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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY WITH OTHERS COUNTRIES
What is the main bone of contention between India and Pak? Discuss it.
Two independent sovereign dominions were born in mid-August 1947. Two dominions. India and Pakistan were created by a law enacted by British Parliament to grant independence to the then British India, and divide it. Both were to remain, members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, unless otherwise decided by them. Pakistan was carved out of British India because the Muslim League, led by M.A. Jinnah, insisted that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations, and therefore two states must be constituted for the two communities. Indian National Congress, and most of the Indian people, did not subscribe to the concept of ‘two nations’. But the British Government would not free India until Pakistan was accepted by the Congress as bitter pill to avoid bloodshed caused by Jinnah’s call for direct action. Not only Indian subcontinent was divided into two sovereign countries but well over 500 natives (princely) states were also given the freedom to decide their future. The Indian Independence Act, 1947 provided 10 the lapse of ‘paramountcy’ in respect of native states. The rulers of the native states were given the power to decide whether their states would merge in India or Pakistan, or, by implication would remain independent. The last was a very dangerous implication.
Although for centuries Hindus and Muslims had live together in the sub-continent, the partition created unprecedented hostility between secular India and Islamic Pakistan. The partition has been described as the most unfortunate fact of the post.-war international politics. “The fact that territory and people that historically, geographically and economically were for centuries one country and one nation, was partitioned somewhat arbitrarily into two sovereign nation-states and the circumstances of that partition and its consequences made inevitable a certain amount of disharmony between the two new states. But, it is not just disharmony it is Pakistan’s hatred for India and calls for jihad that upset India’s desire to live in peace with its neighbor.
In a message on August 15, 1947, Jawahar Nehru had said: “I want to say to all nations of the world, including our neighbor country, that we stand for peace and friendship with them.” This has been the main thrust of India’s foreign policy for 50 years. In fact, Pakistan’s Governor-General, and creator, M.A. Jinnah had also said that “We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial friendly relations without immediate neighbor and with the world at large.” But, what actually happened between India and Pakistan was conflict, discord and even wars, Writing Nehru’s biography. Michael Brecher had stated in 1959 that, “India and Pakistan have been in a state of undeclared war, with varying degrees of intensity…”The undeclared war took an ugly turn when India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965. Once again in 1971, Pakistan forced a war on India and got defeated. Since 1971, there has been no armed conflict in the form of war, but border clashes along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir became a common feature.
Besides, Pakistan has been guiding and helping several elements that are determined to destabilize India.
India has consistently sought peaceful, cordial, and friendly relations with Pakistan, as with all other countries in the world. However, Pakistan’s leadership has been harping on threats from India, and the alleged Indian desire to swallow her. India has repeatedly said that it wishes to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. India has made it clear time and again that it does not have any intention whatsoever to undo the partition, and that it sincerely desires to settle all outstanding problems and disputes between the two countries by peaceful means, without resort to force. In the past, India has made several offers of a “no war pact” to Pakistan but the latter has never responded favorably to the Indian offer. Pakistan’s policy towards India has been one of persistent hostility. Nehru had once described Pakistan’s policy as that of “India-baiting.” The leadership of Pakistan has persistently accused India of not having reconciled to India’s partition and planning to undo it. A leading Pakistan newspaper, Dawn had once alleged that India’s policy was “that Pakistan should be friendless and defenseless so that we could be perpetually held to ransom and at some future time swallowed up.” This false and mischievous propaganda has gone on for decades. Thus, the basic problem between India and Pakistan is that while India wants friendship with its neighbor, that country has nothing but hatred for and hostility towards India.
The anti-India policy of Pakistan, blaming Hindu community for all the problems, is clearly reflected in what former Pakistan Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto Wrote in The Myth of Independence. He wrote that the Muslims had ruled over the sub-continent for 700 years, and finally they succeeded (in 1947) in carving out their homeland. According to Bhutto, Hindu masses were disturbed by this historic “complex” and their defeat. He said that Muslim Pakistan was a challenge to Hindu nationalism. He was of the opinion that Indian leadership was forced to accept Pakistan as they were left with no alternative. The anti-India attitude and campaign by Pakistan are always colored by that country in communal shades. India has never believed in communalism. India has always advocated secularism and. behaved in a secular manner. Despite gravest communal provocations from Pakistan, Indian people have generally maintained communal harmony, because India is not a Hindu state, whereas Pakistan takes pride and full religious freedom to all its entire people. With this background, Pakistan’s charges against India are baseless and aimed at maintaining conflict between the two neighbors.
