Rohan Muralidharan Iyer has done an 8 pager on the various important international conflicts in the contemporary scene. They are very important for your Entrances as these conflicts tend not to die down and flare up again and again (and hence, are always “current”) questions related to the important parties involved, the prominent individuals, famous agreements, dates, etc have usually come in one of the entrances, almost always. We will do one conflict at a time, so that you have enough time to digest the given information, understand the issue and remember it.
Disclaimer – There are 100’s of others disputed areas like the Somaliland, regional dispute between Japan and China, Parcel Islands etc. I have tried to cover the most important and controversial ones, which have guided the world politics in the post war era. We also see how the UN has been more or less unsuccessful in reaching a climax to these issues. One point to note is that the information provided above is a very objective one and does not take any particular stand. In my personal capacity I have my interpretations of these issues and the editor also has his own [which are very radical and well, politically incorrect]. Now, what I would like you to do is, take this as the foundation of your study (to get a general outline) and do in depth research on every issue and thus frame your opinions. For any further help you are free to contact the editor or me.
The Question of Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir was a former princely state of the British Empire in India, from 1846 until 1947, after which India gained independence, and was partitioned into the Dominion of Pakistan (mostly Muslim) and the Union of India (mostly Hindu). Each Indian state was given a choice to join either India or Pakistan, and when the ruler of Jammu &Kashmir decided to remain independent, this led to a territorial dispute over the Kashmir region, the parties to the conflict were India, China, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir themselves. The problem with J&K was that it had a majority Muslim population with the ruler being Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh.
During that time due the fear that his state will be taken over by militant muslim revolutionaries, the raja ceded with India and signed the Instrument Of Accession.
This led to a direct intervention of the Indian army and the 1st Kashmir war broke out, the Indian government moved to the UN Security Council which passed the UNSC Resolution-47 that called for an immediate cease fire of the conflict and ordered the withdrawal of all Pakistani military presence .It also said that India would have minimum military presence and the final disposition of the issue will be done through a plebiscite of the people of J&K under the auspices of UN. Both of them agreed to hold the plebiscite but Pakistan did not withdraw troops from Kashmir (Pakistan administrated Kashmir).
This led to passing of furthermore resolutions on demilitarization of the region, which were accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India. There was tension throughout the next few decades, In 1962 Sino-Indian War broke out , a disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role like the Tibet (granting asylum to Dalai Lama). India discovered a road that the Chinese had built through Aksai Chin, shown as Chinese on official Chinese maps. Beginning in 1954, India had shown on its official Survey of India maps a definite boundary line awarding Aksai Chin to itself, despite no military or other occupation of the area. Before 1954, Indian maps had shown undefined and indefinite boundary lines in this area.
After the war, Chinese claimed complete De-facto control over this region, while the Indians still see it as a part of Kashmir, the Pakistanis have accepted the region to be a part of china in accordance to Sino-Pakistani border agreement ,1963.Progressively, the war of 1965 and 1971 broke out , which saw victories of India over Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. The Simla Agreement was signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan. By this treaty, both countries agreed to settle all issues by peaceful means and mutual discussions in the framework of the UN Charter. In 1989, a widespread armed insurgency started in Kashmir, after the 1987 State election disputes resulted in some of the states legislative assembly forming militant wings creating the catalyst for the Mujahadeen insurgency (i.e. the group that was fighting the soviets in Afghanistan till that time), which continues to this day. India claims these insurgents are Islamic terrorist groups from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan, fighting to make Jammu and Kashmir part of Pakistan. They claim Pakistan is supplying munitions to the terrorists, and training them in Pakistan.
The Pakistani government calls these insurgents, “Kashmiri freedom fighters”, and claims that it gives only moral and diplomatic support to these insurgents and there is no concept of mujahadeens entering into India. In 1999, the Kargil Conflict began , due to extreme cold the Indian soldiers used to move down to lower altitudes, the insurgents took advantage of this and occupied vacant mountain peaks of the Kargil range overlooking the highway in Indian Kashmir. By blocking the highway, they wanted to cut off the only link between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. This resulted in a high-scale conflict between the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army.
The war led to victory of Indians and the Pakistanis were forced to retreat, and India regained all the peaks they had lost. Across the years there have been charges and countercharges, lot of committees have been setup, delegations have been sent, front channel talks, back channel talks ,interlocutors etc. but an ultimate solution is yet to be reached.
This piece talks only about the question of Kashmir with Pakistan and China. Keep a check on the supplements to know India’s problems with the entity’s populace, keep a check on the supplements. Read Arundhati Roy and BBC.