The history of India-Pakistan relations since the position of India creating two countries… India and Pakistan can be analysed through a review of the nature of the problems and dispute which kept the two countries engaged in hostile, strained and conflictual interactions and even in major wars.
These adverse relations have already resulted in four full-fledged wars and India is now facing a proxy war conducted by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, aimed at separating this Indian state from the rest of India.
In public perception and more so in the perception of our armed forces, Pakistan remains identified as an adversary, as an enemy although in terms of history, culture, language, religions and geography both countries have much in common.
Both countries are at loggerheads with each other because of lack of communications, mutual apprehensions and deliberately nurtured misunderstandings. Pakistani elite have a bitter memory of the opposition to the partition from the Indian National Congress which the Muslim League had to face. Consequently, the Muslim League did not get Pakistan of the geographical parameters which it expected.
It is one of the ironies of history that many of those who now live in Pakistan did not approve of the two-nation theory.
The pro-Pakistan movement drew its main strength from Bengali Muslims and Muslims of North-Central India, even this support did not come from the Muslim mass but from the Muslim elite.
It is pertinent to mention that till Jinnah was eclipsed as a leader of the Indian National Congress by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, he was lionised as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.
The Pakistani view is that the machinations of Lord Mountbatten and the Indian National Congress prevented the emergence of a Pakistan encompassing the entire Muslim population of India.
This bitterness still permeates the psyche of the Pakistani power structure. India’s strong action in Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad and Junagadh heightened this bitterness and more importantly, generated a genuine apprehension that India would try to nullify the partition by subverting the state of Pakistan, either by breaking it up or by reabsorbing its territory into what the Pakistanis called Hindu plans of ‘Akhand Bharat’.
India’s stand on the distribution of military resources and for foreign exchange reserves convinced Pakistan that India had disruptive plans. The disparity in size, population and resources between the two countries fuelled these apprehensions.
India’s role in the liberation of Bangladesh only reinforced this Pakistani fear psychosis. The conflict of 1971 tempered Pakistan’s inclination towards military adventurism for getting even with India, but short of that its power structure continues to have the same mindset. Besides the initial problems of partition like the problem of nation states in which the state of Junagarh, Hyderabad and Kashmir were finally acceded to India much against Pakistan desire and the problem of sharing of water of rivers of Ravi, Sutlej and Beas which also was amicably settled between the countries through an agreement concluded between the two countries on September 19, 1960, the main problem which is souring the relation between the two countries pertains to Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir, having total area of86, 024 square miles is predominantly populated by Muslims and was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja, Maharaja Hari Singh.
He did not take any decision regarding the state’s accession before or immediately after August 15, 1947. The Maharaja was planning to declare his state as an independent country. But this vacillation on the part of Maharaja prompted Pakistan to invade with the help of tribesmen from North-Western Frontier Province.
They launched the attack on October 22, T947 and within a short period of five days reached Baramula just 25 miles away from Srinagar. Overawed by this attack Hari Sing decided to seek India’s help and pleaded with the Government of India that he is willing to sign the instrument of Accession in return for saving the state. The accession of Jammu and Kashmir was finalised by 27 October, 1947 and the army was airlifted to clear the aggression.
While accepting the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, India had said that after the aggression is vacated, the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir would be ascertained. Pakistan did not except this accession and called it an aggression by India. Pakistan in the meanwhile installed a so- called Azad Kashmir government in the territory occupied by the invaders. In the meantime, India had moved to the Security Council under article 35 of the Charter.
In fact the decision of the Nehru government to offer plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir seemed to be a serious mistake as it is this clause the support of which Pakistan has taken to prolong its case with regard to Kashmir: The Security Council took many decisions on this issue starting with the appointment of a three member Commission on January 20, 1948, which was subsequently expanded and came to be known as United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP).
The UNCIP conducted enquiry, met representatives of both India and Pakistan and finally submitted a report on December 11, 1948. Pakistan should withdraw its troops from Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible after the ceasefire 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 ceasefire agreement was signed which was implemented by the two commanders on the midnight of January, 1949. The war ended and a ceasefire became effective.
It is to be pointed out here that the Indian army was in a position to push the invaders out and liberate the whole state when suddenly the ceasefire was announced. The ceasefire line was drawn where the fighting ended. An agreement on ceasefire line (now called the Line of Control) 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. Subsequently, many proposals and commissions were formed by the United Nations but none of them was able to resolve the Kashmir tangle.
In the meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise, ratified the State’s accession to India on February 6, 1954. A Constitution of the State was adopted on November 19, 1956 which declared Jammu and Kashmir to be an integral part of India.
India’s stand now is that with the ratification of accession by directly elected Constituent Assembly of Kashmir, the promised ‘ascertaining of wishes’ of the people had been accomplished. India finalised accession on January 26, 1957.
The Kashmir issue has been raised time and again by Pakistan in the United Nations and other international forums.’ It has been harping on religion of majority of people as the basis for Kashmir becoming a part of Pakistan. But for India it is a matter of faith that religion should not be the basis of political actions.
Pakistan is actively indulging in cross border terrorism and is killing innocent people in Kashmir. It has already waged four wars to take revenge from India despite India’s best attempts to normalise relations between the two countries.