power stations. Ashraf previously served as minister for water and power. The arrest order could provide ammunition for Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Muslim cleric who is leading massive protests in Islamabad to press for the removal of the government, which he says is made up of corrupt politicians.
Taking a significant step to end one of the world’s most dangerous conflicts, nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan agreed to a cease-fire Tuesday aimed at halting 14 years of cross-border gun battles in the disputed Kashmir region. The cease-fire’s prospects for success remained uncertain because the militants who often launch deadly raids from Pakistan into Indian-held territory are not covered by the agreement. One analyst described the accord, which restricts the countries’ conventional armies from attacking each other, as more “symbolic than substantive.”
Under pressure from the U.S. and Europe, New Delhi and Islamabad have been taking cautious steps toward normalizing relations. Analysts said the cease-fire could buy the neighbors time to strike a comprehensive deal on sharing Kashmir. The countries last year came to the brink of a fourth war after India blamed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency for a December 2001 assault on India’s Parliament building that left 14 people dead, including the five militants who launched the attack. The cease-fire involves a tinderbox in Indian-Pakistani relations: the Line of Control that divides Kashmir, drawn after the countries’ 1971 war.
In the last 14 years, fighting between their armies — and India’s battle with militants — has killed more than 65,000 people, most of them civilians. The militants seek independence for the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan. A yearlong lull in clashes along the Line of Control ended in July 2001, just as Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf were about to begin a summit in Agra, near India’s famed Taj Mahal.
The cease-fire is significant because it is the first time in several years that the rivals have not dismissed an offer made by the other, said Husain Haqqani, a leading Pakistani journalist and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. But India and Pakistan are still much further from a breakthrough on Kashmir than they were in 1998, Haqqani said. In that year, Vajpayee and Pakistan’s then-prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, agreed to hold comprehensive peace talks at a summit in Lahore, Pakistan, which took place early the next year. Haqqani said Pakistan feels increasingly threatened by India’s growing influence in Central Asia since the ouster of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Political considerations in India and Pakistan also make significant movement toward lasting peace difficult, he said, because India’s Hindu nationalist government is to call national elections next year, and the country’s claim to the mainly Muslim Kashmir is a rallying point for the government’s supporters.
Musharraf also uses the dispute to build his support. “I don’t think there will be any serious concessions from India, so the question is how far can Gen. Musharraf go in making concessions to India without, at some point, having domestic repercussions in Pakistan,” Haqqani said. On Tuesday, India’s Foreign Ministry announced that the cease-fire was finalized during a weekly meeting between senior Pakistani and Indian military officers. A ministry statement said the agreement applies to the 450-mile-long Line of Control, as well as the international border between India and Pakistan and the Siachen Glacier. Two days earlier, Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali offered the cease-fire to commemorate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of prayer and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
1947: August 14/15. British India is partitioned into India and Pakistan as part of the independence process. Majority Muslim areas in the West (now all of Pakistan) and East (the place now called Bangladesh) form Pakistan. The British also allow the nominal rulers of several hundred “princely states,” who were tax collectors for the British and served at British pleasure, to decide whether they wanted to join India or Pakistan. Pakistan demands Kashmir accede to it. The Hindu ruler of Kashmir does not make a choice. Kashmir has three major ethnic areas: Ladakh in the northwest, which is majority Buddhist; the Kashmir Valley (controlled by India) and the part now controlled by Pakistan, which is majority Muslim, and Jammu (in the south), which is majority Hindu. The overall majority is Muslim. 1948: “Tribesmen” from Pakistan invade Kashmir with the support of the Pakistani government. The ruler of Kashmir asks India for help. India demands that Kashmir should accede to India first. The ruler agrees. India sends forces to Kashmir and the invasion is blocked.
Kashmir is divided into a Pakistani controlled part and an Indian controlled part. This de facto partition continues to this date with the dividing line being known as the Line of Control. 1948: India takes the Kashmir issue to the U.N. Security Council, which passes a resolution calling on Pakistan to do all it can “secure the withdrawal” of Pakistani citizens and “tribesmen” and asking that a plebiscite be held to determine the wishes of the people of Kashmir. Neither the force withdrawal nor the plebiscite has taken place. 1962: India and China fight a border war. China occupies a part of Ladakh. 1965: India and Pakistan fight a border war along the India-West Pakistan border and the Line of Control in Kashmir. U.N. brokered cease fire and withdrawal to pre-war lines affirmed by the leaders of the two countries at a 1966 summit meeting in Tashkent, USSR (now Toshkent, Uzbekistan). 1970-1971: An election in (East and West) Pakistan results in an overall majority for an East Pakistani party, which is ethnically mainly Bengali.
