Rethinking Kashmir: The Root of All Problems for Pakistan and India
In August of 1947 South East Asia was partitioned into two new countries. The two new countries that arose from the ashes of the British Empire were the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of India. When looking at the number of people that became refugees, and people who were killed one cannot imagine the carnage that occurred during the partition, “Some 20 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs became refugees as a result of India’s partition, and between 500,000 and 1 million people are estimated to have been killed” (Bose 96).
The republic of India since partition went forward towards democracy while its neighbor faced a vacuum in the circle of civilian leadership, which was filled by the military for a brief moment in time. Early on in Pakistan’s history, it faced some major setbacks as the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah succumbed to TB and died on September 11, 1948. Pakistan continued to face trouble when another founding father Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in1951 at Municipal Park.
While Pakistan was braving internal political instability, India was spearheading the movement of Democracy and instilling in India values dear to western democratic principles under the leadership and guidance of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian National Congress.
India held its “First parliamentary elections in 1952, the Congress party won close to a three-fourths majority in parliament—364 of 489 seats” (Bose 99). Since then India and Pakistan have had two wars and a conflict in the region of Kashmir. India and Pakistan have fought over Kashmir since the time of partition. Kashmir is predominately Muslim “of the four million inhabitants, more than three quarters are Muslims, and the Muslims are in majority in each province of the state” (Thorner 18).
Pakistan and India both contest Kashmir, and claim rightful inclusion of the territory into their domains. The Kashmir issue continues to be a stalemate between the two countries, and a potential cause for a war in the future.
Kashmir is strategically advantageous to India and Pakistan, since it borders Afghanistan, Soviet Tadzhikistan, Sinkiang, and Tibet, Kashmir was envisioned as a gateway for greater Indian influence in Central Asia and a stronghold of defense (Thorner 18). The Congress party leadership argued that only India had the economic strength that could support and build Kashmir’s “untapped water-power potential and mineral resources” (Thorner 18).
In September of 1947 the Maharajah (King) of Kashmir took his first public step against the idea of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. The Maharajah kept Chowdhury Ghulam Abbas, the leader of the Kashmir Muslim Conference, in jailed because his organization was sponsored and encouraged by Jinnah. The king silenced any and all voices in Kashmir calling for accession to Pakistan, newspapers were censored or shut down, journalists were interned, and the Kashmir State Assembly was prorogued to prevent further criticism of the state government (Thorner 21).
Until October of 1948 there was no military conflict in Kashmir rather it was a political conflict with both India and Pakistan taking part into the day to day affairs of the territory of Kashmir. On October 22 of 1948, a column of two thousand armed tribesman entered Muzaffarabad, some on foot and some on moter buses (Thorner 23).
Muzaffarabad is a strategic town in Kashmir; it is in the Jhelum valley road to Srinagar on the other side, the Indian side. The tribesman made quick gains and soon advanced into the town of Vale, reaching Uri, 60 miles within the border (Thorner 23). By October 24, the government in Delhi had received word of the fall of Muzaffarabad and had received an urgent request for military aid from the Kashmir state government.
The Maharajah wanted to stay neutral, but decided to accede to India, signing over key powers to the Indian Government— in return for military aid and a promised referendum in which the people will decide which state Kashmir would accede too. On October 27, 1947, Lord Mountbatten formally accepted the accession of Kashmir on behalf of India (Thorner 24). The U.N was supposed to hold a referendum or plebiscite to determine the status of Kashmir, but India did not allow the U.N. to conduct a plebiscite and sent its troops into Kashmir (“Q & A”). Since this point India and Pakistan have fought two wars and have cross border firing between the two states on a daily basis.
In times of conflict the military strategies adopted by the militaries of the two countries is the use of defensive force. Defensive force is the “Deployment of military power so as to be able to do two things— to ward off an attack and to minimize damage to oneself if attacked” (Art 132).
Currently both militaries have troops deployed at the Line of Control (LoC-border between India and Pakistan), during the 2002 attack on the Indian parliament, India immediately accused Pakistan of harboring, financing, and executing that attack, India cited elements within the government of Pakistan as key to understanding what happened during the attack. Indian military went on high alert, Indian Air Force (IAF) was quickly mobilized the situation seemed to have turned from an internal Indian conflict to a cross border conflict with both militaries quickly mobilized and the threat of nuclear war quickly dawned.
In the 2002 incident involving the attack on parliament, India was mobilizing its military; Pakistan made all preparation for operational readiness to reply to an attack by Indian forces.
Pakistan started to mobilize its armed forces to send a strong signal to India, that Pakistan was ready and if India continued with these actions it would be getting a befitting response. Pakistan started to hold military parades; Pakistan Air Force was mobilized monitoring all major cities in Pakistan. The Pakistani military strategy used compellence as a key tool to defuse the tension between the two neighbors (Art et al, 134). Pakistan wanted India to stop this anti-Pakistan rhetoric and halt all military mobilizations on the border. Pakistan sent its foreign ambassador abroad to bring up to date our allies such as the United States and England. By adopting this strategy Pakistan was able to get India to stop its intolerable actions and was able to normalize relations and avert war with India.