The Problem of Native States: The question of the future of over 560 native states, ruled by princes under British paramountcy, was one of the most complicated problems after independence. The announcement: that paramountcy would lapse and choice is given to respective rulers to decide the future of their states created the problem of integration of states with one of the Dominions. Most of the princely rulers were loyal to the British Crown and were instrumental in the suppression of the freedom movement and denial of rights to the people of states. Sardar Patel, who was Home Minister in Nehru Cabinet, used his persuasive as well as coercive power to bring about the merger of 567 of the native state with India. Five of the states decided to join Pakistan Three of the states failed to take any decision. These were Junagarh, Hyderabad, and Jammu & Kashmir. The state of Junagarh in the Kathiawad region was ruled by a Muslim Nawab but had a majority of the Hindu population. The Nawab was himself than the welfare of the people. He prolonged the decision on the merger, and finally chose to join Pakistan. Since Junagarh is surrounded by Indian territory, Pakistan did not show enthusiasm about the ruler’s decision. The anarchic situation developed in the state. India was forced to take military action in Junagarh. The Nawab fled to Pakistan; the state became a part of India. But, Pakistan got an opportunity to blame India, and to prepare for an intervention in Jammu & Kashmir where (unlike Junagarh) the bulk of the people were Muslim and the ruler was a Hindu Maharaja. After the Nawab fled to Pakistan, the Diwan of Junagarh requested for the state’s merger with India. The wishes of the people were, however, ascertained in a plebiscite in February 1948. An overwhelming majority voted in favor of the merger and only 91 votes were cast against it. Pakistan unsuccessfully tried to internationalize the issue.
The large-sized native state of Hyderabad presented a different problem. This stale in South India was surrounded on all side by Indian territory- the then Provinces of Bombay, Madras, Central Provinces, and the state of Mysore which had already merged with India, The ruler of Hyderabad, the Nizam, was one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. He was given the title of His Exalted Highness by the British Government. The Nizam was dreaming of an independent kingdom, though he had given the impression of his being in favor of Pakistan. The Nizam had given a loan of two crore rupees to Pakistan. Jinnah knew the Nizam too well. He told Indian Governor-General Lord Mountbatten that Hyderabad was the concern of the Nizam. Like Junagarh, the vast majority of people in Hyderabad were Hindus, though the ruler was Muslim. The Nizam was planning to make his state a Sovereign country, yet he was negotiating a merger with India. Pakistan gave an indication that the Nizam could rely on that country in case of difficulty.
Meanwhile, the Nizam’s aide Qasim Rizwi established an organization of Muslim fundamentalists. Its members know as Razakars were given the training to fight for their community. The Razakars let loose a reign of terror in the state, killing and looting people, and in the process entire law and order machinery collapsed. People all over the country became restless and demanded the use of force to settle the problem or Hyderabad and restore peace. Earlier, on four occasions, police action was, planned but could not be taken. Finally, the fifth attempt or ‘Operation Polo’ was drafted and implemented under the direct control of Home Minister Sardar Patel. Even Prime Minister Nehru was not taken into confidence for fear of his disapproval. Indian army brought the situation under control within 24 hours, but the task was completed in five days. Accepting Nizam’s format, l request for accession, India agree to pay Rs. 50 lakhs per year as a privy purse to the Nizam, Pakistan termed Indian action as aggression and raised the issue thrice (October, November, and December 1948) in the United Nations. But, it could not muster much support except that of the United States.
The third state the created problem was Jammu & Kashmir. This issue became so complicated that even 50 years after independence it remained a source of high tension and conflict between India and Pakistan. This issue will be discussed in detail in a subsequent section.
The Problem of Displaced Persons and Minorities:
The problem of refugees (or displaced persons) coming to India from Pakistan and those going from India to Pakistan was directly related to the problem of minorities in the two countries. Immediately after partition, large-scale riots broke out in Pakistan. Hindu and Sikhs were not only forced to flee from that state leaving behind all their property, but a large number of them were killed or wounded, their possessions looted, women raped and many of them kidnapped. It had its repercussions in India and anti-Muslim riots occurred at places on this side of the border. But, while the Government of India took strong measures to check violence and provide maximum security to the Muslim minorities in India, the Government of Pakistan failed miserably in protecting non-Muslims in that country. Even trainloads of dead bodies arrived from Pakistan causing a very strong reaction on this side of the border. Eventually, both the countries had to face the problem of refugees who migrated to the other side. India maintained its secular character and we are proud of that. But, Pakistan showed no real concern for its minorities.
