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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: Jul 24, 2003 18:22 IST

Kashmir continues to be a vexed issue, that remains unresolved between India and Pakistan and is the root cause of Indo-Pak tensions, even after 53 years of independence. While a lot has been said about the Jammu and Kashmir issue and ways to find a solution to it, the fact remains that mutual distrust and suspicion still keeps India and Pakistan poles apart. This distrust, has stemmed from the Kashmir policies, that the two countries embarked on all these years and the rhetoric used to meet political ends.

Both India and Pakistan went ahead with their Kashmir policies so far that none of them can today, even think about a possible flexibility in their stands. They stand hostage to the very population whom they have made to belive, "come whatever Kashmir was their territory". Flexibility by either party during negotiations would be perceived to be a sell-out to the other by the population in each country. This is what makes the Kashmir issue a complex one and negotiations on it all the more complex.

Jammu and Kashmir which ceded into Indian dominion is considered by India as its integral part while Pakistan claims that the Muslim majority state is its natural part. Unwilling to accept Jammu and Kashmir as Indian territory Pakistan has over years tried all it could, diplomatically and militarily to annex the state. However, all its efforts failed and since late 1980s Pakistan has been supporting a jehad (holy war) in the valley, with a view to bleed India militarily and economically and force it to come to the negotiating table.

Insurgency from across the border and activities of speratist groups are nothing new in Jammu and Kashmir. It started with the signing of the Instrument of Accession, by Maharaja Hari Singh, then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir on October 26, 1947. It was accepted by Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General.

Eversince, there has been several attempts to foment trouble in the state and weaken the control of India on it. When the covert and overt military operations by Pakistan failed to yeild the desired results Pakistan, thought about introducing religious fundamentalism to fan trouble in the state since 1989. Under the garb of "moral support" to the Kashmiri freedom struggle the Pakistan government and its military establishment has been arming and training terrorists, besides facilitating their infiltration across the borders.

The surge in terrorism in the valley post 1989 has led to a large-scale exodus of Hindu population from the state. Hindus have left the valley and are mainly concentrated in Jammu.

The activity of seperatist groups were initially limited with little or no support within the valley and were fanned from across the borders. With increased violence efforts were being made by some groups to legitimise terrorism and make it look an internal issue of the people of Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and were on the brink of another war with over a million troops in eyeball to eyeball confrontation along the border after the December 13, 2001 terrorist strike of Indian Parliament. The troops stayed mobilised for the greater part of 2002, till de-escalatory measures were taken by both sides.

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 Pakistani 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 Kashmir 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.

First Published: May 27, 2003 19:52 IST