UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

History of the Kashmir dispute : an aspect of India-Pakistan relations Fraser, Herbert Patrick Grant


The purpose of this thesis is to study and analyse the development of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, the effect of their respective outlooks upon the various proposals for settlement brought forward by the United Nations or their own leaders, and the reasons for each subsequent failure to resolve the eighteen year deadlock. Twelve years ago, Michael Brecher concluded in The Struggle for Kashmir that both India and Pakistan had economic, strategic and political interests in the State; and of the three, those brought about by the two-nation theory and the conflicting religious and secular policies were deemed to be the most important. While one cannot disagree with Brecher's general conclusions, this writer feels that the specific importance of Kashmir to either India or Pakistan at any given time is not a constant factor but instead has been influenced by contemporary foreign and domestic events and has been in a perpetual state of change. What was considered of primary importance in 1947, therefore, does not necessarily hold the same position today. Indeed, to single out one factor as the reason for the continuation of the dispute would not only be inopportune, but incorrect. Because of the very nature of the dispute and its international and domestic.characteristics, one is faced by a plethora of material - including White Papers on correspondence; over one hundred Security Council debates; many pamphlets and some thousands of diplomatic newsletters. It has been necessary, therefore, to sift through all available evidence and to extract only that which is pertinent to the topic. It must be realized that because of the importance of Kashmir to both India and Pakistan;, all the information from governmental sources or written by their nationals contains the type of material calculated to present their case in the best possible light. Thus it becomes necessary in many cases - the Pathan incursions in October 1947, the Jinnah-Mountbatten talks and the Mohammed All-Nehru discussions, and the essence of the Nehru-Sheikh Abdullah proposals for federation - to read between the lines in order to trace developments. In the early stages of the dispute, one can sympathize with Pakistan's claim to Kashmir and her efforts to obtain a "free and impartial plebiscite." Unlike India, she accepted every practical proposal brought forward to settle the dispute. Although neither India nor Pakistan produced a statesman capable of resolving the deadlock, the former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, must be singled out as the major contributor to the continuation of the dispute. It was not that his actions were incomparable with his Pakistani counterparts; but rather that as a statesman of such magnitude, willing to solve the world's problems - with or without invitation he could adopt a self-righteous "Babu" attitude when dealing with the State. Indeed, Nehru appears to have become emotionally incapable of treating Pakistan as an equal; hence the dispute continued in deadlock. India's intransigence has continued in open defiance of the United Nations and in complete contradiction to her earlier promises for self-determination in Kashmir. Notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan, in her effort to gain international support for her Kashmir policy, has virtually talked - herself out of any claim to the State, one can now sympathize with the Indian position. It is not that India is more right today than eighteen years ago, but rather that her interest in the State - originally a prestige issue - has now degenerated to the point where a plebiscite could possibly mean her internal collapse through the onslaught of communalism. She accepted and held Kashmir as a showplace for secularism and for the prestige offered by its geographic location; today she controls a monster within which could lie the seeds of her own destruction. The point of view taken in this thesis, therefore, is that the existing stalemate appears to be the only practical solution to the Kashmir dilemma, and that history may prove Nehru's negative attitude towards Kashmir to have been correct. Nevertheless, it is significant to note that the voice of Kashmiri nationalism has yet to be taken into account.

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