The Inter-Dominion Agreement of April 1948 had clearly provided that the responsibility for the protection of minorities rested on the government of the two countries. But, both India and Pakistan accused of deliberately causing communal conflicts and riots. Pakistani charge against India certainly could not be substantiated. Prime Minister Nehru invited Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to Delhi to discuss the problem of minorities. An agreement between India and Pakistan, called the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement, was signed on April 8, 1950. In affirming the rights of minorities in their respective countries.
Despite this agreement, and India’s very sincere efforts to protect minorities, protection of minorities in Pakistan remained only on paper. The agreement was never sincerely implemented in Pakistan. Meanwhile, two members of the Indian Cabinet Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji and K.C. Neogi resigned by way of protest against the Agreement. In Pakistan, the only Hindu member of the Cabinet, Jogendra Nath Mandal resigned in a protest against the ill-treatment of Hindus in that country. The problem of minorities remained a live issue between the two countries.
As mentioned above, as a result of the partition millions of people were displaced and they crossed the border as refugees. India faced the problem of rehabilitating them on a much larger scale than Pakistan. It took India almost 15 years to fully rehabilitate millions of people who had come here. Jobs had to be found for them, financial assistance was to be given to those who decided to set up their business and a large number of houses had to be constructed. A major issue concerned the evacuee property, the property left behind by the refugees. It was both movable and immovable property, including houses, shops, factories, and bank account. Hindus and Sikhs had left behind in Pakistan property worth over Rs. 3,000 crores, whereas the evacuee property left in India was only worth Rs. 300 crores. Therefore, the problem in India was more acute, Despite several rounds lo talks between the two countries, no worthwhile solution could be found.
At the economic level, India was to make a cash payment of Rs. 55 crore to Pakistan and the latter had to give a credit of Rs. 300 crores to India within five years. Pakistan did not fulfill its commitment. Mahatma Gandhi went on fast unto death in 1947 to compel Nehru Government to give the said amount of Rs. 55 crore to Pakistan, Nehru said that this payment was in accordance with high ideals of India moral principles of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Sharing of River Waters: Undivided Punjab was known as the land of five rivers. The irrigation network of Punjab had made the province the “Granary of India.” Partition of India left three rivers, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas mainly flowing in India; Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab mostly are flowing in Pakistan. Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas are known as eastern rivers, and the rest as western rivers. 20 out of 25 canals receiving water from eastern rivers irrigated Indian territory. If India wished to play mischief, it could have used all the water turning Pakistani Punjab into a desert. India never had such evil intentions. Even then the sharing of river waters became a major issue between India and Pakistan.
Under a standstill agreement, India had agreed to supply water to the canals in Pakistan from the headworks in India against payment. This agreement lapsed on March 31, 1948, as Pakistan failed to renew it. A fresh agreement was concluded on May 4, 1948, whereby the two governments agreed to a progressive diminution of water supplies by India to Pakistan. India has to construct a dam at Bhakra to meet the irrigation needs of its territory. Pakistan unilaterally repudiated the 1948 agreement in August 1950 saying that it was signed under ‘duress’. Mr. Eugene Blake, President of the World Bank, agreed to mediate between India and Pakistan on the sharing of waters in 1951. An agreement on sharing of canal waters was eventually concluded on September 19, 1960. It was signed at Rawalpindi by Nehru and President Ayub Khan of Pakistan. It was provided in the Agreement that after an interim period of ten years, which could be extended for another three years on the request of Pakistan, the waters of all the three eastern rivers would be used by India and of western rivers by Pakistan. But, during the interim period of ten years India would supply to Pakistan water in progressive diminution from its three rivers viz., Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas. India also agreed to give financial assistance to Pakistan for the construction of link canals. In case of extension of interim period by three years, the money to be given by India to Pakistan would be proportionately reduced.
This agreement was implemented with effect from January 12, 1961. The dispute regarding sharing of river/canal water was amicably settled Nehru described it as a memorable event.
The Kashmir Dispute
The erstwhile native state of Jammu & Kashmir, having total areas of 86,024 square miles has been described as ‘heaven on earth. But, unfortunately in has been the cause of hostile relations between India and Pakistan ever since the partition in 1947. This northern state was populated predominantly by Muslims and was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja, Hari Singh. Maharaja Hari Singh did not take any decision regarding the state’s accession before, or immediately after, August 15, 1947. Pending the final decision, the Maharaja concluded a standstill agreement with Pakistan. India did not accept such a temporary arrangement. The Maharaja was planning to declare his state an independent country. However, Pakistan began building pressure for the accession of Kashmir to that country. The supply of several important requirements to Kashmir was stopped.
