Headlines India
Latest Online India News Update Volume-VIII India News
India Claims

The Government of India administers almost 60% of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is unequivocal on its stand - “Kashmir is an integral part of India”. The official map of the state, as approved by the Indian Government, shows the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and Aksai Chin, as part of Indian Territory. According to the Indian government the Instrument of Accession was a legal act executed without any deceit or coercion.

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Pakistan Claims

Pakistan authorities refer to the 1933 Pakistan Declaration and claim Kashmir to be one of the Indian units that were to secede from India and join Pakistan. Pakistan claims that the accession to India was unconstitutional since it violated the terms of the ‘Standstill Agreement’ between Pakistan and the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan was formed on the basis of the Two Nation Theory. Since most of the people inhabiting the Kashmir valley are Muslims,

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A History of Dissent

In 1947, before they withdrew colonial authority, the British Government divided the Indian subcontinent into two states, based largely on religious demographics. The primarily Muslim nation, Dominion of Pakistan, was formed on August 14, 1947 and the largely Hindu state, Union of India, was formed on August 15, 1947. In one of the largest instances of population transfers post World War II, over 11.2 million people moved from their homes as a result of the partition. Over 5 million Hindus and Sikhs moved to India, primarily from West Punjab, and about 6 million Muslims moved from India to present-day Pakistan. A poorly executed transfer resulted in violent communal disputes and caused about 500,000 deaths.



Simultaneously, India and Pakistan became embroiled a territorial dispute over Kashmir - an issue that was to poignantly mark the newly-formed neighborhood with hostility and distrust for times to come. Three major wars later, the two countries still nurture a legacy of conflict and hostility over the international boundary in Kashmir. It is estimated that the conflict has resulted in over 13,000 deaths in the Kashmir province in the past four decades. Insurgency has claimed a further 47,000 lives in the last twenty years alone. The history of political dissent in the Kashmir region does not, however, begin with the partition. To understand the background of the territorial claims we shall need to delve into the history of the state.


An Ancient Past

An in-depth study of the history of the Kashmir region reveals that the dispute goes way back in time. It precedes the creation of India and Pakistan as nations. References to the Kashmir Valley are replete in ancient Hindu mythology. According to legend, ancient Kashmir has long been under the sway of various rajas. The first raja was Adgonand, who ascended the throne in 4249 B.C. at a time when Egypt was said to have been ruled by demigods. He was succeeded by his son Danudar who was killed by the Yadhus, the tribe to which Krishna belonged.

The Kashmir region was ruled by the Kambojas and later by the Panchalas in the fourth and fifth centuries BC. With the spread of Mauryan dominion over most of the Indian subcontinent, Buddhism as a religion found a strong base in Kashmir. The Mauryan emperor Asoka is credited with the establishment of Srinagar. It comes as no surprise, then, that the valley has shared close cultural ties with China. A number of Buddhist thinkers used Kashmir as their base to spread the religion to China and Tibet during the reign of the Kushan kings.

Islam Finds Its Feet In The Valley
Through the first millennium, the Kashmir valley saw many alternating phases of prosperity and misery under the Hindu rulers. In 1320, the Kashmir valley was invaded by the Mongol ruler Zulquadr Khan (known as Dulacha) ending Hindu rule. He came to Kashmir through the Baramulla pass and plundered Srinagar. As there was no organized government, the local chiefs declared independence. Among those who took advantage of prevailing anarchy was Rinchana, the son of the Ladhak chief. Rinchana entered Kashmir through Zoji-La Pass. He converted himself into a Muslim and assumed the name Sadr-u-din. He died in the year 1323. From 1323 to 1338 the state was ruled by Udayanadeva. Shams-ud-Din Shah Mir, the first Pashtun ruler of the region came from the tribal Swat region of Afghanistan and established Muslim reign in the valley in about 1339. Some of the subsequent rulers such as Sultan-Sikandar persecuted the Hindus of the region and a mass exodus followed. The spread of Islam during this period was widespread. By 1586 the Kashmir Valley was annexed by the Mughal ruler Akbar. In 1589 AD, Kashmir became a province of the Mughal Empire. By the time Aurangzeb came to ascend the Mughal throne, the governors of Kashmir seemed to have taken to ravaging the natural bounty of the land and ruthlessly pursued religious fanaticism. By 1752, Kashmiri nobles invited Ahmad Shah Adbali of Kabul to invade and annex the land. Kashmir soon became part of the Pathan rule. It is generally agreed that despite the persecution of some rulers the Hindus and Muslims of the region lived in relative harmony and Kashmir evolved into a society where the intellectuals – both Kashmiri pandits and the erudite Muslims - were a dominant force.

