Friday, August 21, 2009
Pakistan’s Relations with India
Since partition of the sub-continent in 1947, relations between Pakistan and India have been characterized y rivalry and suspicion. The animosity has its roots in religion and history, and is epitomized by the long-running conflict over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This has recently escalated into a dangerous nuclear arms race.
Historical Background: The Indian subcontinent was partitioned into Hindu-dominated India and the newly created Muslim state of Pakistan after India’s independence from Great Britain in 1947. Severe rioting and population movement ensued and an estimated half a million people were killed in communal violence. About a million people were left homeless. Since partition, the territory of Jammu and Kashmir has remained in dispute, with Pakistan and India both holding sectors. Over 57 years later, Pakistanis still believe that Jammu and Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan because the majority of the state’s population, concentrated in the valley of Kashmir, is Muslim. India, says the state of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India because by the October 1947 instrument of accession, the Maharaja finally agreed to join India.
First Indo-Pakistani war 47 – 49: At the time of partition, the princely state of Kashmir, through ruled by a Hindu Maharajah, had an overwhelmingly Muslim population. When the Maharajah hesitated in acceding to either Pakistan or India in 1947, some of his Muslim subjects, aided by tribesmen from Pakistan, revolted in favour of joining Pakistan.
The first Indo-Pakistani war started after armed tribesmen from Pakistan’s North – West Frontier Province invaded Kashmir in October 1947. Besieged both by a revolt in his state and by the invasion, the Maharaja requested armed assistance from the government of India. In return he acceded to India, handing over powers of defence, communication and foreign affairs. Both India and Pakistan agreed that the accession would be confirmed by a referendum once hostilities had ceased. In May 1948, the regular army was called upon to protect Pakistan’s borders. Fighting continued throughout the year between Pakistani irregular troops and the Indian army. The war ended on 1st January 1949 when a ceasefire was arranged by the United Nations, which recommended that both Indian and Pakistan should adhere to their commitment to hold a referendum in the state. A ceasefire line was established where the two sides topped fighting and a UN peacekeeping force established. The referendum, however, has never been held.
The 1965 war: In April 1965, a clash between border patrols erupted into fighting in the Rann of Kutch, a sparsely inhabited region along the south-western Indo-Pakistani border. When the Indians withdrew, Pakistan claimed victory. Later, full-scale hostilities erupted in September 1965, when India alleged that insurgents trained and supplied by Pakistan were operating in India-controlled Kashmir. Hostilities ceased three weeks later, following mediation efforts by the UN and interested countries. In January 1966, Indian and Pakistani representatives met in Tashkent, U. S. S. R, and agreed to attempt a peaceful settlement of Kashmir and their other differences.
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