Conflicts between Pakistan and India over Kashmir as well as China over Tibet have been around for decades. Although these conflicts are religion based, this is no longer the case since they currently fight over land control (Stokes, 2010). Whereas India and Pakistan is ever fighting to be in control of Kashmir, this case is the same when it comes to China’s conflict for Tibet. Although Tibet is part of China, it considers itself a nation since it has always been bound by religion, culture as well as linguistics and genetic ties (Stokes, 2010).
The study aims to address the religion conflicts existing between China over Tibet as well as India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
Pakistan and India over Kashmir
According to Hajni (2008), Pakistan was founded after the end of the British rule when the Indian Muslims developed the desire to own an Islamic state. Indian Muslims were the Minority religion and this made them feel insecure. Since they were the minority religion, the Indian Muslims were afraid of losing political representation in addition to maintaining their freedom as well as cultural norms.
According to Hajni (2008), regarding the criteria for deciding which of the two dominions a state should join; he quotes Lord Mountbatten who said, “…geographic situation and communal interests and so forth will be factors to be considered…”
At the time of partitioning, Jammu and Kashmir was predominantly Muslim. However, Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh who supported the annexation of Kashmir by India ruled the state. According to James and Ozdamar (2005), when the British divided the two states, Kashmir was given the option of joining either one. However, through Maharajah Singh, the current leader of that time, Kashmir opted to become independent. Pakistan and India were not happy with this decision since they started forcing Kashmir to join them. It is due to these debates that later resulted to the outbreak of conflicts between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
Pakistani Muslims initiated insurgent type operations to undermine an annexation by India, which further compelled the Hindu leader to align with India to secure military support to counter the Muslims. According to Hajni (2008), India started by laying claim on Kashmir due to the instrument of accession that was signed by Maharaja in 1947. It is because of this move that prompted Pakistan to follow suit. Just like India, Pakistan also laid claimed to own Kashmir since most of its population were Muslims. This gradually escalated into disputes over Jammu and Kashmir, which is still rife to date. The disputes were quite severe since they escalated into wars in a move to acquire the disputed state. Although religion was the main source of conflict between the three nations, it was primarily triggered by the urge for territorial control.
China over Tibet
Apart from India and Pakistan, another famous religion conflict is that of China and Tibet. Tibet has been practicing Buddhism for decades to the extent that it currently defines the Tibetan’s way of life (Sperling, 2004). It was because of these cultures that the Tibetans declined to submit themselves to the Chinese rule. China has always strived to control Tibet but the Tibetans have always opposed this attempt. Since 1951, the republic of China through the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has tried to acquire Tibet by attempting to destroy their national as well as cultural identities (Macalester College, 2007). For instance, the nation tried to acquire Tibet by attempting to lure Tibet’s religious elite into voluntarily agreeing to embrace socialism. According to the Tibetans, this has always been referred to as cultural genocide (Stokes, 2010).
Although China had assured Tibet that their Buddhism religion and culture would not be affected by the inauguration, Tibet was not confortable fusing with the Chinese Buddhist Association (CBA). According to the Tibetans, fusing with the CBA posed a threat for the Tibetan’s religion as well as culture. According to Sperling (2004), China is ever attempting to forcefully acquire Tibet. The reason why China is ever wishing to acquire Tibet is that it believes Tibet is located within China’s territory. Since almost all Tibetans practice Buddhism while the Han Chinese does not, the republic of China is ever attempting to ruin this religious culture in a move to ease the acquisition process. However, Tibetans always fight back in order to prevent China from ruining their culture and religion.
Through Dalai Lama, Tibet was stable to the extent that even after numerous conflicts, China has never succeeded in acquiring it. It was through Dalai Lama that Tibet was able to fuse religion with politics. By intertwining Politics and religion, Tibet was able to create a solid foundation that made it difficult for the republic of china to acquire (Sperling, 2004). This technique was quite beneficial to the Tibetans since it motivated them into pursuing independence and self-autonomy. To date, the conflict between Tibet and China still exists despite numerous diplomatic interventions. Although Dalai Lama was quite influential in Tibet, he fled to India when he currently resides.
In order to form the foundation of their adherent’s lives, both the Hindu and Buddhist religions ensured that they encouraged one another to fully embrace their religion. For instance, through this motivation, all Tibetans embraced Buddhism. Whereas the conflict between India and Pakistan resulted from the inability of the two nations to align Hindus with India and Muslims with Pakistan, the case was almost similar to that of China and Tibet. The conflict between china and Tibet began because China did not want Tibetans to practice their cultures and religions in a territory they claim was theirs. Additionally, the conflict was also triggered by the fact that Dalai Lama had planned to make Tibet an independent nation (Macalester College, 2007).
For a long time, India and Pakistan have been engrossed in conflicts. Although these conflicts started on grounds of religion differences, they rapidly escalated to territorial conflicts whereby both nations began fighting over Kashmir, a region located between India and Pakistan. Apart from India and Pakistan, China and Tibet have also been engrossed in conflicts, which have lasted for decades. Just like that of India and Pakistan, this conflict also revolved around religion but gradually grew into territorial conflict. China was not comfortable with Tibet’s Buddhism religion, hence, attempted all measures to disrupt it but Tibet was not ready to allow this to happen. Dalai Lama, a prominent leader in Tibet, was planning to declare Tibet an Independent nation. This idea was never taken lightly by China and it is because of this that the conflict intensified, thus, Dalai Lama was forced to run to seek refuge in India where he resides to date.
Hajni, M. (2008). The Kashmir Conflict: A Kashmiri Perspective. Retrieved on 12 October 2014 from www.operationspaix.net/DATA/DOCUMENT/5413~v~The_Kashmir_Conflict___A_Kashmiri_Perspective.pdf
James, C. & Ozdamar, O. (2005). Religion as a Factor in Ethnic Conflict: Kashmir and Indian Foreign Policy. Terrorism and Political Violence, 17:447-467. Retrieved on 12 November 2014 from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fozgur.bilkent.edu.tr%2Fdownload%2F05Religion%2520as%2520a%2520Factor%2520in%2520Ethnic%2520Conflict%2520Kashmir.pdf&ei=7u1jVNrQFIbWasKGgcgK&usg=AFQjCNFvomYpl_QzYphrOggL6s3Ms5ZCZg&sig2=ZM9lKPLKG5LZde_OAlB7vA&bvm=bv.79189006,d.d2s
Macalester College. (2007). History of Tibet-China Conflict. Retrieved on 12 November 2014 from https://sites.google.com/a/macalester.edu/refugees/tibetan/history-of-tibet-china-conflict
Sperling, E. (2004). The Tibet-China Conflict: History and Polemics. Retrieved on 12 November 2014 from www.eastwestcenter.org/sites/default/files/private/PS007.pdf
Stokes, D. (2010). Conflict over Tibet: Core Causes and Possible Solutions. Retrieved on 12 November 2014 from http://www.beyondintractability.org/casestudy/stokes-tibet