Earlier, in July 1947, the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten had visited Kashmir for four days. According to Mountbatten, he pleaded on each of these four days, with Hari Singh to quickly make a decision to accede either to India or Pakistan. The Maharaja did not realize the gravity of the situation. He kept on evading discussion on accession. The Maharaja did not go to the airport to see Lord Mountbatten off when he was leaving for Delhi. The Maharaja sent a message that he was ill, but the Governor-General understood that Hari Singh was avoiding him.
Mountbatten later regretted the Maharaja’s indecision and said the had he decided before August 14, 1947, even to accede to Pakistan, India would have had an objection. Even Sardar Patel, the Home Minister, was reported to have told Mountbatten that India would have no objection if Kashmir voluntarily decided to join Pakistan. But Hari Singh’s ambition and indecision created a dispute between India and Pakistan which is the gravest of international disputes in which India has ever been involved.
Immediately before the attack by Pakistan-sponsored tribals on Kashmir began, a senior official of the Pakistan Foreign Office visited Kashmir and tried to persuade Hari Singh to agree to join Pakistan. Maharaja refused to take any decision in haste. Soon thereafter, the aggression began. The invaders were tribesmen from North-Western Frontier Province. They launched the attack on October 22, 1947, in a number of sectors. They were well-trained and equipped. Within a short period of five days, they reached Baramula, just 25 miles away from Srinagar. It is only after the commencement of aggression that a nervous Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession of favor of India.
Maharaja Hari Singh requested India to accept the accession and send armed forces immediately to repulse the attack and save the State of Jammu & Kashmir. He admitted that he had only two alternatives either to allow the aggressors to loot the state and kill its people or to join India as a part of the Dominion. He pleaded with the Government of India to accept his request immediately. The accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India said that after the aggression is vacated wishes of the people of the state would be ascertained on the’ question of accession. In a letter written by Lord Mountbatten to Hari Singh, the latter was assured of all help for the security of the state, and promised that “the question of state’s accession would be settled by a reference to the people.” But Pakistan refused to accept the accession. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan said that “the accession of Kashmir to India is a fraud
Perpetrated on the people of Kashmir by its cowardly ruler with the aggressive help of the government of India.” It is strange that the aggressors chose to describe India’s help, to the victim of Pakistan’s invasion as aggression.
The Indian army moved rapidly and the invaders began to retreat, but because they were received all help and supplies From Pakistan the pace of success of the Indian army was slow. India did not want an open war with Pakistan. On January 1, 1948, India brought the matter to the notice of the United Nations Security Council under Article 35 of the Charter. India sought. U.N. assistance to have Pakistan-supported aggression vacated. India and tried earlier to reason with Pakistan, but to no avail. So, she now charged Pakistan with “an act of aggression against India. Pakistan denied India’s allegations, framed several charges against it, and declared that Kashmir’s accession to India was illegal. Meanwhile, the Indian army had vacated about half of the area earlier taken by the tribals.
Pakistan had installed a so-called Azad Kashmir Government in the territory occupied by the invaders. Even today Pakistan insists that the area under its control is independent, or Azad Kashmir. In March 1948, a very popular leader of the Valley, and a friend of Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah took over as the Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir. During the tendency of the dispute in the Security Council, Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, announced that his government was willing to accept the person of the plebiscite, but stipulated certain conditions on which Azad Kashmir Government could be persuaded to accept ceasefire: Liaquat Ali wanted withdrawal of Indian troops and immobilization of State’s security forces, the substitution of Sheikh Abdullah’s government by a coalition including representatives of Azad Kashmir and then holding of plebiscite under international supervision. These conditions were totally unacceptable to India. Thus, began a never-ending conflict between India and Pakistan.
The decision of Nehru and his Government to offer a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people was a serious mistake. It has been responsible for prolonged dispute occasional border clashes and terrorist attacks. Thousands of jawans and civilians have been killed even after the formal fire on January 1, 1949.
