||The English used in this article may not be easy for everybody to understand. (February 2012)|
Kashmir (Urdu: کشمیر, Kashmiri: کٔشِیر), also known as Cashmere, is a region in South-central Asia. The term Kashmir historically was described as the valley just to the south of the western end of the Himalayan mountain range. Today, Kashmir refers to a much larger area that includes the regions of Kashmir Valley, Jammu region and Ladakh. The main "Valley of Kashmir" is a low fertile area surrounded by mountains and fed by many rivers. People like it for its natural beauty and simple lifestyle. Kashmir is also a Disputed Territory. Pakistan, India and China hold parts of this region.
The economy of the region is focused on agriculture. People grow rice there. In the Indian part they also grow corn, such as wheat and barley. Its climate is different from that of most of the Indian subcontinent: It is milder. Therefore, crops like artichoke, cauliflower, cabbage and certain kinds of beans are also grown.
Kashmir is home to the finest saffron in the world.
Tourism has been important in Kashmir for many years. Many people call the region Paradise on Earth. Tourists visit Kashmir from all over the world irrespective of nationality and religion. In spite of a drop in footfalls due to terrorism in the last decade, Kashmir still remains one of the most sought after tourist destinations.
|State animal||Kashmir Stag|
|State bird||Black-necked Crane|
|State tree||Chinar tree|
|State language||Urdu||پاک کشمیری اردو|
Current conflict [change]
What is known as the Kashmir conflict has existed since India and Pakistan became independent states. On October 20, 1947, tribesmen backed by Pakistan invaded Kashmir. The Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir initially fought back but on 27 October appealed for assistance to the Governor-General Louis Mountbatten, who agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Once the papers of accession to India were signed, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir with orders to stop any further occupation, but they were not allowed to expel anyone from the state. India took the matter to the United Nations. The UN resolution asked Pakistan to vacate the areas it has occupied and asked India to assist the U.N. Plebiscite Commission to organize a plebiscite to determine the will of the people. Pakistan refused to vacate the occupied areas.
Today Kashmir is split, as follows:
- Republic of India controls the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is made of the Jammu region, the Kashmir valley, and Ladakh. Pakistan refers to this as Indian occupied kashmir or Indian controlled Kashmir, or Indian-annexed kashmir and Indian-held kashmir.
- The territories known as Northern Areas and Azad Jammu and Kashmir are administered by Pakistan. Islamabad calls them Pakistan-administered Kashmir. India refers to this as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- The region called Aksai Chin is controlled by China. China also controls a territory it received from Pakistan, called Trans-Karakoram Tract. The legality of this swap is disputed by India.
- The Siachen Glacier is currently a disputed territory, India controls the glacier, Pakistan the valley below.
- The Trans-Karakoram Tract is an area Pakistan gave to China in 1963, March 3rd. Pakistan says the area was uninhabited, so there is no problem to this. India claims this area as part of its state Jammu and Kashmir.
Lines of conflict [change]
India and Pakistan have fought several wars over Kashmir. In 1949 and 1972 they agreed on a border for most of the Territories (except for the Siachen Glacier). This demarcation line which marks the border between India and Pakistan is known as Line of Control. It is guarded by Indian and Pakistani troops.
The border between Aksai Chin, held by China, and Jammu and Kashmir, held by India is known as Line of Actual Control.
The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) refers to the current position that divides Indian and Pakistani troops in the Siachen Glacier region. The line extends from the northernmost point of the LOC (Line of Control) to Indira Col.
The Siachen Glacier and the bordering Saltoro Range first saw military action in 1984 when the Indian Army occupied the glacier and the Saltoro range to pre-empt a Pakistani action to do the same. This operation was codenamed Operation Meghdoot (Divine Messenger of the clouds). There have been several minor changes to the held positions, however the Indian Armed forces have held onto the heights of the Saltoro range.
This line runs across the edge of the Saltoro range which is a mountainous plateau with peaks which have heights in excess of 8,000 meters. The Indian soldiers hold onto the heights on the plateau, preventing the Pakistani soldiers from climbing up the Saltoro range. The current position of the AGPL follows the general line:
Indira Col - Sia La pass - Saltoro Kangri 1 - Bilafond La pass - K12 - Gyong La pass - NJ9842
Water dispute [change]
Another reason behind the dispute over Kashmir is water. Many rivers start in Kashmir. Some of them are tributaries of the Indus River basin, such as the Jhelum and Chenab River. These flow into Pakistan. Other rivers like the Ravi, Beas River and the Sutlej irrigate northern India. Pakistan has been apprehensive that in a dire need India under whose portion of Kashmir lies the origins and passage of the said rivers, would use its strategic advantage and withhold the flow and thus choke the agrarian economy of Pakistan.
One of the origins of the conflict is that with the Boundary Award of 1947, many of the Pakistani irrigation systems can be controlled from India, because some of them are now located in Indian territory. The Indus Waters Treaty signed in 1960 resolved most of these disputes over the sharing of water. It called both parties to co-operate in this regard. The treaty faced issues because India has since constructed dams which limit the water flow to the Pakistani side.
Map issues [change]
Map of UN's version of the Kashmir region
As with other disputed territories, each government issues maps depicting their claims in Kashmir as part of their territory, regardless of actual control. It is illegal in India to exclude all or part of Kashmir in a map. It is also illegal in Pakistan not to include the state of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory, as permitted by the U.N. Non-participants often use the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control as the depicted boundaries, as is done in the CIA World Factbook, and the region is often marked out in hashmarks, although the Indian government strictly opposes such practices. When Microsoft released a map in Windows 95 and MapPoint 2002, a controversy was raised because it did not show all of Kashmir as part of India as per Indian claim. However, all the neutral and Pakistani companies claim to follow UN's map and over 90% of all maps containing the territory of Kashmir show it as disputed territory.
International responses [change]
UN: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on the map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Dotted line represents approximately the Line of Control of Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by the Republic of India and the Government of Pakistan since 1972. Both the parties have not yet agreed upon the final status of the region and nothing significant has been implemented since the peace process began in 2004. See UN map of Jammu and Kashmir, accepted by most countries of the world
Islamabad: The Government of Pakistan maintains un-provisionally and unconditionally stating that the informal "Accession of Jammu and Kashmir" to Pakistan or even to the Republic of India remains to be decided by UN plebiscite. It accepts UN's map of the territory. The designations and the presentation of the Kashmir's regional map based on UNO practice, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Commonwealth Secretariat or the publishers concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. There is no intention to define the status Jammu and/or Kashmir, which has not yet been agreed upon by the parties. It further says that boundaries must be based on historical, geographical and not political orientated.
New Delhi: The Government of India states that "the external artificial boundaries of the Republic of India, especially concerning the international borders under its jurisdiction created by a foreign body are neither correct nor authenticated".
Beijing: The Communist government of the People's Republic Of China maintains it's control over what is known as the Chinese Kashmir, it is claimed and disputed by the Republic of India; however recognized by Pakistan as part of China as per its claimed, stating that the Line of Actual Control is not demarcated or boundary undefined, the frontier is yet to be finalised, between the states involved.
- "Manning the Siachen Glacier". Bharat Rakshak Monitor. 2003. http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE6-1/Siachen.html. Retrieved 2011=01-27.
Other pages [change]