Debate over accession of Jammu Kashmir
The primary argument for the continuing debate over the ownership of Kashmir is that India did not hold the promised plebiscite. In fact, neither side has adhered to the UN resolution of 13 August 1948; while India chose not to hold the plebiscite, Pakistan failed to withdraw its troops from Kashmir as was required under the resolution.
India gives the following reasons for not holding the plebiscite:
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 on Kashmir was passed by UNSC under chapter VI of UN Charter, which are non binding and have no mandatory enforceability. In March 2001, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan during his visit to India and Pakistan, remarked that Kashmir resolutions are only advisory recommendations and comparing with those on East Timor and Iraq was like comparing apples and oranges, since those resolutions were passed under chapter VII, which make it enforceable by UNSC. In 2003, then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf announced that Pakistan was willing to back off from demand for UN resolutions for Kashmir.
- Moreover, India alleges that Pakistan failed to fulfill the pre-conditions by withdrawing its troops from the Kashmir region as was required under the same UN resolution of 13 August 1948 which discussed the plebiscite.
India has consistently told that UN resolutions are now completely irrelevant and Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue and it has to be resolved under 1972 Simla Agreement and 1999 Lahore Declaration.
- The 1948–49 UN resolutions can no longer be applied, according to India, because of changes in the original territory, with some parts “having been handed over to China by Pakistan and demographic changes having been effected in Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas.”
- Another reason for the abandonment of the referendum is because demographic changes after 1947 have been effected in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as generations of Pakistani individuals non-native to the region have been allowed to take residence in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Furthermore, India alleges that in Jammu & Kashmir state of India, the demographics of the Kashmir Valley have been altered after separatist militants coerced 250,000 Kashmiri Hindus to leave the region.
- India cites the 1951 elected Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, which voted in favour of confirming accession to India. Also, the 2014 assembly elections saw the highest voter turnout in the state in the last 25 years, prompting Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to claim that it reflects the faith of the Kashmiri people in the democratic system of India and that they have given a “strong message to the world”.
In response Pakistan holds that:
- A statement from the British Cabinet Mission in India in 1946 confirmed that Jammu and Kashmir, a princely state at the time of partition, was a sovereign territory, and Article 7 of the Indian Independence Act of 1947 dealing with lapse of suzerainty of the British Crown over the Indian states reaffirmed this fact, so the Kashmiri people had a vested right of self-determination from the time of independence.
- The Kashmiri’s right of self-determination was further secured by the progressive development of customary international law in relation to this collective freedom. General Assembly Resolution 1514 (1960) firmly recognized the right of colonial people to self-determination; and General Assembly Resolution 2625 (1970) subsequently affirmed the right of internal self-determination, which the population of Kashmir has consistently been deprived of
The popular Kashmiri insurgency which erupted on 1989 demonstrates that the Kashmiri people no longer wish to remain within India. Pakistan suggests that this means that Kashmir either wants to be with Pakistan or independent.
- According to the two-nation theory, which is one of the theories that is cited for the partition that created India and Pakistan, Kashmir should have been with Pakistan, because it has a Muslim majority.
- India has shown disregard to the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the United Nations Commission in India and Pakistan by failing to hold a plebiscite to determine the future allegiance of the state.
In 2007 there have been reports of extrajudicial killings in Indian-administered Kashmir by Indian security forces while claiming they were caught up in encounters with militants. The encounters go largely uninvestigated by the authorities, and the perpetrators are spared criminal prosecution. Human rights organisations have strongly condemned Indian troops for widespread abuses and murder of civilians while accusing these civilians of being militants.
Diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan soured for many other reasons and eventually resulted in three further wars in Kashmir the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and the Kargil War in 1999. India has control of 60% of the area of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir (Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Siachen Glacier); Pakistan controls 30% of the region (Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir). China administers 10% (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract) of the state since 1962.
The Chenab formula was a compromise proposed in the 1960s, in which the Kashmir valley and other Muslim-dominated areas north of the Chenab river would go to Pakistan, and Jammu and other Hindu-dominated regions would go to India.
The eastern region of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir has also been beset with a boundary dispute. In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Tibet, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern borders of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and the official Chinese position did not change with the communist revolution in 1949. By the mid-1950s the Chinese army had entered the northeast portion of Ladakh.
By 1956–57 they had completed a military road through the Aksai Chin area to provide better communication between Xinjiang and western Tibet. India’s belated discovery of this road led to border clashes between the two countries that culminated in the Sino-Indian war of October 1962. China has occupied Aksai Chin since 1962 and, in addition, an adjoining region, the Trans-Karakoram Tract was ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.
For intermittent periods between 1957, when the state approved its own Constitution,and the death of Sheikh Abdullah in 1982, the state had alternating spells of stability and discontent. In the late 1980s, however, simmering discontent over the high-handed policies of the Union Government and allegations of the rigging of the 1987 assembly elections triggered a violent uprising which was backed by Pakistan.
Since then, the region has seen a prolonged, bloody conflict between separatists and the Indian Army, both of whom have been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including abductions, massacres, rapes and armed robbery. The army has officially denied these allegations.However, violence in the state has been on the decline since 2004 with the peace process between India and Pakistan.