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Detailed Historical Context to India-Pakistan Kashmir Issue, Recent NSA Talks and the Way Ahead

The recent NSA talks have – as the author had predicted – been called off by Pakistan.  Numerous analysts and commentators in India and the its opposition parties – including the various intriguing folks in Pakistan – have been coming up with their own versions of the situation.

The author finds discussion of central and most critical facts completely missing in the larger discourse.  It is time we look into them.

1.  Accession of Kashmir to India was Final: The Cabinet Mission memorandum, drawn up by the British, devolved powers to the states left behind.  Apart from the Indian territory, over which the British had direct control over, they had “Paramountcy” over the “princely states” which were ruled by their respective Kings.  The memorandum said that the paramountcy over the 565 Princely states will also lapse and they will have freedom to choose their own future – Independence, India or Pakistan.  This is the relevant portion.

“His Majesty’s Government will cease to exercise power of paramountcy. This means that the rights of the States, which flow from their relationship to the Crown, will no longer exist and that all the rights surrendered by the State to the paramount power will return to the States. Political arrangements between the States on the one side and the British Crown will thus be brought to an end. The void will have to be filled either by the States entering into a federal relationship with the successor government or governments in British India or, failing this, entering into particular political arrangements with it or them.” (Cabinet Mission’s Memorandum)

Since these states were monarchies, the decision to go independent/India/Pakistan was the Ruler’s and not a democratic decision.  It is a basic lesson of Civics for any student of political science.

Interestingly, the Prime Minister of Kashmir, RC Kak, sent identical telegrams to India and Pakistan on August 12, 1947 for “Standstill Agreement”, saying:

“Jammu and Kashmir Government would welcome Standstill Agreement with Union of India/Pakistan on all matters on which there exists arrangements with the outgoing British India Government.”

Pakistan replied back on August 15, 1947:

“The Government of Pakistan agrees to have Standstill Agreement with Jammu and Kashmir for the continuation of existing arrangements …”.

While India replied:

“Government of India wou:id be glad if you or some other Minister duly
authorised in this behalf could fly to Delhi for negotiating Standstill Agreement between Kashmir Government and India dominion. Early action desirable to maintain intact exlsting agreements and administrative arrangements.”

Basically Pakistan ratified the agreement and accorded Kashmir under Maharaja Hari Singh the status of sovereign state and Maharaja Hari Singh as the legitimate ruler.  The finality of Kashmir’s accession to India was also underscored by US and USSR at that time:

“External sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir is no longer under the control of the Maharaja. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, this foreign sovereignty went over to India and is exercised by India and that is how India happens to be here as a petitioner.” (US Representative in the Security Council, February 4, 1948)  “The question of Kashmir has been settled by the people of Kashmir themselves. They decided that Kashmir is an integral part of the Republic of India.” USSR representative at the 765th meeting of the Security Council

Therefore, any discussion that debates the accession of Jammu and Kashmir – the ENTIRE Kashmir (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir – PoK – and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir) is an exercise in futile!

2.  Plebiscite and Pakistani Amnesia: When the Pakistan Army officers led the invasion of Kashmir, and India came to Maharaja Hari Singh’s rescue, he signed an “Instrument of Accession” on October 27, 1947.

This was to be the basis of Kashmir’s accession to India.

Given the war and bad counsel to Indian PM Nehru, he took the issue to the United Nations.  There were three resolutions in the United Nations – January 17, 1948, August 13 1948 and finally a supplementary on January 5th 1949.

Interestingly, Pakistan talks of only one clause from the last supplementary resolution without providing any context to it – i.e., the Plebiscite.  And, in the larger national discourse of Pakistan, “Plebiscite” seems to be a buzzword that is thrown around carelessly though with an air of supreme confidence in one’s own knowledge without proper discussion to its background.  Let us check the facts now.

This supplementary resolution of January 5th, states:

 A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the Commission that the cease-fire and truce arrangements set forth in Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948, have been carried out and arrangements for the plebiscite have been completed;

So, the basis of this national buzzword of Pakistan – “Plebiscite” – is the completion of Parts I and II of the agreements in resolution of August 13, 1948.  Let us look into them.  The complete text for both are given at the end of the article, but we will look at the critical portion here.