Brokering A Kingdom
Through the early nineteenth century, religious despotism, cruelty, and poverty shrouded the Kahmir Valley and this lasted till the Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh conquered the state in 1819. In 1822, Ranjit Deo’s nephew Gulab Singh was designated “Raja of Jammu” by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Gulab Singh successfully annexed the Baltistan and Ladakh regions. The death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 accelerated the collision between the Sikh Empire and the British authorities. Gulab Singh, who had initially remained neutral, contrived to act as an advisor to Sir Henry Lawrence with the outbreak of the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1845. The conclusion of the treaties of Lahore and Amritsar left the Britishers in charge of the Sate of Lahore including all of West Punjab. Gulab Singh signed a separate treaty with the British, which gave him the status of an independent princely ruler of Kashmir. The Kashmir Valley was handed over to Gulab Singh by the Britishers for a payment of seventy-five lakh rupees. Having placed himself favorably with the British authorities, Gulab Singh found the opportunity perfect to orchestrate his ascendancy. Gulab Singh died in 1857 and was replaced by Rambir Singh (1857-1885). Two other Maharajas, Partab Singh (1885-1925) and Hari Singh (1925-1949) ruled in succession.

The Princely State Of Jammu And Kashmir
The Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, though ruled as a unitary kingdom by the Dogras (Gulab Singh and successors), remained divided by disparate religions and ethnic groups. While the Kashmir Valley was predominantly Sunni but both Baltistan and Gilgit regions were populated by a majority of Shi’a Muslims; Jammu, the traditional seat of the Dogra kings, was inhabited in equal measure by Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. The people of the Ladhakh region practiced Buddhism and shared close cultural ties with China and Tibet. The Poonch region was primarily inhabited by Muslims. The Kashmiri Pandits of the valley region wielded much influence in cultural and political matters.

Gulab Singh’s demise in 1857 tied in closely with the Indian Rebellion, popularly known as the Sepoy Mutiny. The Dogras of Kashmir supported the British forces and subsequently ruled the state under the Paramountcy of the British Crown.

The Disputed Instrument of Accession

In 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh Dogra, the great-grandson of Gulab Singh, was offered a choice – the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir could join either of the newly formed states of India and Pakistan or could remain independent. The undecided Maharaja entered into a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan allowing for continuation of normal trade and exchanges till a settlement was reached. In the meantime, a rebel faction from Poonch revolted against the Maharaja’s rule and declared the formation of Azad Kashmir, an independent government. By the October of 1947, the Poonch rebel faction invited Pakistani guerilla troops to engage in a campaign to dissuade Kashmir from joining India. The guerilla troops left a trail of plunder and murder across Kashmir. Perturbed by the unsettling new development, Maharaja Hari Singh appealed to the British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. As suggested by Mountbatten, the Maharaja agreed to accede to India on the condition that Indian troops would evict the Pakistani lashkars from Jammu and Kashmir. On October 26, 1947, the king executed the Instrument of Accession and Jammu and Kashmir was thus poised to join the Dominion of India. Mountbatten formally accepted the accession. With this, the Maharaja handed over the valley to India. By the instrument of Accession, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir accepted three subjects as ones on which the Dominion Legislature can make laws. They are- Defense, External Affairs, and Communication. Lord Mountbatten remarked that the state’s accession be eventually settled by a referendum. Pakistan contested the accession on the grounds that Kashmir’s Standstill Agreement with Pakistan was still in force at the time. India has maintained ever since that the state has been irrevocable acceded to India following the Instrument of Accession, Pakistan has maintained that the people of Kashmir be allowed to participate in a referendum to settle the issue.

Three Wars and a Line of Control

Three major and bloody wars have been fought by the two countries over Kashmir since 1947. The Indo-Pakistan War of 1947 resulted from Maharaja Hari Singh’s execution of the Instrument of Accession. When war escalated to vociferous levels India invited mediation by the international community and the United Nations. The war ended in December 1948 by which time the Line of Control (LOC) was established to demarcate the administrative segments of Kashmir. The international boundary dispute was still left pending. The war of 1965 ended after bleeding the two countries. Thousands of lives had been lost and the intervention of USA and erstwhile USSR had become necessary. India recorded a victory but the damages to both nations. On January 10 1966, the Tashkent Declaration was signed and the two nations withdrew forces to the LOC. The war of 1971 was unrelated to the Kashmir issue and centered on Bangladesh.

Later, in 1999, the Kargil War reopened raw wounds. Pakistani troops infiltrated the Kargil district across the LOC and assisted insurgents in the area. India retaliated and the war that ensued caused panic in the international community with the threat of a nuclear war becoming imminent. International pressure forced Pakistan to withdraw. Besides, with the Indian army having reclaimed the Tiger Hills and other strategic peaks in the Batalik, Pakistan had not much to gain by pressing on with the offensive. Over the years, a number of clashes have marked the Siachen Glacier region where the Line of Control is not clearly chalked out.