After careful consideration, the Security Council appointed a three-member Commission on January 20, 1948. The Commission had one nominee each of India and Pakistan and the third member was to be chosen by the two nominees. India nominated Czechoslovakia and Pakistan’s nominee was Argentina. As the two failed to agree on a third member, the Security Council nominated the United States as the third member. The Commission was to investigate and mediate in the dispute. The Security Council added two more members, Belgium and Colombia by a resolution of April 21, 1948. The Commission was now called the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). The Security Council also resolved that Indian troops, as well as tribesmen, should be withdrawn, that an interim government representing major political groups, be set up, and that the UNCIP should visit Jammu and Kashmir to exercise its good offices in helping the two countries restore peace and arrange a fair plebiscite. This resolution did not please either India or Pakistan.
The United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) conducted inquiries, met representatives of both India and Pakistan, and finally submitted a report on December 11, 1948. This report contained the following recommendation aimed at ending the hostilities and holding of plebiscite. First, Pakistan should withdraw its troops from Jammu & Kashmir as soon as possible after the cease-fire, and that Pakistan should also try for withdrawal of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals who are not ordinary residents of Kashmir. Second, the territory thus vacated by Pakistani troops should be administered by local officials under the supervision of the Commission. Third, after these two conditions are fulfilled and India is informed about their compliance by the UNCIP India should also withdraw substantial strength of its troops. Finally pending a final agreement India should maintain only such limited troops as should be essential for law and order.
After initial reluctance, Pakistan accepted these proposals, and a cease-fire agreement was signed which was implemented by the two commanders on the midnight of January 1, 1949. The war ended and a cease-fire became effective. A plebiscite was to be held in Jammu & Kashmir after all the conditions stipulated by UNCIP were met. The Indian army was in a position to push the invaders out, and liberate the whole of state when suddenly the cease-fire was announced. If the army could have got some more time, the entire state would have become free from invaders.
The cease-fire line (now called the Line of Control) was drawn where the fighting ended. An agreement on cease lire line was reached in Karachi on July 27, 1949. It left 32,000 sq. miles of J & K territory in possession of Pakistan which is called Azad Kashmir by Pakistan. It had 7 Lakh (out of a total of 80 lakh) populations. The UNCIP had recommended that disagreement between India and Pakistan over the implementation of the ceasefire agreement would be brought to the notice of the Plebiscite Administrator. Admiral Chester Nimitz could not ensure compliance of UN resolutions regarding withdraw of Pakistan troops, he resigned.
The Mc Naughton Plan:
It became clear by the end of 1949 that Pakistan was not likely to pull out its troops from the occupied territory so as to facilitate the holding to a plebiscite. General Mc Naughton of Canada who was a resident of the Security Council in December 1949 submitted a plan for the solution of the Kashmir tangle. The plan prepared by Mc Naughton, the informal mediator, suggested the withdrawal of both Pakistani and Indian troops from Kashmir. Thus, it proposed the demilitarization of Kashmir to prepare grounds for a plebiscite. This plan did not distinguish between the aggressor (Pakistan) and the victim (India). Whereas Pakistan had sponsored (and later directly supported) the aggression, Indian troops were sent on request of the then Maharaja, and that also only after the state’s formal accession of India. This plan was, therefore rejected by India. Commenting on the Mc Naughton Plan, India’s representative B.N. Rao said:
Today the position is that Pakistan which throughout 1948 denied giving aid either to the invader or to Azad Kashmir forces, is now itself not only an invader but in actual occupation of nearly half the area of the state without any lawful authority from any source. This is naked aggression of which no one can approve, but there is no sign of disapproval in the Mc Naughton proposal.
The Dixon Proposal :
After the failure of the Mc Naughton Plan, the Security Council resolved on February 24, 1950, that the troops of Pakistan, as well as India, should be withdrawn from Kashmir within five months so as to facilities the holding of plebiscite. Sir Oxen Dixon, a judge of the High Court of Australia, was appointed to ensure compliance of the Security Council Resolution. Dixon arrived in the sub-continent on May 27, 1950. His efforts failed as no agreement could be reached on pulling out of all the troops. India refused to withdraw its troops as they were not the aggressors; they were in a part of Indian territory, gone there to repulse the aggression. Sir Owen himself accepted that the entry of tribesmen in October 1947 and of Pakistan’s regular army in May 1948 was a violation of international law. Even then he tried to put both India and Pakistan at par. Dixon proposed partition o Jammu & Kashmir along the cease-fire line, and yet he suggested plebiscite in the valley to determine its future. This proposal was totally unacceptable to India. Dixon realized his failure and asked the Security Council to relieve him. His suggested direct negotiation between India and Pakistan.