The Pakistani military refuses to allow the Parliament to convene. East Pakistanis demand autonomy, then independence in the face of brutal repression by the Pakistani military. Guerilla warfare ensues. About ten million refugees stream into India from East Pakistan. India also provides sanctuary to Bangladeshi guerillas. Pakistan attacks airfields in India and Indian-controlled Kashmir. India strikes back in West Pakistan and also intervenes in the East on the side of the Bangladeshis. The U.S., in a “tilt” towards Pakistan, sends a nuclear-armed aircraft carrier, the Enterprise, and its battlegroup, to the region, in an implicit nuclear threat to India (which influences nuclear politics of India in favor of nuclear testing). Pakistan loses the war on both fronts and Bangladesh becomes independent. 1972: India and Pakistan sign a peace accord, known as the Simla (or Shimla) agreement, according to which both sides agree “to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.”
Both countries agree that they will not unilaterally try to alter the Line of Control in Kashmir. 1974: India tests a nuclear device. Pakistan accelerates its nuclear weapons program. 1980s: U.S. supports Islamic resistance to Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and also the dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan, which promotes Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. Late 1980s: There is a state-level election in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. There is evidence of fraud. Militancy rises in Kashmir. In 1989, the Soviets quit Afghanistan. Islamic militants from outside South Asia now become engaged in Kashmir, with the support of the Pakistani government.
The violence in Kashmir becomes more dominated by foreign fighters and by religious fundamentalism. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hindu fundamentalism begins to become more powerful as a political force in India. 1990s: Violence intensifies in Kashmir. Islamic militants carry out ethnic cleansing in the Kashmir Valley, terrorizing non-Muslims, mainly Kashmiri pundits, causing large numbers of people to flee, mainly to Jammu. Pakistan supports the cross border infiltration. The Indian military responds with repression to the terrorism, foreign infiltration, and the domestic insurgency, which are now all mixed up. There are serious human rights abuses on all sides. 1998: A coalition led by the Hindu-fundamentalist party, the BJP, comes to power in India. India and Pakistan carry out nuclear weapons tests and declare themselves nuclear weapon states. Pakistan announces that it may, under certain circumstances, use nuclear weapons first to neutralize India’s conventional superiority, making reference to NATO’s Cold War doctrine of potential first use in case of a European war with the Soviets.
India says it will not use nuclear weapons first. 1999: Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, travels to Lahore, Pakistan for a peace meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. There is great hope for peace. Three months later Pakistan-based militants invade the Kargil area in Indian-controlled Kashmir, with the support of the military. A military confrontation, with the possibility of nuclear war, ensues. Nawaz Sharif travels to Washington and President Clinton convinces him to withdraw Pakistani forces from Kargil. Confrontation ends. Nawaz Sharif is overthrown in a military coup led by General Musharraf, one of the architects of the Kargil war. (Musharraf proclaims himself President of Pakistan in the year 2000.) September 11, 2001: Well-known tragic events in the United States.
Terrorist attacks kill about 3,000 people. October 1, 2001: A terrorist attack on the Kashmir state legislature in Srinagar. 38 people are killed. October 7, 2001: U.S. launches a war in Afghanistan, under the rubric of the War on Terrorism. President Musharraf becomes a U.S. ally and allows Pakistan to become a base of operations for the United States. Al Qaeda, Taliban, and their supporters in Pakistan feel severe pressure. December 13, 2001: A terrorist attack on India’s Parliament. Fourteen people (including five attackers, as well as security guards and two civilians) are killed. Aftermath of December 13: India mobilizes and moves hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the border with Pakistan, including the Line of Control in Kashmir.
The danger of conventional and nuclear war rises. May 14, 2002 to date (early Sept 2002): A terrorist attack on families of Indian servicemen. More than 30 people killed. India threatens to retaliate. Pakistan makes implicit threats of nuclear weapons use in case of Indian attack. Peak of the conventional and nuclear confrontation reached in May-June 2002. Greatest threat of nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. U.S. troops and war strategy in the region imperiled. U.S. shuttle diplomacy defuses the immediate crisis as Pakistan promises to end cross border infiltration. India does not retaliate. Tensions remain high and the threat of war and nuclear weapons use persists. India rejects OIC resolution on Kashmir
New Delhi, Nov 20: India Tuesday strongly rejected as “factually incorrect and misleading references” made by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Jammu and Kashmir in its 39th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. “We note with regret that the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has once again made factually incorrect and misleading references to matters internal to India, including the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. We reject all such references/resolutions,” official spokesperson in the Ministry of External
Affairs said. He was responding to a question on resolutions adopted during the 39th Session of the CFMs of OIC held in Djibouti, Africa, last week. The OIC resolution said it is “noting with regret the Indian attempt to malign the legitimate Kashmiri freedom struggle by denigrating it as terrorism and appreciating that the Kashmiris condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
It also said that “taking note of the report which confirmed that there are 2156 unidentified bodies in mass graves in Kashmir and expressed concern that there is every possibility that the unidentified bodies buried in various unmarked graves at 38 places may contain bodies of enforced disappearance cases because 574 are unidentified.” Speaking at the Contact Group meeting on Jammu and Kashmir, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, reaffirmed the principal position of the OIC in fully supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle to achieve their legitimate rights and stressed on considering new means for supporting them. He announced that the delegation of the next visit by the OIC Special Envoy to Jammu and Kashmir would include representatives of OIC subsidiary and specialized organs that can help deliver assistance.
