India-aware Interviews Expert Think-tank
On top of its map, India has a snow-clad northwestern subcontinent called as Kashmir. The north-east area of the region is belted by Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. The eastern part is surrounded by Tibet Autonomous region proceeding with Indian states in the south, Pakistan to the west and Afghanistan to the north-west. The west side of Jammu and Kashmir is administered by Pakistan and controlled by the Pakistani military. This is a division of greater Kashmir and also joins the borderline of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The area which is controlled by Pakistan is fleetingly named as ‘Azad Kashmir’. Back in the time, this region was invaded by Pakistan in the year 1947 and has been a matter of dispute since then. The invasion led to war between India and Pakistan around the area what is now called as, “Line of Control”. (https://www.britannica.com/place/Kashmir-region-Indian-subcontinent)
The line of Control divides the territory of a former Indian princely state, Jammu and Kashmir.
Since the area which falls under the control of Pakistani military legitimately belongs to India; there has been a strong sentiment of betrayal against Pakistan. India also reached to United Nations for the resolution of this dispute which led to the suggestion of conduct of plebiscite (A direct voting of members on a disputable public question being referred to them. In this reference, the accession of Kashmir to India or Pakistan is considered) for a safer future of Kashmir. Since it had been the matter of selfdom and betrayal, India did not want to unclasp the military vigilance from that area. The withdrawal of the Pakistani army and partial withdrawal of Indian army was the pre-condition of the plebiscite. As a result, in the year 1949, a cease-fire line was introduced to undermine the great level of dispute among the two countries.
Even now after almost 70 years of independence, the region is de-facto divided between the two countries. This struggled area is also called as ‘Pakistan occupied Kashmir’ (PoK).
India-aware Interviewed IDSA Member on the Matter of PoK
This time, the India-aware team interviewed Dr. Ashok from Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis, New Delhi. The organizational body is supported and financed by Indian Ministry of Defence. IDSA works like a think tank for all advanced level research in security, inter-country disputes, and government strategies. The organization also coaches military and civilian officers from the Government of India. It is more like an unbiased and independent body which deal with all the policy aspects if defense and research. It takes active participation in distributing defense and security associated insights.
Media tagged the IDSA as one of the most considerable and impactful think-tanks.
IDSA has been operating from the year, 1965. In our interview with IDSA member Dr. Ashok, our team raised various legit questions about the long-hovering issue of PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). The region suffers a great deal of turmoil, as the state is not a participant in the Parliament of Pakistan. The state runs its own judicial bodies in the form of High Court and Supreme Court. Despite the fact that, Pakistan invaded in this region and occupied it on an illegitimate basis, they do not provide it a status of Pakistani province. Hence, the region lacks the abundance of all the necessities of good education, peaceful environment and secure and healthy lifestyle.
History of PoK
The Kashmir conflict is going unsettled for a couple of decades. Three wars have already been fought amidst the two nations and the rising nuclear power is making the conditions even frightful.
Below, we have listed the highlighted events from the past of Kashmir area. All the happenings are displayed in a chronological order to give a better understanding to readers:
- 1846 | Creation of Jammu and Kashmir
A treaty of Amritsar between the East India company and Raja Gulab Singh origin of J&K. Raja Gulab Singh bought Kashmir Valley from the East India Company for an agreed amount of Rs.75,00,000 and merged it into Jammu and Ladakh parts of his territory. already under his rule. The cultural identity of Kashmir region is popularly called as ‘kashmiriyat’.
- 1932 | Sheikh Abdullah Joined Kashmiri Freedom Movement
Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was the founder of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. He fought for removing the system of feudalism in the region. The founded party became the National Conference in the year 1939.
- 1946 | Quit Kashmir Movement
Sheikh Abdullah asked for the abolition of Treaty of Amritsar and introduction of sovereignty and dominion to natives of Kashmir.
- 1947 | Political Integration of Indian Princely States
As on August 15th, India becomes independent, and princely states are asked to surrender their states to either of the adjoining dominions, India and Pakistan.
To simplify the process, the rulers of these states were expected to accede their territories to geographically adjacent supremacy along with considering the preferences of the people. In the areas of dispute, the provision of the plebiscite was proposed. In the case of Kashmir, the proposal of the plebiscite was accepted by India.
Just like in case of Junagadh, where India proposed and won plebiscite, in case of Kashmir, similar results were expected. But, no plebiscite could be applied as Pakistan went with its double standards and tried to keep the region illegitimately.
The region underwent a massive amount of communal violence. It started from the region of Poonch, from where they further demanded “Azad” Kashmir.
Political parties like Muslim Conference and officials from Gilgit area suggested Maharaja accede the state to Indian Union, in order to maintain peace and prosperity. On September 29th, Sheikh Abdullah was released from prison India proposed to do so.