“As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.”

Now, we have two interesting things coming out of this statement:

  1. Pakistan needs to withdraw all its troops from the State of Jammu and Kashmir.  One that was to happen from entire Jammu and Kashmir!  That known as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and that which is part of India – a state called Jammu and Kashmir.  After Pakistan had withdrawn its entire set of troops, then India had to withdraw its main forces to a level needed to administer the state.  Please note again that we are talking of the ENTIRE state of Jammu and Kashmir – including PoK and Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. Since Pakistan had to withdraw its forces completely out of the area, it is obvious that – One, it was the aggressor, and Second, the complete Jammu and Kashmir was NOT its territory at all.

We have now established two things:

One, The Entire area of Jammu and Kashmir which comprises the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir – were part of India based on the Instrument of Accession signed by Jammu and Kashmir’s ruler Maharaja Hari Singh – who was accepted by the Government of Pakistan as the legitimate soverign ruler of Jammu and Kashmir via the Standstill Agreement.

Second, the Plebiscite – the buzzword of Pakistan’s ill-informed but very vocal so-called analysts – is worth nothing in any standing.  Its application stands nullified because Part I and Part II of the resolution of August 13 had been completely destroyed.  Why?  That the troops were not taken out by Pakistan and the land vacated is the obvious reason.  But the mischief by Pakistan went further.

And this is where we move to the next point.

3.  Sino-Pak Trans-karakoram Agreement of 1963 and Nullifying of Plebiscite Argument: Along both sides of Shaksgam River, is a 5800 km2 area called the “Trans-Karakoram tract”. This area was quietly transferred by Pakistan to China. This area, incidentally, amounts to a third of the entire Kashmir area. The Shaksgam Valley has been long administered as part of Shigar area within the Baltistan region. The valley also boasts of a polo ground where Shigar kings and nobels would be invited over for a game by Amacha Royal family of Shigar. It is a difficult land though with some of the highest mountain peaks in the world such as Broad Peak, K2 and Gasherbrum. The famous Siachen glacier, where India and Pakistan fight even today is to the Southeast of this area.

Because of the Trans-Karakoram Agreement, the material situation of Jammu and Kashmir – where a third of the territory was ceded to China – had been irretrievably changed.  Plebiscite was thus rendered nullified.

It aggravates the writer as it would most Indians, that in the 65 years since then, NONE of the Indian Governments – specially during the time of 1963 (PM Nehru!) – ever challenged this agreement in the United Nations or spoke about it in International fora!  This one agreement remains the singular greatest betrayal of Indian interests in Kashmir and lack of any challenge from India is an even greater betrayal by the Congress Party and its leaders!

4.  Hoax of Kashmiri Independence and Article 257 of Pakistan Constitution: For all the talk by Pakistanis of how their hearts beat for Kashmiris and how Pakistan is so interested in their “freedom”, one only needs to read the Article 257 of Pakistan Constitution.  Here it is:

Provision relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.-When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.

So here is the process if one did not get it on first reading.

  1. First, people of Jammu and Kashmir accede to Pakistan.
  2. Then, the relationship will be determined as per the wishes of the people of that State.

It sounds like – Once I have arrested you and taken all your freedoms, then we can discuss our relationship.  Am I the only one getting it wrong here or are we on the same page?!

Its perfidy aside, do we understand the meaning of this treachery against Kashmiris which is part of Pakistani Constitution?!  That means:

Unless a Government of Pakistan has amended its Constitution to take away this Article, NO Track-II, Track-III, Track-IV, or whatever diplomacy you may want can be implemented! 

Has any Government you have seen in Pakistan, even remotely tried to do that?  Or had the power and inclination to take the whole nation of Pakistan into confidence to do this?  NO!  The “backstage diplomacy” between India and Pakistan, therefore, is a non-starter from get go!  It will NEVER BE IMPLEMENTED!

