Kashmir: An Integral Part of India

Every conflict between two states has a historical background and it is important to know this historical background before we review the current scenario in Jammu and Kashmir. I would like to mention these facts about Jammu and Kashmir here to start with for dear readers who may not be aware of them and it is very important to understand the problem of this integral part of India.

Jammu and Kashmir was created under the Treaty of Amritsar between the East India Company and the then ruler of Jammu Raja Gulab Singh, a Hindu. The entire Kashmir valley which was dominated by the Muslims was bought by this ruler for a price of INR 750,000,000 in the year 1846. It was merged with Jammu and Ladakh which were then under his rule.

With this merger a new state was created which we know today as Jammu and Kashmir. His successor, Maharaja (King) Hari Singh, continued the dynasty in this state but in 1931 a movement was started against him in the Kashmir valley on grounds that the Muslim population, which was the majority in the valley, did not have adequate representation in the state services at that time. Also, the fact that the ruler was a Hindu scion of the Dogra clan irked the Muslim majority in the valley.

Political move

In 1932 Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah, the grandfather of the current Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mr. Omar Abdullah, represented  the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference in its demand for Kashmiri freedom from the Maharaja’s rule. In April 1932, the Maharaja appointed the “Glancy Commission” to look into the grievances of Muslim subjects and asked for recommendations for an adequate representation of Muslims in the state services. These requests continued for several years under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. Finally in 1946 a Quit Kashmir movement was born demanding the abrogation of the Treaty of Amritsar and restoration of sovereignty. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was arrested for this agitation.

Perception of Pakistan

There was a revolt against the Maharaja by Kashmiris who were dissatisfied and wanted that the state should join Pakistan in August 1948. The Maharaja’s forces fired on the protestors and many people were killed.  In the same month the situation became worse and approximately 60,000 people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs, migrated from the Kashmir valley to Jammu. A defiant group known as the Poonch rebels declared an independent government of Azad (Independent) Kashmir on October 24, 1948.

As Jammu and Kashmir was located between Pakistan and India, the Maharaja was not in hurry to take a decision of joining either of them. He signed a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan so that trade, travel and communication would continue uninterrupted until a final settlement was reached. India did not sign a similar agreement.

Pakistan reneged on the Standstill Agreement and enforced an embargo in the hope of pressuring the Maharaja to throw in his lot with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The state troops rebelled against the Maharaja and Pakistan sent in tribals from the neighboring North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) under command of regular officers of the Pakistan Army. With the raiders knocking on the doors of Srinagar, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession to India on October 26, 1948, and asked for the dispatch of Indian troops to help save his regime. Pakistan never accepted the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir to India.

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Indian perception

The issue of Pakistani invasion of Jammu and Kashmir was raised in the United Nations which passed Resolution 47 (1948) on the India and Pakistan question, submitted jointly by the representatives from Belgium, Canada, China, Columbia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

It was adopted by the Security Council at its 286th meeting held on April 21, 1948, regarding restoration of peace and order in the valley which postulated that “the Govt, of Pakistan should undertake to use its best endeavors to secure the withdrawal from the State of J & K, of tribesmen and Pakistani Nationals, not normally residents therein who have entered the state for the purposes of fighting and to prevent any intrusion into the state of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State.”

On January 1, 1949, the United Nation arranged a ceasefire and the Ceasefire Line came to divide the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir into areas held by Pakistan and India. After the war of 1971 the signing of the Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan brought about the return of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war who had been transferred to Indian camps from the newly liberated Bangladesh for their own safety.

The Ceasefire Line was changed to the Line of Control to incorporate the changes brought on by the war and India’s refusal to return any part of Jammu and Kashmir because it was an inseparable and integral part of India. 

Pakistan undermines UN resolution 

Pakistan has created a constant provocation to destabilize peace measures in Kashmir right from the beginning. In November 1947, India offered a unanimous plebiscite and asked Pakistan to withdraw its troops first from the region. But Pakistan did not agree and gave a plea that the Kashmiris may not freely vote under the pressures of Indian army and influence of Sheikh Abdullah who was a close friend of the then Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru.

International support to India

Pakistan joined SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization) in 1954 and later joined CENTO (Central Treaty Organization) in 1955. At the same time India moved closer to USSR which was start of a new era in Indo-Soviet relations.

India received defense support from Soviet Union and this was a big reason that India also received overwhelming support from the Soviet Union in the UN Assembly as they had their veto power which was used in 1962 in the UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir in favor of India.

Hitherto Pakistan has done its worst to no avail in Kashmir. The security situation is well under control and Pak-sponsored terrorist activity substantially reduced and ineffectual. The Kashmiri people have come to accept realities and are no longer willing to become cannon-fodder for the success of the Pakistani game plan for the region

Pawan Agrawal, CEO of Defence and Security Alert magazine, has more than twenty-five years experience in publishing and media business. He is the founder and CEO of Ocean Media Private Limited.

  • Mahmood Hussain

    Kashmir has never been part of India nor Pakistan, they were promised a plebiscite to determine their future according to their wishes and Aspirations, ie be Part of India, Pakistan on as an independent state, sadly this did not take place, hence we are now in this state of uncertainty , in order to resolve this matter we must allow the people Kashmir to exercise their right to determine their future…