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Who is to be blamed?

India considers that the Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharaja of J&K, could not be conditional as mere acceptance by the Governor General was complete and final as per provisions. Pakistan alleges that India had manipulated the Instrument of Accession and that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan at the time of partition.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2002 13:19 IST
PTI

Prakash Pillai
www.HindustanTimes.com

The Kashmir issue continues to be a vexed issue that remains unresolved between India and Pakistan and being the root cause of Indo-Pak tensions even after 53 years of independence. While a lot is said about Jammu and Kashmir issue, the fact remains that both India and Pakistan has went ahead with their Kashmir policies so far that none of them can now even think about a possible retract from their oft repeated positions. This is what makes the Kashmir issue a complex one and very difficult for any negotiations to be fruitful.

Jammu and Kashmir which ceded into Indian dominion is considered by India as an integral part of the country while Pakistan considers that the Muslim majority state is its natural part.

Insurgency from across the border and speratist groups were active within Kashmir ever since the Maharaja Hari Singh, then ruler of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, signed the Instrument of Accession that was accepted by the Governor General Lord Mountbatten on October 26, 1947. However, terrorism gained new strength since 1989. The surge in terrorism in the valley post 1989 has led to a large-scale exodus of Hindu population from the state.

Earlier, the activity of seperatist groups were limited with little or no support within the valley and were fanned from across the borders. With increase in terrorism since late 1980's efforts were being made by some groups to legitimise seperatism as an internal issue of the people of Kashmiris and their aspirations.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and are on the brink of another war with one million troops in eyeball to eyeball confrontation along the border after the December 13 terrorist strike of Indian Parliament.

Indian stand

India considers that the Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharaja of J&K, could not be conditional as mere acceptance by the Governor General was complete and final as per provisions. The only point of contention on Kashmir according to India is the withdrawal of Pakistan forces from what it calls the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and handing over the region back to India.

India has maintained that the Kashmir issue could only be solved bilaterally between India and Pakistan without the involvement of any third party as per the Shimla Agreement singed between the two countries on July 2, 1972.

India says that in 1946, MA Jinnah conferred with the leaders of J&K for merger with the proposed new state of Pakistan but did not get a favourable response. On October 20, 1947, Pakistan, not adhering to the Agreement with the Maharaja of J&K, launched an invasion of J&K by Tribals led by Pakistan Army officers, prompting the Maharaja to accede to India on October 26, 1947. The Indian Army saved Srinagar in the nick of time and cleared two thirds of Kashmir from the infiltrators. Subsequently a UN -sponsored ceasefire was accepted.

On 30 December, 1947, while the operations were still in progress, India appealed to the United Nations to intervene and ask Pakistan to withdraw its troops. Four UN Resolutions were passed during 1948 and 1949 as follows-

(1) Pakistan to withdraw all its troops from areas it had occupied in Kashmir.

(2) After Pakistani troops withdrawal, India to withdraw the bulk of its forces but to maintain a requisite strength for safeguarding the law and order in the state.

(3) Subsequently, the future status of the state was to be determined in accordance with the will of the people.

While Pakistan has never withdrawn its forces from the terrorities it occupied in Kashmir, India also opposed taking up any efforts to determine the future status of J&K as per the will of the people. India has maintained that Pakistan after invasion of Kashmiri had resorted to targetted excesses in the region leading to mass migration of a large number of Kashmiri Pandits from the region. This act, India alleges has altered the very demography of the region.

India says that after losing the three wars, Paklistan resorted to proxy war in order to bleed India and stepped up insurgency in the valley at the behest of its intelligence agencies. India alleges that since 1989 Pakistan had stepped up terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir by training, arming and pushing mercenaries and army regulars across the Line of Control (LoC) in India. Ever since terrorist strikes on security personnel, security installation and religious places in India have increased. Buyoed by India's cold response to insurgency Pakistan even attempted taking over positions within Indian territory that initiated the Kargil conflict in 1999.

Pakistani stand

A strong beliver in the two nation theory Pakistan considers Jammu and Kashmir a part of its territory on the basis of the fact that J&K is a Muslim majority state. Pakistan also does not uphold the Instrument of Accession signed between the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir ceding the state with India.

Pakistan alleges that India had manipulated the Instrument of Accession and that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan at the time of partition. It also belives that as per the United Nations provisions India was to hold a plebescite in the state to ascertain its status which India has agreed to in the past.

Pakistan claims there is no terrorism in Kashmir and what is being witnessed is an uprising by the local Kashmiris against the Indian rule and its excesses. Pakistan refutes Indian claims of aiding infiltration, arming and training terrorists. Pakistan says that it has a greater stake in the seperation of Jammu and Kashmir as it is unable to come to grips with the birth of Bangladesh, a part of its territory which it alleges to be the handiwork of India.

Indo-Pak war of 1947

Considering the Muslim dominated Jammu and Kashmir to be a natural part of Pakistan, the Pakistani estabilishment and Army planned out an invasion into the Kashmir territory named as Operation Gulmarg in 1947. The operation used pushing of tribals (or Lashkars) into Kashmir and annexing the state from the control of India. The plan was to concentrate the Lashkars at Baftnu, Wana, Nowshera and Peshawar from September 1947 and to arm and train them for guerilla warfare with the Indian forces. These Laskhars were allegedly led by Pakistani military officers and JCOs.

The plan was chalked out meticuluously but it ran into rough weather after the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir ceded the state to India and the strong response from the Indian forces.

Indo-Pak War of 1965

The invasion of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistanis in 1965 was similar to that of the 1947 attempt aimed at annexing Kashmir from India. The objectives and modus operandi were the same. Pakistan-trained infiltrators supported by its regular army soldiers were pushed into Indian territory with the same purpose of sabotage, disruption and distribution of arms among the locals to start a guerrilla uprising.

Pakistan was encouraged to undertake the operation as it thought that late Lal Bahadur was a weak Prime Minister and was too occupied with internal problems. However, it proved to be otherwise. The invasion into J&K in the form of an armed infiltration in small numbers started from August 1965. The Pak incursions in J&K continued for about a month till the ceasefire was effected under the aegis of the UN Security Council on 23 September 1965. The invaders were repulsed by the Indian army and Pakistan's 'Operation Gibraltar' resulted in a total failure. The Kashmiris' support, in fact, was miscalculated by the Pakistani authorities and the invaders. Both the countries later signed the Tashkent Declaration on January 10, 1966 which provided for a temporary truce.

(...to be continued)

First Published: Sep 26, 2002 19:38 IST