Different Map Versions

Wikipedia Read in detail
CIA Map Read in detail
BBC Read in detail
Lonely Planet Read in detail

Snippets

LOC and Shimla Agreement – UN Perspective
In 1949, following the first India-Pakistan War the UN Ceasefire Line was accepted as the line of administrative control for defense purposes. Read in detail
Kashmir – One and Many
With the end of the first India-Pakistan War in 1949, Pakistan divided Kashmir into a number of regions. Read in detail
Tripartite Dispute
Apart from Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, there emerged a new aspect to the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan Read in detail
Is Plebiscite a Likely Solution?
It is widely believed that a plebiscite or a referendum is the best possible means of settling the Kashmir dispute. Read in detail
Popular Opinion
The thinly-veiled hostility between India and Pakistan results in diplomatic strains when it comes to other countries dealing with these two nations. War, however, Read in detail

The Backstory

With the British decision to withdraw from the Indian subcontinent having become certain, it became imminent for India and Pakistan to agree on the terms of the partition and to decide on the fate of the 562 princely states that existed in 1947. On July 18, 1947, the Indian Independence Act received the Royal Assent of the British Crown and the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India came into existence on August 14 and 15 respectively. Of the princely states, Junagadh initially acceded to Pakistan but the geographic constraints made this untenable. After a brief struggle, Junagadh and Hyderabad joined India.

Why Pakistan?

Pakistan’s claim stems from the fact that Kashmir had always been thought of as a natural territorial extension of Pakistan from the early 1930s when Choudhry Rahmat Ali, an Indian Muslim living in Cambridge, England, had in his pamphlet “Now or Never, Are We to Live or Perish Forever” created the name Pakistan from the five regions – Punjab, Afghan Province, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. In Persian, Pakistan also means “land of the pure”, an implicit gibe at the ritually “pure” high-caste Hindus who dominated the Indian National Congress. Despite having a Hindu ruler, the population of Jammu and Kashmir was predominantly Muslim. The terms of the Indian Independence Act, “the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses”, made it possible for the princely states to choose either nation or remain independent. Pakistan had hence concluded that accession to Pakistan would be Kashmir’s natural choice.

Why India?

Maharaja Hari Singh Dogra, the king of Jammu and Kashmir, delayed his decision to join either India or Pakistan possibly with an intention to remain independent. The king was soon under duress from the Muslim populace of Kashmir and threatened by the rebellion which broke out along the western fringes of the region. While the rebels of Poonch region came to be aided by the Pashtun tribesmen from the Dir region, a guerilla war broke out and left a trail of murder and destruction in Baramulla region. Maharaja Hari Singh Dogra appealed to India for military assistance. India and Pakistan had signed a non-intervention treaty which prohibited India from going up against Pakistan in a state which was not part of the Indian Territory. When the Pakistani guerilla lashkar had reached the outskirts of Srinagar, the Maharaja agreed to join India by signing the disputed Instrument of Accession in October 1947. Indian troops were dispatched to drive out the Pakistani lashkar from the state. India’s claims on the state are the result of a legal accession executed by the king without any coercion.

UN Intervention

Pakistan contested the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. The ensuing Indo-Pakistan War lasted till 1948 when India invited mediation by the United Nations. With Resolution 39 (1948), the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) was established and with Resolution 47 (1948), both India and Pakistan were asked to withdraw their troops and create conditions conducive to holding a free plebiscite. On 1 January, 1949 the UN military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was set up to observe and report on the ceasefire.

International mediation helped to the extent that war between the two nations ended in December 1948 but both countries did not endorse the withdrawal of armed forces and the recommended plebiscite was never held. India controlled over 60% of the territory and went ahead to hold state elections. The state constituent assembly was convened in October 1951. The Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly and later the state Legislative Assembly ratified the accession to India on February 6, 1954. The state constitution was brought into effect on January 26, 1957. This Constitution also ratified the state’s accession to union of India.

Pakistan, on the other hand, encouraged the establishment of Azad Jammu & Kashmir to the south of the Gilgit-Baltistan region as an independent territory but overseen by the authorities at Lahore. The northern tribal region, referred to as Northern Areas was incorporated into Pakistan. The constitution of Pakistan, however, did not make any reference to this province till the 1980s.

Since 1948, the United Nations has passed four resolutions revising the initial recommendations of Resolution 47. A further 11 proposals have been put forth by the United Nations, to demilitarize the region and facilitate the plebiscite. United Nations cannot, however, enforce its resolutions on member states and thus the two countries did not adopt the recommendations to withdraw forces.

More Wars

Three major and bloody wars have been fought by the two countries over Kashmir since 1947. The Indo-Pakistan War of 1947 resulted from Maharaja Hari Singh’s execution of the Instrument of Accession. When war escalated to vociferous levels India invited mediation by the international community and the United Nations. The war ended in December 1948 by which time the Line of Control (LOC) was established to demarcate the administrative segments of Kashmir. The international boundary dispute was still left pending. The war of 1965 ended after bleeding the two countries. Thousands of lives had been lost and the intervention of USA and erstwhile USSR had become necessary. India recorded a victory but the damages to both nations were considerable. On January 10 1966, the Tashkent Declaration was signed and the two nations withdrew forces to the LOC. The war of 1971 was unrelated to the Kashmir issue and centered on Bangladesh.