5. Diplomatic Losses by Indian Government: The losses by the Indian Diplomats and the Governments in relation to Pakistan have been aggravatingly numerous!  Let us look into them:

Naivette of 1948 UN Action by Nehru: The UN Resolutions and lack of Indian side’s insistence to name Pakistan a clear aggressor and not having any rights on the territory.  It is clear from the whole argument that this was so, but it needed to be clearly articulated.  But before that, India’s forces needed to be given a full clearance to free Kashmir from the invading Pakistani forces.  This was blocked by the British Army officers including Lord Mountbatten and despite messages by Indian Army commanders reinforcements were not sent in by Nehru.  Instead the issue was taken to the United Nations!  (Read – Definitive Story of Kashmir: Part II)

1965 Tashkent Agreement and betrayal of India: In an article written in July 2001, Kuldip Nayar describes how after the rout of Pakistan in the 1965 war – a war that was started by Bhutto as per Ayub Khan himself – Lal Bahadur Shastri did all he could to get peace with Pakistan. Bhutto never wanted that to happen and despite a small phrase added on the Tashkent Agreement – “Without resort to arms” – by Ayub Khan in his own handwriting (still in the archives of the External Affairs ministry in India), Bhutto never really intended to carry it through. (Source and also read The Betrayal of Tashkent in 1965)

1971 War, 90,000 PoWs and the betrayal of Shimla agreement:  This was the greatest betrayal for India, since the one by Nehru in 1948.  And there is no better way to speak about it than to use the words of LK Advani from his book “My Country My Life”.

In July 1972, India Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (who had by now become Pakistan’s Prime Minsiter after the exit of Gen. Yahya Khan) met in Shimla for a summit meeting.  Learning from the exprience of teh Tashkent Declaration, the Jana Sangh took the pains of reminded the government not to yield ground at Shimla.  A resolution passed in March 1972 by the party’s Working Committee said:

Ever since the end of the 14-day war with Pakistan, pressure is being mounted to force India to repatriate Pak prisoners of war (PoWs) and to withdraw Indian troops from Pakistani territory, irrespective of whether or not there is an overall peace settlement between India and Pakistan. [emphasis added]  The Communist Party of India’s resolution calling for withdrawal of Indian troops to the 1948 ceasefire line can well be regardded as reflecting Moscow’s mind…. Any piecemeal settlement of issues that suits Pakistan would be wrong, impolitic and against the best interests of India.  There should be no question of withdrawing Indian troops unless all pending issues are thrashed out and a package deal has been arrived at in the interest of a durable peace between India and Pakistan.

As part President, Atalji met Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Shimla and urged her not to agree to the release of PoWs and withdrawal of Indian troops without securing a permanent settlement with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.  Sadly, the Shimla Agreement turned out to be another betrayal.

Equating terrorism in Pakistan and India by Pakistan at Sharm Ek Sheikh in 2009: Balochistan (and India’s involvement there) is a controversy theory that has been spun by Pakistani intelligence agencies to further their own interests in persecution of the Balochis.  That story of “terrorism in Balochistan” was added to the Joint Statement after the meeting between Dr. Manmohan Singh (Indian PM) and Syed yousuf Raza Gilani (Pakistani PM).  Here is the relevant text:

Prime Minister Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice. Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its power in this regard. He said that Pakistan had provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information/evidence. Prime Minister Singh said that the dossier is being reviewed.

Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats.

Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Baluchistan and other areas

What it did was equate the Pakistan orchestrated terror in India and Pakistan’s fabricated stories of ethnic fights in its own country propagated by its oppressive military regime!  Balochistan has nothing to do with Indo-Pak relationship.  It is an internal matter of Balochistan and Pakistan.  By talking about it in the same breath as 26/11, the Manmohan Singh Government of Congress threw away India’s diplomatic plank just like Nehru, Shastri and Indira Gandhi had done in 1948, 1965 and 1972!

Preparation and Home-work by India in run up to NSA talks

One of the charge by the media – which always seems to be sucking up to the Congress and opposition – and the Oppostition (any coincidence?!) is that there was no “home-work” prior to the NSA talks and it was all a confused strategy.

But was it?

UAE is one of the most important Arab states which has had strong relations with Pakistan.  In a sort of coup and a very significant move, UAE signed a Joint Statement with India to crack down on terrorism and radicalization, including use of religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries.

Please remember – one of the most important places where the Pakistani Jehadis go hide when the trail on them is hot in Pakistan itself is Dubai!  The idea was to encircle Pakistan and close its “escape routes”.

