Kashmir A 70-year-old conflict between India and Pakistan

Kashmir: A 70-year-old conflict between India and Pakistan


Pakistan wants to bring the issue of Kashmir to international forums in the wake of India’s revocation of the constitutional autonomy of the part of Kashmir it controls and which Islamabad claims. Since the disappearance of the British Indian Empire, Kashmir has sailed between independence, Indian and Pakistani temptation.

  • The split of India and Pakistan

Before the Second World War, the territories that now form Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Burma (until 1937) were grouped into one entity: the British Empire of India. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, the peoples who compose it aspire to independence. If the colonizers hoped to leave their empire in one piece, the Muslims do not hear it so, fearing to be dominated by the Hindus. They want the creation of a Muslim state: Pakistan, an acronym created based on the names of the provinces of Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Baluchistan.

India and Pakistan gained independence in August 1947. Borders between the two states were rushed. Some provinces, such as Punjab and Bengal, are divided into two. The split leads to gigantic population movements, Hindus and Sikhs trying to join the Indian side and Muslims Pakistani. Many hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives in the unrest caused by these displacements.

  • The particular case of Kashmir

During the split, some principalities, which remained autonomous under the British administration, were allowed to join one or the other entity. Kashmir is one of them. His prince, Maharaja Hari Singh, hesitates. Its population is predominantly Muslim, while its dynasty is Hindu. It also offers him the choice to declare his independence, wedged between two giants, India and Pakistan. To counter the pressure of the Muslim tribes, Hari Singh chose to join the Indian Union in October 1947.

  • Three conflicts

This decision immediately leads to the first conflict between India and Pakistan, which ends on December 31, 1948. The positions of the various forces are fixed around a “line of control”. At the end of the conflict, India occupies two-thirds of the province, Pakistan one-third.

A second war broke out in 1965. India did not organize the consultation of the population envisaged by the cease-fire of 1948. The Pakistanis then try to cause an insurrection on the side of Indian Kashmir. The latter reacts with a frontal attack that goes beyond the simple regional issue, his troops approaching Lahore, the big Pakistani city of Punjab. Less than a month after its outbreak, the conflict ends under international pressure. Each resumes its original positions, even if Pakistan comes out weakened from the war.

A third war pits the two countries against the Kashmir issue in 1999 when Pakistani troops attempt to take control of the Kargil district. This dispute lasts a little less than three months and ends again with a Pakistani defeat.

  • Abolition of autonomy after decades of violence

Despite the conflicts, the separatist idea has never disappeared from Kashmir. A first uprising broke out in 1989. There will be many more, making a total of 50,000 deaths until today. A certain autonomy prevailed in the State, guaranteed by the Indian constitution, leaving to the local government the management of regional affairs. Moreover, it was impossible for a Kashmiri national to buy a house, to register on the electoral lists or to work in the administration. The nationalists in power in New Delhi could not accept this idea. The removal of the autonomy decreed Monday will make possible the installation of Hindu populations not originating from Cahemire and allow the central government to sit a little more control over the territory.

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