Although Abdullah greatly favoured an independent Kashmiri Muslim state, over the time, he often oscillated among favouring India and his core motive.
- Violation of Standstill Agreement | Pakistan Invaded Kashmir
On the day of 22nd October, thousands of Pathan tribesmen pervaded in Kashmir from Pakistan. They were allegedly hired by the Poonch’s pro-Pakistan revolutionaries and they invaded along with their counterpart (Poonch rebels). The after-scenario was a horrifying episode of loot and mass-murders.
It was also reported that these Pathan tribesmen were vigorously backed by many high-profile people from Pakistan. The list also included Pakistani PM Liaquat Ali Khan along with the CM of North-West Province.
It was a clear breach of Standstill Agreement between dominion states as Pakistan engaged into sheer aggression by sending tribesman to Indian territorial area. India accused Pakistan of the same, but Pakistan refused any such charges.
- 1947 | Signing of IOA (Instrument of Accession)
On October 26th, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession which referred to 75% majority Muslim region to the Indian Union. On October 27th, the Indian forces entered the state to revolt the intruders.
During November 1947, India asked Pakistan to withdraw its troops according to the condition of the plebiscite. However, Pakistan rejected this proposal in order to maintain it’s domineering in the Kashmir area. They also feared that Kashmiris may not vote freely given Sheikh Abdullah’s close relations with former PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Pakistan asked for the concurrent withdrawal of Indian troops followed by a plebiscite happening under international auspices, which India did not accept. Pakistan sent forces to Kashmir that led to first war over the Kashmir region.
- 1948 | India Approached UN
India approached the United Nations (UN) Security Council on January 1st.
- 1949 | Captivation of Kashmir forming it as POK
A ceasefire between the dominion forces gives India the control of the major part if the valley which merged into Jammu and Ladakh. On the other hand, Pakistan kept the region of Kashmir part which they call as “Azad Kashmir”. On the other hand, India terms it as POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).
- 1951| Sheikh Abdullah Won the General Election in the Region
In the first time post-independence elections, Sheikh Abdullah won. Further, in the year 1952, he signed Delhi Agreement with the Indian government which defined Centre-State relations. Article 370 came into the picture, according to which state was allowed to have its own flag.
- 1953-54 | Sheikh Abdullah got Arrested
When Abdullah delayed the final accession of Kashmir to India, Abdullah was dismissed from the position and arrested. After him, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad came into power that succeeded the accession.
The instances of history about POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), gives us insight into this long-held matter. In its interview with IDSA, India-aware highlighted some important aspect over Kashmir valley dispute.
Opinions of IDSA Think Tank about Surgical Strike
Interviewer: Recently, PM Modi conducted surgical strikes across the LOC and hit terror camps hard which no government could venture before. Pakistan seems to only understand this as a message of strength. Isn’t it time now to hit hard across the LOC and the hold the terrorism?
Ans. This surgical strike that we had in September 2017 was a reaction to the militant attack was basically done to convey this message to Pakistan that its policy of using terror an instrument of its foreign policy will not succeed.
Because we know that the several terrorist camps close to the LOC, set up by the Pakistani intelligence. That was a very well considered decision at that point in time to convey to Pakistan that India cannot suffer this nonsense endlessly. It has the wherewithal to take action but these messages we conveyed to Pakistan episodically, in my opinion, will not be a deterrent enough for Pakistani intelligence agency and its security forces.
We have to do a couple it up with you know purposeful communication at several levels. At different levels, we have to communicate it to Pakistan and we have heard an example in the past, where there was absolutely no problem whatsoever for the Indian government to raise fences across the LOC. We had a period of lull, so that period of lull can come back again if we engage Pakistan in a meaningful purposeful communication not call it dialogue but we can go ahead and structure the communication in a manner that in cases of attacks like we are communicating strongly that this cannot go on endlessly.
We are a responsible country, if we were to go across, we would have done that long back. We have not done it because we believe in resolving issues through dialogue. We do not intend to resort to war visibly to solve our issues and we are a responsible country so that is why at the height of the Kargil war which we have won we didn’t get into Pakistan. Even if it legitimately belongs to us and even if you know there was a very strong sentiment that we need to get into Pok.
Despite the whole discussion, there is a myriad of questions to be addressed regarding the long-held discourse of Kashmir matter. It adds various aspects from respecting the geographical boundaries of a nation to reweaving the considerations of the people of Kashmir. The solutions proposed by UN seems more like outdated outcomes in this matter. Despite government, various non-governmental organizations are also taking a great amount of interest in this matter. The basic propaganda revolves around bringing Pandits and Muslims together, which seems like the only peaceful resolution of this issue.
A more open-minded approach towards the Pandits, who once left the valley and wants to go back, can make things better. On obvious terms, the government, civil societies, and political parties have a major role to play in this concord.