Historical – Special Committee

The Question of the Jammu and Kashmir state in 1948

Chair: Aiko Eliot

Delegates will be transported back to the little-known origins of the Kashmir and Jammu conflict in the wake of the Partition of India and Pakistan. Delegates will take the positions of the countries in their 1948 context and will not be allowed to use evidence after 1948 within the debate.

It is very important to remember that this briefing paper only provides a background to the complicated issue that surrounds the conflict; it is encouraged to research further and look at the links provided at the end. Further knowledge will open up debate and will also increase chances of a successful and convincing resolution.

Introduction/Background information

The Partition of British India resulted as a side effect of World War II, when both Great Britain and British India were handling the economic difficulties and the process of demobilisation as a result of the war. Those who hoped for a Muslim state to come from British India, wished for a clear partition between “Pakistan” (Muslim) and “Hindustan”(Hindu) once independence came. The partition should have resulted in peaceful relations, however, the Hindu and Muslim populations were distributed unevenly across the country, and thus the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947 was not possible along religious lines. As a result, almost one third of the Muslim population in British India stayed in India, leading to the influx of inter-communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims causing 0.5-1 million casualties.

Princely-ruled territories, such as Kashmir, were also involved in the Partition. Rulers of these states had the option of joining India, Pakistan or remaining independent (though this was emphasised to only be a “theoretical possibility”). Both India and Pakistan laid claim on Kashmir and thus it became the main point of conflict.

The Indo-Pakistani War, otherwise known as the First Kashmir War, started in October 1947 when Pakistan feared the ruler of Kashmir and Jammu would accede to India. The state was the largest of the princely-rules states and caused in 1948 the ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, to agree to India’s ownership on the condition that the state held the right to self-govern in all matters except defence, currency and foreign affairs – the reason for this being that Pakistani tribal forces, with the support of the Pakistani army attacked and occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing the Maharajah to sign the Agreement to the accession of the states to the Dominion of India in order to get military aid from India.

Once the Instrument of Accession was signed, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir to evict the raiders. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 lasted till the end of 1948. Earlier, India took the matter to the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council passed a resolution (Resolution 47 on the 22 April 1948) asking Pakistan to withdraw its forces as well as the Pakistani nationals from the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and India to withdraw the majority of its forces leaving only a few to maintain law and order, following which a Plebiscite would be held. The fronts solidified gradually along what came to be known as the Line of Control.

A formal cease-fire was declared at 23:59 on the night of 1 January 1949. India gained control of about two-third of the state including (Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh) whereas Pakistan gained roughly a third of Kashmir (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan).

Key terms

Jammu and Kashmir – the states in which both Pakistan and India laid claim to in the wake of the 1947 partition. Had a 77% Muslim majority in 1941. Many people in Pakistan expected that Kashmir would join Pakistan. However, the predominant political movement in the Valley of Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir National Conference) (that was not connected to religious beliefs) allied with the Indian National Congress.

Jammu – one of the three divisions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the southern part of the state. Hindu dominated population. Named the “City of Temples” with the Vaishno Devi temple, a very famous Hindu shrine being situated in the city of Katra. Relatively peaceful Hindu city.

Kashmir – one of the three divisions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the valley part of the state. Muslim dominated population. Famous for its scenic beauty and mountainous regions. Politically turbulent because of terrorism.

Plebiscite – the direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question.

Accession – the attainment or acquisition of a position of rank or power. 

Major blocs/countries involved

The eastern region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has also acquired a boundary dispute. In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Tibet, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern border of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and the official Chinese position did not change.

China has at times played a minor role.

Main issues

The primary argument for the continuing debate over the ownership of Kashmir is that India did not hold the promised plebiscite.

Neither side has adhered to the U.N. resolution of 13 August 1948. While India chose not to hold the plebiscite, Pakistan failed to withdraw its troops from Kashmir as was required under the resolution.

However, delegates are encouraged to interpret the matter in any way the see suitable.

Useful Links

JStore and Britannica are useful sites (if accessible) to access small fractions of useful insight and knowledge that many other delegates would otherwise not pick up on.

Wikipedia is useful to gain background knowledge, however as per most academic topics, it is only sufficient for gaining a limited summary, and therefore it would be encouraged to click on the reference links (the numbered ones, e.g. [3]) in order to access the original articles in which the Wikipedia article was formed upon.

The Pakistan Movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan_Movement

India Independence Movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_independence_movement

Kashmir Conflict: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_conflict

Useful Images:

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