The Graham Mission: After the failure of the Dixon Mission, an attempt was made by the Commonwealth Conference held in London to find a solution to the Kashmir problem. It proposed demilitarization followed by arbitration. No such proposal was acceptable to India. Meanwhile, it was decided by Sheikh Abdullah Government to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly to frame a Constitution for Jammu & Kashmir. This decision disturbed Pakistan, which raised the Kashmir issue again in the Security Council in February 1951. The Security Council adopted a joint Anglo-American resolution seeking to appoint a new mediator (in place of Sir Owen Dixon) who would ensure the withdrawal of troops and arrange plebiscite in Kashmir. Accordingly, Dr. Frank P. Graham of the United States was appointed to implement the decision. Frank P. Graham initiated a negotiation with both countries in June 1951. He presented a series of proposals aimed at the demilitarization of Jammu & Kashmir prior to holding the plebiscite. His efforts failed as no agreement was reached on the quantum of
forces to be retained on each side. He admitted his failure in February 1953 and, like his predecessor, suggested direct negotiations between the two countries.
With this, the United Nations’ efforts to solve the Kashmir issue were suspended. In accordance with Dr. Graham’s recommendation for a negotiated settlement, the Prime Minister of India and Pakistan held a number of meetings. They decided to hold a plebiscite in 1954, but no agreement could be reached on who would be the plebiscite administrators. Thus, plebiscite could not be held.
Subsequently, in 1957, U.N. representative Mr. Gunnar Jarring reported to the Security Council after a visit to India and Pakistan that the plebiscite resolution of 1948 so much overtaken by events that its implementation was not possible. He reminded the Security Council of “the fact that the implementation of an international agreement of ad hoc character, which has not been achieved fairly speedily, may become progressively more difficult because the situation with which they were to cope has tended to change.” Even after nearly five decades, the U.N. has not been able to secure the withdrawal of Pakistani troops which was the first condition of the ceasefire agreement.
Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir elected on the basis of adult franchise ratified the State’s accession to India on February 6, 1954. The Constitution of the State was adopted on 19 November 1956, which declared Jammu & Kashmir to be an integral part of India. With the ratification assertion by the directly elected Constituent Assembly of Kashmir, the promised “accession on January 26, 1957. As far as India is concerned, wishes of the people were duly ascertained and Pakistan’s refusal to withdraw its troops from occupied Kashmir (POK)” was responsible for not holding the plebiscite. India cannot be blamed for not ascertaining the wishes of the people, though legally a decision of Maharaja was all that was required as plebiscite was nowhere stipulated in the Independence Act.
Nature of the Kashmir Dispute: The problem of Jammu & Kashmir is extremely complicated and no easy solution can be envisaged. As Werner Levi said, “The spiritual foundations of both states are involved in the conflict.” K. Raman Pillai rightly concludes. “To India, committed to a secular democratic state, the possession of Kashmir is a vital demonstration of the fact that Muslims and Hindus can live together in a peaceful community. To Pakistan, which claimed to be the Islamic Republic, the possession of Kashmir with its overwhelmingly Muslim population is vital as the fulfillment of the ideal upon which Pakistan rests: a national home and a nation-state for the Muslims of the sub-continent.” For both India and Pakistan, the problem of Kashmir has become an issue of prestige.
The main concern of Pakistan is that promised plebiscite has not been held and it holds India exclusively responsible for this. For India, plebiscite could not be held because the very first condition, stipulated in the 1948 ceasefire agreement, that Pakistani troops would be withdrawn before other steps followed has not been fulfilled. Pakistan alone is responsible for the present situation which was aggravated by the war imposed upon India by Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, and acts of terrorism carried out in Kashmir since 1989. As far as India is concerned, as explained above, the wishes of the people were ascertained by direct election of the State Constituent Assembly and confirmation of the State’s accession by the Constituent Assembly.
The nature of the problem, in 1996, from Pakistan’s able is that plebiscite must be held, though it would not pull out its troops from occupied territory. Having promoted fundamentalism in all possible ways Pakistan excepts that after the plebiscite Kashmir would become a part of Pakistan excepts that after the plebiscite Kashmir would become a part of Pakistan an. India’s case is simple. The only problem that exists and may be called Kashmir dispute is that Pakistan is in illegal occupation of a part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, which it must vacate. Also, India has been drawing the attention of the world to the conclusively proved evidence of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India, which must end. These are the only two issues that constitute the Kashmir dispute from India’s point of view. India’s Foreign Secretary Salman Haider pointed this out clearly after the Indo-Pak talks in June 1997. He said that Pakistan must vacate the occupied part of Kashmir and must step insurgency supported from another side of the border.
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