Later, in 1999, the Kargil War reopened raw wounds. Pakistani troops infiltrated the Kargil district across the LOC and assisted insurgents in the area. India retaliated and the war that ensued caused panic in the international community with the threat of a nuclear war becoming imminent. International pressure forced Pakistan to withdraw. Besides, with the Indian army having reclaimed the Tiger Hills and other strategic peaks in the Batalik, Pakistan had not much to gain by pressing on with the offensive. Over the years, a number of clashes have marked the Siachen Glacier region where the Line of Control is not clearly chalked out.

Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit – Baltistan is the northernmost province of Kashmir which is currently occupied and administered by Pakistan. Commonly referred to as Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), the area was formed by uniting Gilgit, Baltistan, Hunza, and Nagar. The region is part of what India calls Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). The mapping of this region poses a problem to most map-makers since both Pakistan and India consider Gilgit – Baltistan integral regions of their own respective territories.

Despite having occupied the Gilgit – Baltistan region, Pakistan had not officially assigned the region the status of a province due to the country’s commitment to the United Nations Resolution 48. The reluctance of the Government of Pakistan to establish constitutional authority caused much dissatisfaction among the inhabitants of the region.

In April 2008 an international conference was held in Brussels at the European Parliament. The conference was overseen by the International Kashmir Alliance. Most members of the European Conference urged Pakistan to establish regulated administration in the region and to oversee the formation of a judiciary to deal with the human-rights violation concerns in the area. Subsequently in 2009, Pakistan implemented autonomous rule in the province. Pakistan’s President Zardari signed the Gilgit-Balistan Empowerment and Self Governance order on August 29.2009. Though the constitution of Pakistan does not yet officially recognize Gilgit-Baltistan as a province, the region has been provided a status comparable with other provinces. A Legislative Assembly is elected by the people and administration is overseen by the Chief Minister.

Currently Gilgit - Baltistan is a self-governing region administered through a representative government. The judiciary of the province is independent. Currently the office bearers of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, are -

    Governor       Pir Karam Ali Shah
    Chief Minister       Syed Mehdi Shah

Whose Kashmir Is It Anyways?

India’s Position
The Government of India administers almost 60% of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is unequivocal on its stand - “Kashmir is an integral part of India”. The official map of the state, as approved by the Indian Government, shows the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and Aksai Chin, as part of Indian Territory. According to the Indian government the Instrument of Accession was a legal act executed without any deceit or coercion. Ever since the accession, Jammu and Kashmir has been given special concessions and is largely autonomous in deference to the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Furthermore, the Instrument of Accession found the endorsement of the state’s Constituent Assembly, say Indian authorities. The UN Resolution 47 could not be executed due to the refusal of Pakistan to withdraw troops at the time. India also claims that the formation of Azad Kashmir was illegal. The land ceded to China by Pakistan is also deemed illegal, as the land is officially claimed by India. Indian authorities have, however, issued statements from time to time expressing their willingness to settle the issue through bilateral negotiations.

The elections held in 2008 in Jammu and Kashmir by the Government of India had a high turnout. The United Nations regards the poll as free and fair. India was quick to point out that a high turnout of voters indicated that the people of the state endorsed the administrative governance of India.

But insomuch as Kashmir goes, India has remained unambiguous in its stand. In 2010, Government of India issued a statement that “We are very clear in our mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India... And as a vibrant democracy, India has sufficient mechanisms and constitutional safeguards to address issues raised by its citizens in any part of the country”.

In January 2013, relations between the two nations took a sudden plunge as India accused Pakistani army of killing two of its soldiers and providing ‘grave provocation’ by beheading and mutilating one of them. Pakistan promptly denied the claims and countered that India had violated the LOC. Tensions between the two countries escalated as the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Army Day address said, “After this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. What happened at LoC is unacceptable” Brigade-level flag meeting between Indian and Pakistani authorities at Chakan Da Bagh near the Line of Control in Poonch failed to ease the tensions between the two countries.

From time to time, demands for the liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistani occupation have also resounded in the political circles of Delhi. This has further been fuelled by allegations of human rights violation, violence, and abuse by Pakistani troops in POK, especially in the Azad Kashmir region. The Indian Government abstained from giving in to these demands in conformity with the LOC drawn up by the Shimla Agreement. What remains to be seen if an amicable resolution is possible “within the ambit of the Indian Constitution”.

Pakistan’s Position
Pakistan authorities refer to the 1933 Pakistan Declaration and claim Kashmir to be one of the Indian units that were to secede from India and join Pakistan. Pakistan claims that the accession to India was unconstitutional since it violated the terms of the ‘Standstill Agreement’ between Pakistan and the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan was formed on the basis of the Two Nation Theory. Since most of the people inhabiting the Kashmir valley are Muslims, Pakistan does not recognize Indian claims to the state. Pakistan claims the entire Gilgit-Baltistan region, and the India administered Kashmir as its territory. The region made over to China is recognized by Pakistan as Chinese territory.

