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Indian Position: Jammu & Kashmir; Embassy of India - Washington, DC

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A Comprehensive Note on Jammu & Kashmir


India has remained committed to developing and maintaining close and friendly relations with all its neighbours. It has promoted regional cooperation in social, cultural, political and other fields through the SAARC mechanism and in other ways. This would be the best guarantor of an improvement in the living standards of the people of India and its neighbouring countries. With Pakistan, India has remained committed to the establishment of a cooperative relationship based on mutual respect and a regard for each other’s concerns. There is much that the two countries can do together in the fields of trade, agriculture, industry; in environment; in the promotion of cultural and people to people contacts. India will work towards the resolution of all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, through a direct bilateral dialogue process as mandated in the Shimla Agreement. There is no place for any third party involvement of any nature whatsoever in such a process.

Any discussion on improving relations cannot, and should not, envisage a re-writing of history. Relations have to move forward from the present to a brighter future. With regard to Jammu and Kashmir there can never be any question of any discussion on the status of the state or on the question of its accession to the Indian Union. These are unalterable facts of history which cannot be re-opened or questioned. India has concerns about continuing Pakistani support to and instigation of terrorism in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as well as its illegal and forcible control of Part the State’s territory since 1947.

India’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the issue is reflected in its agreeing to uphold the status-quo as has existed since 1947. It is significant that the Cease-Fire Line was changed to the Line of Control in 1972. This was not merely a change of nomenclature but a consequence of an agreement, seeking to adhere to the status quo by all means. Pakistan’s attempts over the past nine years to alter the status quo through proxy war are headed for failure as its earlier attempts through open hostilities and war failed in 1948, 1965 and 1971.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that a democratic polity is best equipped to enable the people to fulfill their aspirations and govern their own destiny in an atmosphere of freedom. Participatory government where the people choose their own representatives and leaders is the most effective instrument for the social, economic, political and cultural development of a nation providing also for the preservation and strengthening of the identity of the various ethnic, religious and racial communities that constitute today’s nation states.

India has been regarded as the world’s largest functioning, stable and secular democracy since its independence over five decades ago. And the democratic tenets that govern the rest of India have also held sway in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In this lay the rationale for Sheikh Abdullah’s decision to call for, and repeatedly endorse, the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. Since the accession the people of Jammu and Kashmir have participated in elections while the Constitution of India, in terms of article 370, provides the framework that guarantees the special identity and status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union.

If indeed the desire of the world community is to ensure peace and stability and to permit the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to determine their own destiny in an atmosphere of freedom, this can only be achieved under the democratic framework of modern India and not under the kind of extremist, obscurantist polity that the ideology of the terrorist and mercenary groups seeks to impose on the people of the State.

Accordingly, the Indian position, in the face of Pakistan’s propaganda over the years has remained consistent.

  • The accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir took place as per the provisions of the India Independence Act and is final and legal and cannot be disputed. The States that acceded to Pakistan did so in the same manner and the rulers decision was accepted. Pakistan made no attempt to ascertain the will of the people of these states. If there is any "unfinished" business of partition it is the requirement that Pakistan relinquish control of that part of Jammu and Kashmir that it illegally occupies.
  • The UN Resolutions calling for the will of the people to be ascertained are no longer tenable because Pakistan has not fulfilled the precondition of withdrawal from the territory it occupied through aggression. This resulted in a long delay in the implementation of the Security Council Resolutions and led Mr. Gunnar Jarring, the Representative of Sweden on the UN Security Council and the President of the Council, who had been requested by the Council to explore options of arriving at a solution through discussions with India and Pakistan, to observe in his 1957 report to the President of the Security Council that "...The Council will, furthermore, be aware of the fact that the implementation of international agreements of an 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 ..." In the meantime, the will of the people of J&K has been repeatedly determined through elections in India.
  • After Pakistan’s attempts to alter the status quo by force of war in 1965 it has forfeited the right to invoke the UN Resolutions. The fact that the Council stopped recalling the resolutions of 1948 and 1949 underscored the irrelevance of those resolutions with the passage of time.
  • The will of the people does not need to be ascertained only through a plebiscite. Democratic elections are a recognised means of ascertaining the wishes of the people and the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have repeatedly participated in such elections. The same cannot be said of the parts under the occupation of Pakistan where, in the Northern Areas, adult franchise has still not been granted.
  • Kashmir is not an Islamic or a religious issue and the two nation theory has been seen to be irrelevant. A sizable Muslim community chose to live in India at the time of partition rather than move to Pakistan. The most prominent Kashmiri political party, the National Conference, headed by a popular Muslim leader, Sheikh Abdullah sought and endorsed the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation proved conclusively, if further proof were needed, that the notion that all Muslims of the sub-continent would wish to be a part of Pakistan, which is the basis of Pakistan’s claim to Jammu and Kashmir, was a fallacy.
  • The extremist structure that Pakistan wishes to impose on Kashmir is alien to the Kashmiri ethos which has been one of tolerance and coexistence with its origins in the Sufi expression of Islam that is Kashmir’s heritage.
  • The problem of Kashmir today is one of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. The targets are Muslims in Kashmir, belying Pakistan’s argument that it is concerned about the welfare of Muslims in Kashmir. The international community must impress upon Pakistan to desist from such terrorism so that the democratic political process, which India has restored to the state, is not held hostage by terrorists who, even now, continue to target political leaders, the majority of whom are Muslims.
  • The internal situation of Jammu and Kashmir is, by the will of its people, strictly India’s affair and there is no call for any international intervention.
  • India wants to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan and has started a dialogue for this purpose. However the integrity and sovereignty of India cannot be a matter for discussion. India is committed to protecting the human rights of all its citizens and for this purpose militancy must be eradicated.
  • Every State has the duty to protect the life and property of its citizens and cannot countenance their security being threatened by armed terrorists. Any discussion of the question of human rights must take into account the environment in which the state authorities have to function. Jammu and Kashmir has been a target of Pak sponsored terrorism for years and this aspect is fundamental to any discussion of human rights. The Indian Government has sought to maintain transparency in the state. International and Indian media personnel, foreign diplomats, the International Committee or the Red Cross, all have free access to Jammu and Kashmir. The National Human Rights Commission of India and the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission are performing a stellar role in taking cognisance of, and enquiring into, allegations of human rights violations. The NHRC has undertaken, at its own discretion, investigations into incidents where human rights were reported to have been violated and where these have been substantiated, it has called for punitive action.

Other Chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Geography & History
  3. History
  4. The Accession
  5. Tribal Raids and the Accession
  6. The United Nations
  7. Pakistan's aggression against India
  8. Pakistan's aggression: 1984-1998
  9. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
  10. The Northern areas
  11. Indian Position
  12. Pakistan's anti-India propaganda