United Nations Security Council 1948: ‘Being strongly of the opinion that the early restoration of peace and order in Jammu and Kashmir is essential and that India and Pakistan should do their utmost to bring about a cessation of all fighting.’

Radha Kumar, in her paper on Demography and Warfare, mentions that under specific conditions, such as periods of major political transition, accompanied by nationalist revival, ethnic demography can indicate the broad likelihood or not of an outbreak of conflict. Kashmir is truly a testament of that. Marked by a history of political polarisation, demographic engineering and manipulation, the geography of Kashmir has been the ultimate political tool of regional and ideological dominance for India and Pakistan.


A document released by the External Publicity Division, Ministry of External Affairs, says and I quote: ‘Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India (emphasis added by me)’. It is necessary to study the history and implications of region at the crux of conflict between two nuclear armed stated in the 21st century.

The partition was a bloody time in the history of India and Pakistan. Marked by mass migration of people on both sides, the partition started an an ideological warfare. While Jinnah had argued for creation of secular Pakistan for protection of minority Muslim voting and political rights in a highly Hindu-dominated country, Pakistan became the first Islamic state under the constitution of 1956. On the other hand, India, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, was struggling to establish itself as a democratic and secular state which was born to accommodate multiple religions and communities that existed within. This set in motion the tug-of-war for the region of Kashmir. While Pakistan claimed the land of Kashmir for its muslim-dominated demographics, India claimed it for the very same reason to bolster its multi-religious and inclusive identity.

Do not conquer vast pieces of land or it will drain your exchequer- Kautilya said in the 4th century. As a result, the amount of resources the two countries have spent till date have not left any space for any retreat now. Loss of Kashmir will shake the political foundations of either country.India’s claim of political inclusiveness and Pakistan’s goal of Muslim retention depend on the accession and dominance in Kashmir.

People of Kashmir

War decimates local communities first, such as the Indian tribes in North America or the locals in the city of worn-torn Aleppo. People of conflicted Kashmir are no different. The history of official Kashmir accession is what follows. The Accession of Jammu and Kashmir was signed by the Maharaja of on 26th October, 1947 and was completely valid in terms of Government of India act (1935), Indian Independence Act (1947), and the International Law. The accession did not have any conditional terms and was under the same legislation as other 560 princely states at the time.

Then what caused the problem. The world of anthropology provides an argument for the first problem that caused the split or rather the confusion within the region. In order for any ethnic group to identify itself with a larger state it should satisfy two prerequisites:

  • It should be able to differentiate itself from communities of external states;
  • It should be able to associate itself with the political and economic functioning of the state within

The political failure of India and Pakistan in their early years resulted in neither of the two conditions fulfilled for Kashmir inclusion. India post independence focused too much of her energy in Non Alignment and protection itself from Western influence. The country was torn by ethnic conflicts and leadership. Democracy faced early challenges building to declaration of national emergency under the Indira Gandhi period. Pakistan was no better. A country whose fundamentals lay in physical provisions for Muslim culture and rights demised soon after the charismatic and able leadership of Jinnah. Lack of able leaders led to a vacuum which gave way to military leadership in policy making. This set grounds for instability, rise of extremism, and a culture of Jihad. Left in conflict, the first war in Kashmir (1947–9) was followed by two more in 1965 and 1971, fierce episode of armed combat in 1999, and a series of crises, notably in 1986–7, 1990, 1999, and 2001–2.

Key Policies and Events

The management of the Kashmir issue has been a delicate one. India’s adopted a status-quo stance while Pakistan adopted a disturbance stance after its loss of East Pakistan.

India could have dominated the play in its early years after independence if it was not for mismanagement of its foreign policy and mismanaged goals. Jawaharlal Nehru, co-founder of the Non Aligned Movement, made it a point to protect India from not aligning to either of superpowers for socialist growth. This protectionism from world affairs left a resource strained country of 330 million struggling on her weak establishments. India had needed heavy support from developed nations for improving the much needed military and social infrastructure. The economies of Japan, South Korea and Singapore are examples of how foreign aid and alignment helped countries come out of poverty to a sphere of growth and productivity. In fact, the US was ready to offer immense amounts of aid in the Asia for balancing the democracy-communism scale. India could have very easily managed to receive generous amounts to boost its military capabilities which it needed during the upcoming war years against Pakistan and China.

The second most important policy failure was India turning a blind eye towards the immense amount of the aid Pakistan received from the US after its block from India. During the first phase of the Cold War (from the 1950s to the mid-1970s), Pakistan was able to acquire American military equipment. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in late 1979, was followed by even more military aid as a frontline state. The American position on Kashmir was also more sympathetic to Pakistan’s claims through majority of the Cold War period.India lost on the opportunity to block the nuclear development program Pakistan extensively pursued during the 1980s. This loss of opportunity haunts India to negotiation tables even today.

In 1948 India appealed to the Security Council, invoking its rights under Article 35 of the Charter. The outcome of India bringing the issue before the Security Council was that India and Pakistan agreed to “share” the Kashmir region between them by dividing it along a “ceasefire line”. The LOC was Pakistan’s first diplomatic victory. It established Pakistan’s belief that it can win the diplomatic war for Kashmir for it had major support in the UN. In 1949 the two states signed the so-called Karachi agreement defining the ceasefire line. Section B of the same resolution of 1948 had proposed a plebiscite in Kashmir. However, the creation of LOC ensured that the conditions for a plebiscite never be met. The proposal for a plebiscite was ultimately dropped.

After repeated appeals and ceasefire violations he UN formed the United Nations India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM)in September 1965 to supervise the ceasefire and withdrawal of all armed personnel along the India–Pakistan border other than in Jammu and Kashmir. However, this was only a supervisory committee with limited access to resources. A resolution adopted by the UN in 1949 and later affirmed by the Simla Agreement of 1971 stated that both states have agreed to solve the issue bilaterally.

The Simla Agreement, reiterated in the Lahore Declaration has come to be one of the most important documents in the functioning of any possible negotiations.


A big change in policy has taken place since 1991 when India faced a balance of payment crisis and opened up to the world economy. Policymakers since have had to take more diplomatic and sustainable stands towards Kashmir for political instability hampers investment and growth in the country.

Alfredo G. A. Valladão argues that actually, Brazil, India, and China (or ‘BICs’) are the most serious candidates: they are ‘monster countries’ with enormous territorial, natural, and human resources, they are already exerting a fair degree of influence outside their own regions, and they have been showing a strong will to make use of this new-found influence. Kashmir over the years has evolved into a topic that requires excessive diplomacy and negotiations with more international involvement indirectly. With the latest political tension between India and Pakistan, one can expect a slight but not major shift in the policies either country due to their nuclear capabilities. The conflict costs exorbitant amounts of resources for it is representative of the decade old faction between the two nations and their ethos, ideals and vision.

References and Citations

  • Fuller, G. E. 2003. The Youth Factor: The New Demographics of the Middle East and the Implications for US Policy. Analysis Paper 3 of the Brookings Project on US Policy Towards the Islamic World. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution.
  • Radha Kumar. “Demography and Warfar.” Oxford Handbooks Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.
  • Rajesh Basrur. “India’s Policy Toward Pakistan.” Oxford Handbooks Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.
  • P.K. Singh. “United Nations India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM).” Oxford Handbooks Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.
  • Christy Shucksmith, and Nigel D. White. “United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).” Oxford Handbooks Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016. The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
  • Alfredo G. A. Valladão. “Brazil, India, and China: Emerging Powers and Warfare.” Oxford Handbooks Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016. The Oxford Handbook of War
    Christian Wagner. “India’s Gradual Rise.” Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.