In the 1972 Shimla Agreement, the UN cease-fire line of 1949 was formally converted into the Line of Control (LOC). For more than four decades now it has been anticipated that the LOC shall eventually be converted into the international boundary. Pakistan, however, remains reluctant to cede control of the Kashmir Valley currently administered by India.

The Azad Kashmir issue has, however, elicited mixed responses from Pakistan. While on the one hand Pakistani officials have traditionally pledged to settle the issue of Kashmir in deference to the wishes of the Kashmiris themselves, there has been no indication that Pakistan is willing to cede its claims to either India or to an independent Kashmir.

In 2006 a controversy broke out about the circulation of a new “official map” by Pakistani embassies showing the Gilgit-Baltistan provinces as a separate region. The allegations were denied by Pakistan but the government declared that it had no change of stance with regard to the Kashmir issue.

In 2002, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan went on record to state, “Kashmir runs in our blood. No Pakistani can afford to sever links with Kashmir. We will continue to extend our moral, political, and diplomatic support to Kashmiris. We will never budge from our principle stand on Kashmir issue, which must be resolved through dialogue in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan and in accordance with the UN resolutions”. In 2011, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan will continue to raise the Kashmir issue till its resolution.

Following the escalation of tensions across the LOC in January 2013, at an Asia Society talk in Washington DC, Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar accused India of "war-mongering" and going on a “narrative of hostility” and denied the beheading incident at the LoC. She maintained that while Pakistan sought peace, India continued to seek war.

China’s Position
China’s position in the tripartite dispute is fairly straight. The PRC does not recognize the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. The country claims and currently administers the Aksai Chin region. The British demarcation of the region was a unilateral decision, says China. The Trans-Karakoram Tract, being strategically important for China was settled by the Sino-Pakistan Agreement in 1963. Neither Pakistan nor China acknowledges India’s claims in this sector.

UN Stand
In 1949, following the first India-Pakistan War the UN Ceasefire Line was accepted as the line of administrative control for defense purposes. In 1972 the Shimla Agreement was signed by India and Pakistan and the Line of Control was recognized as the “line of Conflict’, not an international border, but one that protects the recognized position of both nations. The UN map of Pakistan clearly demarcates the LOC as per the Shimla Agreement and places a disclaimer that the international boundary as shown is not an endorsement by the UN. The map disclaimer also reads “The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties”. All neutral agencies follow the UN lead and map the Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir region as disputed territory. The United Nations’ stand is not an official endorsement of the territorial authority by either nation, nor does the international community accept any demarcation till the two nations have reached an agreement.

CIA and Google Maps
The CIA Map of Pakistan includes all of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan’s territory. Most of Kashmir is still retained in the Map of India. The map shows the 1972 Line of Control as the boundary separating the two countries. To the east of Kashmir, the CIA map designates Aksai Chin as territory claimed by India. The authenticity of this map has been disputed by many Indian agencies but has been endorsed by Pakistani groups.

Google Maps has designated the various regions without a clear international boundary demarcation and has not labeled the respective regions.

What is the history of the conflict?
Going back into history, the beauty and bounty of Kashmir to a lesser degree, and its strategic location to a greater degree, have been the reasons why the valley still remains highly coveted. The entire Jammu-Kashmir-Ladakh region has at different times been influenced by Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, and Buddhism in terms of religion and culture. With the passage of time these influences translated into territorial claims nurtured by India, Pakistan, and China. The valley region has witnessed a number of bloody wars and political maneuvers, but no concrete adjudication of the conflict has come out of these. The idea of an independent Kashmir is also an alternative that is recurrently dredged up but is not acceptable to the nations embroiled in the issue.

Why was the Jammu & Kashmir issue not settled during the India-Pakistan partition?
In 1947, with the withdrawal of the British, India and Pakistan came into existence. The princely states of the Indian subcontinent were given a choice – they could accede to either nation or could remain independent. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir soon emerged at the center of a heated conflict between the two newly formed countries. The Maharaja of Kashmir, in an attempt to remain independent, had put off making a decision. When an internal rebellion in Kashmir came to be aided by Pakistani troops, the Maharaja agreed to join India by signing the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. India claims the region as part of the territory annexed by a legally executed instrument of accession. Pakistan’s claims stem from the religious demographics of the land, a Muslim-majority region. Pakistan upheld that the accession was a sham. It also blamed India of violating the commitment to hold a plebiscite on the future of the state. It maintained that India is cogently occupying a large part of the state.

Is war a real possibility?

While both India and Pakistan are keen to avoid a war that could bleed the countries both economically and in terms of resources, Jammu and Kashmir has never failed to touch a raw nerve with the populace of both nations. A negotiated resolution seems difficult given the stubborn stance that both countries have adopted over the last six decades. Both India and Pakistan are known nuclear powers. India is estimated to possess approximately hundred nuclear weapons and Pakistan between seventy and ninety nuclear arms. The prospect of war, therefore, is a debilitating one. Besides, given the background of a global economic recession, these developing nations can ill-afford war.

