The so-called Kashmir problem came into being almost with the independence of the country. Through 50 years have passed, the problem still remain unsolved. Kashmir still remains the most important source of friction between India and Pakistan.
The British withdrew from India on 15th august, 1947. The princely Indian states were given the option either to (a) accede to India; (b) accede to Pakistan (c) become independent. No serious difficulties arose in the case of the other states. But the position of the Kashmir is unique. It is contiguous both with India and Pakistan, so it could accede to either of them. Both desired it, for the state is not only a ‘heaven upon earth’, it is so far reaching significance from the military point of view. While it was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja, its population was predominantly Muslim. In this fact, lay the real problem, Pakistan claimed it as its own, for it has a predominantly Muslim population.
The Hindu Maharaja was still hesitating whether to join India or Pakistan, when Pakistan encouraged her-war like tribes to enter the state. They were supported by regular Pakistan army. Having no other option left to him, the Maharaja acceded to India and urgently requested for help. The accession was endorsed by the popularly elected constituent Assembly of Kashmir. Indian armies were flown over to Srinagar immediately, and the invaders were pushed out of the Kashmir valley. They could not be thrown out of the rest of the state territory, for to do so would have meant bombing of military bases in Pakistan. As India wanted to avoid an all out war, it complained to the Security Council against Pakistan. A cease-fire was declared immediately, as a result of which Pakistan remained and still remains, in illegal possession of a part of the state which is called “Azad Kashmir” by Pakistan.
The U.N.O. then made various efforts to settle the dispute peacefully. The true facts thus came to light, and Pakistan was accepted by both the countries. The resolution provided that (1) Pakistan would withdraw all its forces from the state. (2) That the Azad Kashmir government and its forces would be disbanded, and (3) when conditions permit, India too, would gradually withdraw her forces. Time passed, but Pakistan did not withdraw her forces nor did it disband the Azad Kashmir Government. Every year it complained to the U.N.O. that was India was oppressing the Kashmir Muslims and the Islam was in danger. On countries occasions, she was guilty of violations of the cease-fire line. Power polities of the big powers also came in the way of a just solution of this dispute.
The rules of Pakistan took to the war path. When the U.S.A. did not encourage them in their war-like actions, they turned to China for help. Encouraged by China, they sent infiltrators into Kashmir in Sep., 1965. This led to an all out war between India and Pakistan. The Pakistan army was badly defeated and its armory destroyed. However, late Mr. Shastri’s statesmanship enables the two countries agreed not to use force, but to solve the Kashmir problem by peaceful means.
The position at the present is that the armies of the two countries still confront each other along the cease-fire line. While Pakistan continues to demand Kashmir, India declares that the only problem is that the aggressor should be asked to vacate. Both countries are spending huge amount over their armies in Kashmir. No solution of the problem seems to be in sight in the near future. The relations of the two countries continue to be bitter and hostile. Even the crushing defeat suffered by Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan war of Dec. 1971, has fail to make that country see reason. Efforts were made through the Shimla Agreement to normalize relation with Pakistan, but not too much avail.
In more recent times, there has been considerable deterioration in the situation in Kashmir. The Pakistan trained subversives have infiltrated into the valley in large numbers. One slogan, “Independent Kashmir” has been used to misguide the people. Pakistan has tried its best to politicize the problem and win international support for its point of view. It seems that the two countries were on the very brink of war. However, good sense prevailed and the danger of war receded. But violence still continues, life in the state is still insecure and thousands have migrated from the valley into Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country. Kashmir problem is the most serious problem that India faces today.