The Kashmir Problem (1947 to 1949)
When the British withdrew from South Asia in 1947 issues arose surrounding the territory’s existence. The rulers of princely states in Kasmir were given the right to opt for either Pakistan, India or to remain independent.
Hari Singh, the maharaja of Kasmir, believes he could maintain the independence of Kashmir if he delayed his decision but by October 1947 he signed an Instrument of Accession to the Indian union (this was due to a revolution among his muslim subjects and the intervention of Pashtun tribesmen).
This caused Pakistan to intervene (they considered the state to be a natural extension of Pakistan). India wanted to confirm the act of accession so also intervened. Localised warfare occurred during 1948 and ended in January 1949 due to a cease-fire ordered by the United Nations.
In July 1949, India and Pakistan defined the line of control – it was intended to be temporary but a partition along that line still exists.India controlled Jammu and Kasmir – 45%, Pakistan controlled Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan – 35%.
A second war followed in 1965 and another in 1999 by which point India and Pakistan had declared themselves to be nuclear powers.
Why is there unrest in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir?
India blames Pakistan for an armed revolt which has been waged against Indian rule for three decades, claiming they stirred unrest through backing separatist militants in Kashmir (Pakistan has denied this).
Indian-administered Kashmir has a separate flag and independence over all matters apart from foreign affairs, defence and communications due to Article 370 giving it significant autonomy.
On the 5th of August 2019, the governing party in the Indian-administered Kashmir has abolished Article 370 which allowed Indian-administered Kashmir to have a separate flag and independence over all matters apart from foreign affairs, defence and communications.
Days before this presidential order was announced, telephone networks and interned were cut off. Tourists were told to leave due to a terror threat when tens of thousands of troops were sent in. Public gatherings were banned and Pakistan condemned this development.
Pakistan then suspended all trade with India and downgraded diplomatic ties with them; India responded saying they “regretted” Pakistan’s statement and reiterated that Article 370 did not involve Pakistan as it did not interfere with the boundaries of the territory.This comes after India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire in 2003
Does peace need to be renegotiated?
After street protests in Indian-administered Kashmir in 2016 and in June of 2018 the BJP pulled out of a coalition government which is run by the People’s Democratic Party and upended the state government.
India blamed Pakistan-based militant groups for the death of 40 Indian soldiers in a suicide attack on February the 14th 2019 causing India to say that it would take “all possible diplomatic steps” to isolate Pakistan and on the 26th of February launched air strikes in Pakistani territory – targeting militant bases. Pakistan promised to respond.
Think about how talks between the countries can be negotiated and the proposal of a plebiscite – how would this work and how can it be enforced peacefully. Delegates should also think about the human rights of the people living in Kashmir: can and should we send aid to them and how can we deal with the armed forces still in the territory. Finally, delegates can also consider education around this topic.