Headlinesindia brings to you a complete overview of the history, the issues, and the intricacies of the Kashmir conflict and a look at the various challenges faced while mapping the region.

Mapping Challenges

In India it is illegal to plot or circulate a map which excludes any part of Jammu and Kashmir. The Survey of India’s official version of the Indian map includes the Gilgit-Baltistan region, Azad Kashmir, Aksai Chin, and the Trans-Karakoram tract. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1961 makes it illegal for any Indian organization or individual to publish and/or distribute a map different from the official version.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has made it illegal to share a map of Pakistan which does not mark out the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory. This is in keeping with the practices followed by the United Nations. The popular version of the India-Pakistan map used across the world depicts both the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control.

For over sixty years now Kashmir has been at the eye of a storm that threatens to erupt and ravage both India and Pakistan. Many violent protests, three full-scale wars, and the ongoing scourge of insurgency and terrorism have dissuaded the normalcy from returning to the valley. With accusations of human rights violation and gory bloodbath having been exchanged, both the countries are keen on settling the issue. But is an amicable negotiation possible? The more important consideration here is what the people of Kashmir want for their land and how India and Pakistan plan to negotiate in deference to the wishes of the Kashmiris.

Disclaimer: The map images shown here on www.mapsofindia.com ("MOI") are representational only, believed to be based on the stands of respective Governments but not necessarily authoritative. The map images and the claims made by the respective Governments are given here on 'as is' basis with the sole intention to spread information. In no way such use of map images/views should be construed as an endorsement of the views.
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Wikipedia's Kashmir map now demarcates the Line of Control. The Northern Areas, also known as Gilgit-Baltistan, is the region under Pakistani occupation. Jammu and Kashmir, according to the map is the India – administered region of the state. Azad Kashmir together with Gilgit-Baltistan is referred to as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by India and as Pakistan-administered Kashmir by the United Nations. Azad Kashmir was the region occupied by Pakistan in war of 1947. Aksai Chin, to the north-east of the state is the part of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by China. The Line of actual Control in the map demarcates the area administered by India.

The CIA Map of Pakistan includes all of Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan's territory. Most of (what Pakistan call) Azad Kashmir is still retained in the Map of India. The map shows the 1972 Line of Control as the boundary separating the two countries. To the east of Kashmir, the CIA map designates Aksai Chin as territory claimed by India. The authenticity of this map has been disputed by many Indian agencies but has been endorsed by Pakistani groups.

Google Maps has designated the various regions without a clear international boundary demarcation and has not labeled the respective regions.

In their map of Pakistan, BBC, the international news agency has marked all of Jammu and Kashmir and has made a distinction between 'Pakistani controlled Kashmir' and 'Indian controlled Kashmir'. The map does not make references to the Aksai Chin region.

Lonely Planet, in its Map of India, marks out the border as per the official map of India but the Map of Pakistan shows parts of Pakistan administered Kashmir as Pakistani territory. The Map of India also demarcates Gilgit-Baltistan and Aksai Chin differently from the rest of the country.

LOC and Shimla Agreement – UN Perspective

In 1949, following the first India-Pakistan War the UN Ceasefire Line was accepted as the line of administrative control for defense purposes. In 1972 the Shimla Agreement was signed by India and Pakistan and the Line of Control was recognized as the “line of Conflict’, not an international border, but one that protects the recognized position of both nations. The UN map of Pakistan clearly demarcates the LOC as per the Shimla Agreement and places a disclaimer that the international boundary as shown is not an endorsement by the UN. The map disclaimer also reads “The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties”. All neutral agencies follow the UN lead and map the Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir region as disputed territory. The United Nations’ stand is not an official endorsement of the territorial authority by either nation, nor does the international community accept any demarcation till the two nations have reached an agreement.

Kashmir – One and Many

With the end of the first India-Pakistan War in 1949, Pakistan divided Kashmir into a number of regions. The two controversial regions among these are-

Gilgit – Baltistan Gilgit – Baltistan is the northernmost province of Kashmir which is currently occupied and administered by Pakistan. Commonly referred to as Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), the area was formed by uniting Gilgit, Baltistan, Hunza, and Nagar. The region is part of what India calls Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). The mapping of this region poses a problem to most map-makers since both Pakistan and India consider Gilgit – Baltistan integral regions of their own respective territories.

Despite having occupied the Gilgit – Baltistan region, Pakistan had not officially assigned the region the status of a province due to the country’s commitment to the United Nations Resolution 48. The reluctance of the Government of Pakistan to establish constitutional authority caused much dissatisfaction among the inhabitants of the region.

