gfiles magazine

July 10, 2012

Waiting for peace

A positive action on the report by the three interlocuters appointed in 2010, might just give an opportunity to bring lasting peace in Kashmir
Three wars have been fought over it, a major part of the Indian army is tied up there and it is probably the country’s most intractable problem since Independence. I am of course referring to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which former US President Bill Clinton once famously called “the most dangerous place on earth”.
When the transfer of power from the British took place, all the princely States were asked whether they wanted to accede to India or Pakistan. Kashmir was in a unique position: It had a Muslim majority but a Hindu ruler. There was also Sheikh Abdullah. He and the popular party he led was pro-India, as he was close to both Nehru and Gandhi.
In the event, Kashmir’s ruler, scared by the invasion of “irregulars” from across the border, opted for India, to the shock of Pakistan. The “irregulars” had overrun the State forces and reached the outskirts of Srinagar when New Delhi airlifted troops and pushed the raiders back. A ceasefire was called by the United Nations and a Line of Control established. The democrat that he was, Nehru promised a plebiscite would be held after both sides withdrew their forces from the State, whereby Kashmiris could decide which country they wanted to be with (Pakistan did not do this, giving India the excuse to say that the main condition for holding the plebiscite had not been met)........READMORE

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