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The Kashmir Dispute

Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state with a Muslim majority ruled by a Hindu Maharaja (king) Hari Singh until 1947. In 1947, when the Indian subcontinent achieved independence from United Kingdom, the Hari Singh could not decide whether to join India or Pakistan. Soon after the independence, Pathan tribesman from Pakistan's North Western Frontier backed by the Pakistani Army, invaded the state because of the rumours that the Hindu Maharaja was going to cede a Muslim Kashmir to the Union of India. With no defence forces and a detoriating human rights condition, the Maharaja was compelled to ask India for military assistance. India's then Governor-General, Lord Mountbaten, favored the state's accession to the Republic of India, to which the Maharaja agreed. After the Instrument of Accession was signed, the National Conference's Shiekh Abdullah became the head of the Kashmir State government. By January 1948, Indian troops landed in the region and claimed the territory as a part of the Union of India. Pakistan, immediately contested the accession and invaded Kashmir. After months of intense fighting, both the nations agreed on a cease-fire, separating the region into two: Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. In 1961, China invaded India and occupied the north-eastern region of the country known as Aksai Chin, which India continues to claim as its part.

Ever since, a bitter enmity has been developed between India and Pakistan. The two countries have been to war three times in Kashmir (1947-1949, 1965, 1971) and clashed there again during the Kargil Conflict of 1999. The region remains as one of the most heavily militarised zones in the world. The de facto situation is that Pakistan controls just under half, China a small portion, and India just over half the state.

See Also: Indo-Pakistani Wars, Kashmir

The dark-brown region represents the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir


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