In April 2008 an international conference was held in Brussels at the European Parliament. The conference was overseen by the International Kashmir Alliance. Most members of the European Conference urged Pakistan to establish regulated administration in the region and to oversee the formation of a judiciary to deal with the human-rights violation concerns in the area. Subsequently in 2009, Pakistan implemented autonomous rule in the province. Pakistan’s President Zardari signed the Gilgit-Balistan Empowerment and Self Governance order on August 29.2009. Though the constitution of Pakistan does not yet officially recognize Gilgit-Baltistan as a province, the region has been provided a status comparable with other provinces. A Legislative Assembly is elected by the people and administration is overseen by the Chief Minister.

Currently Gilgit - Baltistan is a self-governing region administered through a representative government. The judiciary of the province is independent. Currently the office bearers of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, are -

GovernorPir Karam Ali Shah
Chief MinisterSyed Mehdi Shah
Chief Secretary Saif Ullah Chattha
Inspector General of Police     Hussain Asghar


Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) – free Jammu and Kashmir which is considered independent of both India and Pakistan. To the south of the Gilgit – Baltistan, AJK is a 250 mile long and 40 mile wide region, with its capital at Muzaffarabad. Though considered a separate political entity, administered currently by President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan and Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, it is widely acknowledged that AJK is under the control of Pakistan. A number of issues shroud AJK but in the absence of free press, even grave human rights violations in the region have gone unchecked. Militancy is a recurrent issue disturbing peace. The freedom of Free Kashmir has repeatedly been questioned in international forums.

Tripartite Dispute

Bi-Lateral to Tripartite

Aksai Chin:
Apart from Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, there emerged a new aspect to the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan – a territorial dispute with China over Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. Besides the Kashmir Valley and Jammu, Ladakh is the mountainous desert region of the state which has been the center of a tumultuous territorial conflict between India, Pakistan, and China. Ladakh is famous for its beautiful landscapes and for the numerous Buddhist monasteries that dot the land. In about 1842, Ladakh had formed part of the Sikh Empire. With the outbreak of the Sino-Sikh War the Chinese took control of Ladakh and Leh between May 1841 and August 1842. The Treaty of Chushul concluded that the Karakoram Pass and the Pangong Lake were the natural boundaries that demarcated the two sides. Aksai Chin, however, remained undefined land. The Sikhs were defeated by the British in 1846 and the in 1865 the Johnson-Ardagh Line was arbitrarily drawn by the British without Chinese counsel. The Aksai Chin region was included in Kashmir without the agreement of the Chinese authorities who were at the time grappling with the Dungan revolt. In the late 1890s the Macartney-Macdonald Line was proposed to the Chinese government in 1899 by the British Prime Minister, Sir Claude Macdonald. The line put most of Aksai Chin under Chinese dominion. The primary objective of the British at this time was to ensure that the Aksai Chin area did not come under Russian dominion. Thus a legacy of conflicting maps and confusing boundaries was handed down to India at the time of partition.

By the time India gained independence in 1947, official Indian maps marked the Johnson-Ardagh Line as the international boundary. The Aksai Chin region, though claimed by India, is not easily accessible from the Indian end. In the 1950s Chinese officials initiated the task of building a 750 mile long China National Highway 219, connecting Tibet and the Xinjiang Province, Uygur autonomous region. This road is strategically important to the People’s Republic of China to maintain effective control over these two provinces. Indian authorities did not know of the existence of this road for almost a decade. India’s claim that Ladakh, and Aksai Chin as a part of Ladakh, had always been part of Indian Territory did not cut ice with the Chinese. The authorities cited the Sino-British agreement over the Macartney-Macdonald Line to claim the region. This region had been administered by China as part of their territory, so much so, that Indian authorities were unaware of the existence of a highway till they stumbled upon official Chinese maps in 1958.

Trans-Karakoram Tract:
Besides the Aksai Chin region, Sino-Indian relations quickly deteriorated over the Trans-Karakoram Tract leading up to the India-China War in 1962. Most of the Trans-Karakoram Tract is referred to as the Shaksgam Valley and forms part of the Baltistan region. Through the 1800s there had been no clear negotiation or agreement between the British and the Chinese authorities demarcating the international boundary in the Shaksgam Valley region. By 1900, British India adopted Sir John Ardagh proposal and the maps distributed by the British authorities showed the valley to be part of Indian Territory. By 1947, the Union of India was ready to claim the entire Trans-Karakoram Tract but official Chinese maps did not acknowledge the Macdonald Line as the international boundary. Large parts of the valley were now claimed by China. Chinese military activity in the region led up to the outbreak of war between the two nations.

In 1962, the Sino-Indian War led to a decisive annexation of Aksai Chin by China and the Line of Actual Control was established as a call for truce in the region. Ever since, China has administered the region but India has not relinquished its claim. In about 1961, Pakistan and China entered frontier negotiations over the Trans-Karakoram Tract and in March 1963 a settlement was reached. Pakistan ceded 2,050 square miles of the Shaksgam Valley to China while India still maintained its claim in the region.

Is Plebiscite a Likely Solution?

