Indo-Pak Conflicts- Kashmir-Core Issue
The final struggle for freedom from the British Raj was spearheaded by the Indian National Congress, under the guidance of Gandhiji. Jinnah, leader of the All India Muslim League, espoused the ‘Two Nation Theory’. As Hindus and Muslims were scattered unevenly in the whole country, the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947 was not possible along religious lines. Nearly one third of the Muslim population of British India remained in India while balance of the Muslims went to West and East Pakistan. Inter-communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims resulted in approximately 1 million casualties. Pakistan became an Islamic republic in 1956 and adopted a parliamentary democratic system of government. Since partition India and Pakistan have experienced several conflicts. Kashmir has been at the heart of the conflicts. A brief of the Indo-Pak conflicts is covered in the blog.
1947-48 Indo-Pak War
Following partition, states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Tribal forces from Pakistan attacked and occupied parts of Kashmir in Oct 1947,forcing the Maharajah to sign the Instrument of accession to India and to get Indian military aid. The United Nations was invited by India to mediate in the quarrel but the war was continued by both the sides. Finally, the UN Security Council passed the Resolution 47 on 22 Apr 48. Thus, the war ended in Dec 48 with the Line of Control dividing Kashmir into territories administered by Pakistan (Northern and Western areas- POK) and India (Southern, Central and North-eastern areas) on the basis of ceasefire positions.
1965 Indo-Pak War
In Apr 65, over a border dispute in the Rann of Kutch, India and Pakistan attacked each other’s posts. Intermittent skirmishes continued till in June hostilities were ended and a tribunal was established to resolve the dispute. Pakistan was awarded 910 sq km by the tribunal. Post 1962 Indian debacle against China and buoyed by having received US weapons, Pakistan was encouraged to launch Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against rule by India. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. The seventeen-day Aug-Sep 65 war caused thousands of casualties on both sides. Hostilities between the two countries ended after a ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and US and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. Both India and Pakistan claimed victory. However, most neutral assessments pointed out that India had the upper hand at the time of ceasefire.
1971 Indo-Pak War
This war was unique in the way that it did not involve the issue of Kashmir, but was rather precipitated by the crisis created by the political battle between Sheikh Mujib, leader of East Pakistan and Yahya-Bhutto, leaders of West Pakistan. Following the East Pakistan atrocities, about 10 million Bengalis in East Pakistan took refuge in neighbouring India. India intervened in the ongoing Bangladesh liberation movement. After a large scale pre-emptive strike by Pakistan in the Western Sector, full-scale hostilities between the two countries commenced on 03 Dec 71. Within two weeks of intense fighting, Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered to the joint command of Indian and Bangladeshi forces following which Bangladesh became independent. This war saw the surrender of more than 90,000 Pakistani military and civilians. The war ended on 17 Dec 71. Status quo was maintained in the Western Sector after ceasefire. It was a major defeat for Pakistan.
Sir Creek Dispute
The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.
Sir Creek is a 96 km long estuary in the marshes of the Rann of Kutch. It is a fluctuating tidal channel along which the boundary between India and Pakistan was not demarcated. These marshlands have remained disputed due to different perceptions. Frequent violations of respective national territorial waters in peacetime occur by Pakistani and Indian fishermen operating along the coastline due to the absence of a physical boundary and lack of navigational tools for small fishermen. Hundreds of fishermen are arrested by the Coast Guards of both the nations. Obtaining their release is difficult and long-winded owing to the hostile relations.
Indo-Pak Nuclear Conflict
Both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons. Nuclear doctrine of Pakistan states a first strike policy, although the strike would only be initiated if and only if, the Pakistan Armed Forces are unable to halt an invasion against the country. India has a declared policy of no first use.
Pakistan Sponsored Terrorism in Kashmir since 1989
Buoyed by the success of Pakistan trained and supported, Taliban (armed by US) against USSR in Afghanistan, Pakistan has found it convenient to conduct a proxy war in Kashmir through terrorists since 1989. Pakistan has followed a policy of denial of any role in this Low Intensity Conflict being conducted through terrorists.