- A political map of Kashmir showing the different districts.
The Kashmir region is divided among three countries in a territorial dispute: Pakistan controls the northwest portion (Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir), India controls the central and southern portion (Jammu and Kashmir) and Ladakh, and China controls the northeastern portion (Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract). India controls the majority of the Siachen Glacier area including the Saltoro Ridge passes), whereas Pakistan controls the lower territory just southwest of the Saltoro Ridge. India controls 101,387 km² of the disputed territory, Pakistan 85,846 km² and China, the remaining 37,555 km².
Though these regions are in practice administered by their respective claimants, neither India nor Pakistan has formally recognised the accession of the areas claimed by each other. India claims those areas, including the area “ceded” to China by Pakistan in the Trans-Karakoram Tract in 1963, are a part of its territory, while Pakistan claims the entire region, excluding Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract.
The two countries have fought several declared wars over the territory. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 established the rough boundaries of today, with Pakistan holding roughly one-third of Kashmir, and India two-thirds, with a dividing line of control established by the United Nations. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 resulted in a stalemate and an UN-negotiated ceasefire.
A proposal to resolve Kashmir dispute
1. The resolution of the Indian Kashmir dispute does not lie in accordance to the aspirations and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but it ought to be sought / resolved in their best interest based on ground realities.
2. It will be an economic suicide for Pakistan if it tries to merge Indian Kashmir into it. Likewise, if the Kashmiris living in India either annex themselves with Pakistan or break up with India, will have to suffer a great economic deprivation / disaster.
3. Pakistan itself has not been able to satisfy its four provinces and the tribal areas on the matter of autonomy by today. Then how would it satisfy Kashmiris on the same issue in case of their accession to Pakistan and surely it wouldn’t be able to do so. Confronting this precarious situation, the discontented Kashmiris will have to launch another long struggle for their freedom, but this time against Pakistan, resulting into another civil war and a humanitarian crisis.
4. Have Kashmiris and their imprudent leadership ever pondered that if they ever get their freedom from India by hook or by crook, India would be obliged to cut off their utility supplies? It will block their road, rail connections and put an end to all means to access airport, seaports and other facilities. Their trade and industry that is mainly linked / associated with the Indian economy will be ruined. Millions of Kashmiris will have to face the nightmare of unemployment due to economic downfall and its people will be on their way to a complete destruction and death. What will happen if India takes all these measures against a hostile landlocked neighbour? Pakistan, itself is crisis-stricken and have already suffered very badly due to the Kashmir cause. Moreover, Pakistan’s economy and political conditions are even worst than India and Kashmiris must not expect any good from them either. And what does it have to offer them, and why? Imagine, in the situation where every need and facility of Kashmiri people and all means to earn their livelihood are gone, and they are landlocked and alienated from the rest of the world altogether, will this ridiculous decision not be suicidal and destructive on their part.
5. Kashmiri leadership, with its silly demands, has been showing hostility towards its own people and the peoples of both the countries of India and Pakistan. After having made them disgusted and disenchanted, it has deliberately been causing them fight against each other.
6. Now the time has come when Kashmiri leadership should give up treachery, deception and hypocritical demands and guide its people to the cause of prosperity, welfare and well being of the humanity.
7. Kashmiri people should devise a meaningful strategy for its brighter future by remaining an integral part of the present set up on one side and demanding some more benefits and provincial autonomy from Indian government on the other through a peaceful dialogue and with full participation in the elections. Only this judicious decision can guarantee a peaceful, respectable and brighter future for them and their children. They must act wisely as they have no other choice but to stay in the present set up to avoid a major catastrophe.