It is widely believed that a plebiscite or a referendum is the best possible means of settling the Kashmir dispute. But a plebiscite cannot be held unless both countries move their troops out of Kashmir. Traditional hostility and conflicts inhibit the two countries from moving their armies out of the valley. Besides, both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir to be parts of their own country. The question of ceding the region following a plebiscite is thus an unlikely outcome by both governments.

Popular Opinion

What does the international community want?
The thinly-veiled hostility between India and Pakistan results in diplomatic strains when it comes to other countries dealing with these two nations. War, however, remains the one fear that continues to haunt the region. The military buildup on either side of the Line of Control has periodically escalated tensions in the state. The United States, the United Nations, and the international community have been seeking and a free and fair plebiscite for the people of the state.

India's Claims

The Government of India administers almost 60% of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is unequivocal on its stand - “Kashmir is an integral part of India”. The official map of the state, as approved by the Indian Government, shows the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and Aksai Chin, as part of Indian Territory. According to the Indian government the Instrument of Accession was a legal act executed without any deceit or coercion. Ever since the accession, Jammu and Kashmir has been given special concessions and is largely autonomous in deference to the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Furthermore, the Instrument of Accession found the endorsement of the state’s Constituent Assembly, say Indian authorities. The UN Resolution 47 could not be executed due to the refusal of Pakistan to withdraw troops at the time. India also claims that the formation of Azad Kashmir was illegal. The land ceded to China by Pakistan is also deemed illegal, as the land is officially claimed by India. Indian authorities have, however, issued statements from time to time expressing their willingness to settle the issue through bilateral negotiations.

The elections held in 2008 in Jammu and Kashmir by the Government of India had a high turnout. The United Nations regards the poll as free and fair. India was quick to point out that a high turnout of voters indicated that the people of the state endorsed the administrative governance of India.

But insomuch as Kashmir goes, India has remained unambiguous in its stand. In 2010, Government of India issued a statement that “We are very clear in our mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India... And as a vibrant democracy, India has sufficient mechanisms and constitutional safeguards to address issues raised by its citizens in any part of the country”.

In January 2013, relations between the two nations took a sudden plunge as India accused Pakistani army of killing two of its soldiers and providing ‘grave provocation’ by beheading and mutilating one of them. Pakistan promptly denied the claims and countered that India had violated the LOC. Tensions between the two countries escalated as the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Army Day address said, “After this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. What happened at LoC is unacceptable” Brigade-level flag meeting between Indian and Pakistani authorities at Chakan Da Bagh near the Line of Control in Poonch failed to ease the tensions between the two countries.

From time to time, demands for the liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistani occupation have also resounded in the political circles of Delhi. This has further been fuelled by allegations of human rights violation, violence, and abuse by Pakistani troops in POK, especially in the Azad Kashmir region. The Indian Government abstained from giving in to these demands in conformity with the LOC drawn up by the Shimla Agreement. What remains to be seen if an amicable resolution is possible “within the ambit of the Indian Constitution”.

Pakistan Claims

Pakistan authorities refer to the 1933 Pakistan Declaration and claim Kashmir to be one of the Indian units that were to secede from India and join Pakistan. Pakistan claims that the accession to India was unconstitutional since it violated the terms of the ‘Standstill Agreement’ between Pakistan and the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan was formed on the basis of the Two Nation Theory. Since most of the people inhabiting the Kashmir valley are Muslims, Pakistan does not recognize Indian claims to the state. Pakistan claims the entire Gilgit-Baltistan region, and the India administered Kashmir as its territory. The region made over to China is recognized by Pakistan as Chinese territory.

In the 1972 Shimla Agreement, the UN cease-fire line of 1949 was formally converted into the Line of Control (LOC). For more than four decades now it has been anticipated that the LOC shall eventually be converted into the international boundary. Pakistan, however, remains reluctant to cede control of the Kashmir Valley currently administered by India.

The Azad Kashmir issue has, however, elicited mixed responses from Pakistan. While on the one hand Pakistani officials have traditionally pledged to settle the issue of Kashmir in deference to the wishes of the Kashmiris themselves, there has been no indication that Pakistan is willing to cede its claims to either India or to an independent Kashmir.

In 2006 a controversy broke out about the circulation of a new “official map” by Pakistani embassies showing the Gilgit-Baltistan provinces as a separate region. The allegations were denied by Pakistan but the government declared that it had no change of stance with regard to the Kashmir issue.

In 2002, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan went on record to state, “Kashmir runs in our blood. No Pakistani can afford to sever links with Kashmir. We will continue to extend our moral, political, and diplomatic support to Kashmiris. We will never budge from our principle stand on Kashmir issue, which must be resolved through dialogue in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan and in accordance with the UN resolutions”. In 2011, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan will continue to raise the Kashmir issue till its resolution.

Following the escalation of tensions across the LOC in January 2013, at an Asia Society talk in Washington DC, Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar accused India of "war-mongering" and going on a “narrative of hostility” and denied the beheading incident at the LoC. She maintained that while Pakistan sought peace, India continued to seek war.