OIC notes with regret Indian attempt to malign legitimate Kashmiri freedom struggle by denigrating it as terrorism and appreciates that the Kashmiris condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Taking note of the report which confirmed that there are 2156 unidentified bodies in mass graves in Kashmir OIC expresses deep concern India rejects OIC reference to J&K
When India and Pakistan gained independence from British rule in 1947, the various princely rulers were able to choose which state to join. The Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, was the Hindu head of a majority Muslim state sandwiched between the two countries, and could not decide. He signed an interim “standstill” agreement to maintain transport and other services with Pakistan. Islam is the dominant religion in the Kashmir Valley
In October 1947 tribesmen from Pakistan invaded Kashmir, spurred by reports of attacks on Muslims and frustrated by Hari Singh’s delaying tactics. The Maharaja asked for Indian military assistance. India’s governor-general, Lord Mountbatten, believed peace would best be served by Kashmir’s joining India on a temporary basis, pending a vote on its ultimate status. Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession that month, ceding control over foreign and defence policy to India. Indian troops took two-thirds of the territory, and Pakistan seized the northern remainder. China occupied eastern parts of the state in the 1950s.
Whether the Instrument of Accession or the entry of Indian troops came first remains a major source of dispute between India and Pakistan. India insists that Hari Singh signed first, thereby legitimising the presence of their troops. Pakistan is adamant that the Maharaja could not have signed before the troops arrived, and that he and India had therefore ignored the “standstill” agreement with Pakistan. The mountains of Kashmir, scene of a violent territorial dispute Pakistan demands a referendum to decide the status of Kashmir, while Delhi argues that, by voting in successive Indian state and national elections, Kashmiris have confirmed their accesson to India. Pakistan cites numerous UN resolutions in favour of a UN-run referendum, while India says the Simla Agreement of 1972 binds the two countries to solve the problem on a state-to-state basis. There has been no significant movement from these positions in decades. In addition, some Kashmiris seek a third option – independence – which neither India nor Pakistan is prepared to contemplate.
The two countries fought wars over Kashmir in 1947-48 and 1965. They formalised the original ceasefire line as the Line of Control in the Simla Agreement, but this did not prevent further clashes in 1999 on the Siachen Glacier, which is beyond the Line of Control. India and Pakistan came close to war again in 2002.
The situation was further complicated by an Islamist-led insurgency that broke out in 1989. India gave the army additional authority to end the insurgency under the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Despite occasional reviews of the AFSPA, it still remains in force in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. In the summer of 2010, 20 years after the AFSPA was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, pro-Pakistan and pro-independence public protests erupted, and clashes with Indian security forces left more than 100 people dead. Given that India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons, the stakes in the dispute are high.
A thaw in relations after 2002, which saw some road and rail communications into Pakistan reopened, ended abruptly with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. India blamed Pakistani and Kashmiri Islamists, in particular the Lashkar-e-Toiba group, for the attacks. Talks between the two countries on improving ties across the Kashmiri Line of Control resumed in 2010, and relations slowly started to improve again. By 2012, with India promising an amnesty to those who took part in the violent protests of 2010 and Pakistan gradually withdrawing financial support from insurgents fighting Indian rule in the Kashmir Valley, many former militants had become convinced of the futility of the armed struggle against the Indian authorities.
The population of historic Kashmir is divided into about 10 million people in Indian-administrated Jammu and Kashmir and 4.5 million in Pakistani-run Azad Kashmir. There are a further 1.8 million people in the Gilgit-Baltistan autonomous territory, which Pakistan created from northern Kashmir and the two small princely states of Hunza and Nagar in 1970. Kashmir is renowned as a source for the fine wool known as cashmere The government of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has often been led by the National Conference, a pro-Indian party led by the Abdullah political dynasty. Pakistan runs Azad Jammu and Kashmir as a self-governing state, in which the Muslim Conference has played a prominent role for decades. The National Conference moved from an almost pro-independence stance in the 1950s to accepting the status of a union state within India, albeit with more autonomy than other states. Jammu and Kashmir is diverse in religion and culture.
It consists of the heavily-populated and overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir Valley, the mainly Hindu Jammu district, and Ladakh, which has a roughly even number of Buddhists and Shia Muslims. The Hindus of Jammu and the Ladakhis back India in the dispute, although there is a campaign in the Leh District of Ladakh to be upgraded into a separate union territory in order to reflect its predominantly Buddhist identity. India gave the two districts of Ladakh some additional autonomy within Jammu and Kashmir in 1995. Kashmir’s economy is predominantly agrarian. The important tourism sector in Indian-administered Kashmir was hard hit by the post-1989 insurgency, but has recently bounced back and in 2011 a record 1.1m tourists visited, mainly from India itself.
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