The operation of the militaries regarding Kashmir is based on external threats from each other (India to Pakistan, and Pakistan to India), and internal threats such as insurgency. The Indian army continues to believe that Pakistan provides funds as well as moral support for the Azadi (freedom) fighters, and recruiting for service in Kashmir from Pakistan (Thorner 27), the way internal threats are perceived especially on domestic affairs, this is key to understanding how the Indian security forces react to the freedom fighters movement in Kashmir.
Indian security forces see the freedom movement in Occupied Kashmir as a dangerous political movement; the Indian Army officers “advised their government that a complete clearing of the raiders from the state would involve crossing the frontier and capturing the rebel headquarters in Pakistan” (Thorner 29). This anti-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir rhetoric continued to fuel the conflict of between the two neighboring countries.
Pakistan on the hand believes India is directly involved in Balochistan and its control of occupied Kashmir is direct interference. The militaries continued operation under this mentality has led to both states trying to ensure their own security (deploying more military forces) threaten the security of other states; by deploying more of their own military forces they threaten the first state (Goldstein 52). This problem is the prime factor leading to an arms race in South East Asia between Pakistan and India.
India was allowed to buy F-18s, import nuclear technology, receive anti-ballistic missile systems, and enter into deals with U.S. arms manufacturers to set up similar plants in India (Ali 36). Between 1984-1985 India’s expenditure on State Sector Defense Corporations and Armed Services was Rs.197.4 billion ($15.9 billion), an increase of 526 percent from 1962-1963 (Itty 254). In the same time period, sales in the public sector defense firms have risen from Rs.211.6 million to Rs 89.067 billion ($ 7.2 billion) (Itty 256).
Pakistan’s military expenditure has grown since 1963 from $1000 million to $2500 million in 1996, while India’s expenditure has grown from $1100 million in 1963 to $ 7500 million in 1996 (Smith, et al 10), which indicates that India spends twice as much as the Pakistani level (Smith et al 10). In 2001 India spent $15.9 billion in military expenditure, while Pakistan spent $2.6 billion. (Marcus).
India’s armed forces are well equipped, India has 738 combat aircraft while Pakistan has 353, India has 27 surface warships while Pakistan has 8, and India has 16 submarines while Pakistan has 10 (Marcus). In most cases Pakistan is outmatched two sometimes three to one. Both countries continue to build up their military weapons in preparation of an attack from across the border, but they fail to realize the damage it is causing them and their countries.
India and Pakistan are dead locked in a nuclear arms race. The Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates India has 60 nuclear warheads in its arsenal (“High Nuclear Stakes”). The federation of American Scientist estimates Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to have 25 nuclear warheads (“High Nuclear Stakes”).
India’s Prithvi (Sanskrit word for “Earth” and Hindu “Mother Goddess”) missile has the range of 200 kilometer (124 miles), Pakistan developed the Hatf III which has the range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) (“Nuclear High Stakes”). Currently India is developing the Suriya missile which has the range of 5,000 kilometer (3106 miles), and Pakistan is developing the Gauri III missile which has the range for 3,000 Kilometers (1864 miles).
In 1990 Pakistani nuclear forces were placed on high alert (Oren 189) and the situation was characterized by Hersh as “far more frightening then the Cuban missile crisis” (qt in Oren 189)
In 1999 India published a draft document of its nuclear doctrine; India maintains “based on the principle of a minimum credible deterrent and no first-use”, in January 2003 India published additional “guidelines” which that it would use nuclear weapons to deter or retaliate against the use of chemical or biological weapons (Kile et al. 367). Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine also cites the “no first use” policy, According to the former Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Committee, Rt.Gen Ehsan ul-Haq stated that Pakistan has produced more warheads then it needs to satisfy its “minimum deterrence requirement” but the requirement is determined “according to situation” (qt. in Kile 372).
Because of the conflict in Kashmir India and Pakistan compete for power and security not realizing the affect it is having in the region.
India and Pakistan are trying to establish themselves as hegemonic superpowers in the region and the world, both countries are continuing to build their militaries, enhance and develop nuclear technology. Both states operate under the same policy even with the different types of government, Pakistan under military dictatorship enhanced its nuclear weapons arsenal and continued the same foreign policy of Kashmir, while India under the Hindu-nationalist party Bharty Janta Party (BJP), continued to accuse Pakistan of supporting cross border terrorism and deployed additional troops to the LoC .
The two states continue to hold war games with their allies and hold regular nuclear missile test as a show of power. The two countries are in a constant state of war. In order for the issue of Kashmir to be resolved, India needs to restart the composite dialogue. In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks India suspended the dialogue stating “Our relations with Pakistan will not improve until it curbs the terrorists who are operating on its soil to carry out terrorist attacks on India … our kind desire should not be treated as our weakness “, the ignorance of the Indian leadership is one of disbelief,Pakistan is the only nation in the war on terror that has captured or killed 700 plus militants, yet India wants Pakistan to do more? There is no logic behind India’s decision to not restart the composite dialogue.