Kashmir

This trouble spot is naturally one of the most beautiful places on earth / sticholidays.com

This trouble spot is naturally one of the most beautiful places on earth / sticholidays.com

1947/48 saw the biggest break-up in the disgraceful dismemberment of the British Empire, whose most important ‘colony’ was India. Lord Mountbatten (q.v.) was sent to supervise the partition of India. At this time Kashmir was mostly populated with Muslims, though ruled by Hindus – lunacy on a grand scale. In October there was a Muslim-orchestrated uprising in the west, naturally supported across the border by Pakistan. Kashmir howled for help from India, and got some; but Indian troops would only act in exchange for Kashmir becoming part of the Indian Union.

The United Nations, drowsy as per usual, let fighting go on for several months before intervening in 1949, establishing a cease-fire zone along a line which left most of Kashmir in India. Then India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965, perhaps with the idea of keeping the population down, but a truce was announced in 1966.

In 1971, after the Bangladesh War, both India and Pakistan agreed that the Kashmir problem, which had never gone away ought to be sorted out mutually, or bilaterally if possible. Nothing has been done and fighting breaks out in Kashmir sporadically, with the Kashmiris demanding an independent nation. In 1999 armed conflicts took place, supposedly prompted by units of the Pakistan army, so India responded with her new jets operating air-strikes.

July 2001 saw the failure of another Indo-Pakistan peace summit. By now someone in the United States had learnt where Kashmir was and suggested that Pakistan should control the militant Kashmiris while the Afghan War was going on. Trouble with Kashmir was diverting attention while more important wars were being fought. Far from being controlled by anybody, there were Kashmiri attacks on the Kashmir Assembly in October 2001, as well as an assault on the Parliament in India, and things looked black to political observers until in January 2002 President Musharraf of Pakistan demanded a agreement, adding that Kashmiri fighters would no longer be permitted to operate from Pakistan – a very low blow for the Kashmiri fighters.

The mess remained, and tension was high in 2003 during which year there were open battles between the Indian and Pakistan armies over the Line of Control (LOC). In June, 2004 diplomatic ‘talks’ took place between Pakistan and India, with reference to Kashmir, raising hope for a permanent peace. There has been no permanent peace.

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