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    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    War in Kashmir*

    Kashmir, a princely state inhabited predominantly by Muslims, became the next major source of friction between India and Pakistan. Here, the situation was the exact opposite of that in Junagadh. On Oct. 24, 1947, Muslim insurgents, supported by invading coreligionists from the North-West Frontier Province, proclaimed establishment of a "Provisional Government of Kashmir." Three days later the Hindu leader Hari Singh, maharaja of Kashmir (1895-1961), announced the accession of Kashmir to the Union of India. Approving the maharaja’s decision and promising a plebiscite after the restoration of peace, the Indian government immediately dispatched troops to Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir and the major objective of the insurgents. Hostilities quickly attained serious proportions, and at New Year 1948 the Indian government filed a formal complaint with the UN Security Council, accusing Pakistan of giving help to the Muslim insurgents. Despite repeated attempts by the Security Council to obtain a truce in the troubled area, fighting continued throughout 1948. The peacemaking efforts of the Security Council finally met with success at New Year 1949, when both India and Pakistan accepted proposals for a plebiscite, under the auspices of the UN, on the political future of Kashmir. Cease-fire orders were issued by the two governments on the same day. Among other things, the UN plan provided for the withdrawal of combat troops from the state, for the return of refugees desirous of participating in the plebiscite, and for a free and impartial vote under the direction of a "personality of high international standing." In March UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie appointed U.S. Adm. Chester W. Nimitz administrator of the Kashmir plebiscite, scheduled for later in 1949. Meanwhile both the Union of India and Pakistan had suffered the loss of outstanding leaders and the Indian government had become embroiled in a dispute with the nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur (1886-1967). Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic on Jan. 30, 1948, and Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, died the following September. The tension between the Indian government and Hyderabad, inhabited preponderantly by Hindus, resulted from the reluctance of the nizam, a Muslim, to bring his state into the Union. Protracted negotiations for a peaceful solution of the dispute ended in failure and on September 17 Indian forces occupied Hyderabad, the capital city, ending the nizam’s resistance. The ruler subsequently signed instruments of accession making Hyderabad part of the Union of India. Although India and Pakistan agreed (July 1949) on a line demarcating their respective zones of occupation in Kashmir, the two nations were unable to reconcile basic differences on the terms of the proposed plebiscite. The deadlock was primarily due to Indian insistence that Pakistani troops be withdrawn from the disputed territory before the plebiscite and to Pakistan’s refusal to withdraw its troops unless the Indians also withdrew theirs.


    1 comment:

    Vasantha Mohan said...


    Relations between the two states grew worse in October when the Indian armed forces surrounded Junagadh, a princely state on the Kathiawar Peninsula. This action was taken because the nawab of the state, which had a large majority of Hindus, had previously announced that he would affiliate with Pakistan. The Indian military authorities subsequently assumed control of the state, pending a plebiscite.