Monday, April 09, 2007
The root of most conflicts and the mutual hatred lies in Kashmir and in the manner in which its political alignment was decided by the two countries following partition in 1947. Kashmir was ruled by a Hindu Maharajah ruling a largely muslim population who tried to make Kashmir an independent state. But following an invasion by Pakistani tribals and some regulars he acceeded to India. Immediately afterwards the First Kashmir War broke out between the two nations over the mountainous region of Kashmir when Indian and Pakistani troops fought against each other. The war lasted for more than a year with both nations making significant advances into each other's territory. As the war was ended by a UN ceasefire, India had managed to secure just under three-fifths of Kashmir and importantly the most fertile part of it including the Kashmir Valley.The Second Kashmir War again involved the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan infiltrating and starting a rebellion in Jammu and Kashmir, India (See Operation Gibraltar) The plan was a non-starter and India reacted by launching a formal attack on Pakistan igniting the war. The war ended in stalemate.The third war was unique in in that it did not involve the issue of Kashmir but was entirely about East Pakistan and the crisis brewing there. After months of internal conflict India decided to help the Bengalis in East Pakistan much to the consternation of West Pakistan. Within just a fortnight the Indian Military had decisively defeated Pakistan with the aid of the rebels and forced a surrender upon Pakistan.The latest war, the Kargil War, is considered a minor war though it produced stirring emotions between the two nations involved coming at a time of increased media and electronic coverage. The war ended in a multi-pronged victory for India. The withdrawal of Pakistan from its occupation was seen both as a politico-diplomatic triumph as much as a military success.