This came after the closing on the Charbahar port deal with Iran – another neighbor and ally of Pakistan.  This port is in direct competition with Gwadar in Pakistan.

Just a day before the start of the NSA talks, the news came from the US that US was set to suspend the military aid to Pakistan as it is being now termed as a “Hostile State”.  This is no small change in the policy of US establishment towards Pakistan.

Best negotiations do NOT happen during the negotiations, but before it.  The best way to win in any negotiation is to defeat the opponent even before you enter the room.  Pakistan knew it was cornered even before the negotiations.  Indian Government was merely herding Pakistan to a point where it would cancel the talks itself.  The aim was to impress upon the talks about terror happening, and not to cancel them.  If Pakistan went into the talks it would be badly cornered, and if it didn’t, it would come out as a loser and one who stopped the discussions in world’s eyes!

So far from “confusion” or lack of strategy – the strategy was very clear – to make Pakistan either fall into the trap (sit for talks it was already cornered on) or renege on the meeting and lose the diplomatic battle.  The latter was the easy way out so it went for that.

But it takes the likes of Barkha Dutt and Manish Tewari to take the diplomatic and strategic victories of this Government and reduce it completely!

Way forward

Stage is now set.  For behind the scenes war.  Track II diplomacy is the work and past time of idiots.  Because unless some of these smart alecks can make the Pakistan leader abrogate Article 257 of the Pakistani Constitution, the Kashmir “out of the box” solution is basically “Out of the Window”!

The effort for India is to corner and completely isolate Pakistan from all sides.  It has lost a major Sunni ally in UAE and a Shia ally in Iran.  Both its neighbors and close allies.  It will further have issues in Middle East and also the Central Asian countries.  Once its isolation is increased even amongst the Islamic nations, then it will be time to further squeeze the screws on the home front and see the implosion of the majority of the economy and polity as Pakistanis know it.

So, if you are so worked up about the talks – and its not happening? – then you are basically an idiot who is better off reading Hardy Boys or Famous Five of Enid Blyton.  Your IQ hasn’t much expanded beyond that.  And that goes for Barkha Dutt and her ilk as well.  And, btw, Modi’s foreign policy is Modi’s and a different from all because he is the PM of the country!  Its time we knew that.



UN Resolution of August 13, 1948


A. The Governments of India and Pakistan agree that their respective High Commands will issue separately and simultaneously a cease-fire order to apply to all forces under their control and in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as of the earliest practicable date or dates to be mutually agreed upon within four days after these proposals have been accepted by both Governments.

B.The High Commands of the Indian and Pakistani forces agree to refrain from taking any measures that might augment the military potential of the forces under their control in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. ( For the purpose of these proposals forces under their control shall be considered to include all forces, organized and unorganized, fighting or participating in hostilities on their respective sides.

C.The Commanders-in-Chief of the forces of India and Pakistan shall promptly confer regarding any necessary local changes in present dispositions which may facilitate the cease-fire.

D. In its discretion and as the Commission may find practicable, the Commission will appoint military observers who, under the authority of the Commission and with the co-operation of both Commands, will supervise the observance of the cease-fire order.

E. The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan agree to appeal to their respective peoples to assist in creating and maintaining an atmosphere favourable to the promotion of further negotiations.


Simultaneously with the acceptance of the proposal for the immediate cessation of hostilities as outlined in Part I, both the Governments accept the following principles as a basis for the formulation of a truce agreement, the details of which shall be worked out in discussion between their representatives and the Commission.

1. As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.

2. The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.

3. Pending a final solution, the territory evacuated by the Pakistani troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the commission.


1.When the commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistani nationals referred to in Part II, A, 2, hereof have withdrawn, thereby terminating the situation which was represented by the Government of India to the Security Council as having occasioned the presence of Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and further, that the Pakistani forces are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of its forces from that State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission.

2. Pending the acceptance of the conditions for a final settlement of the situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Government will maintain within the lines existing at the moment of the cease-fire the minimum strength of its forces which in agreement with the commission are considered necessary to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order. The Commission will have observers stationed where it deems necessary.

3. The Government of India will undertake to ensure that the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will take all measures within its powers to make it publicly known that peace, law and order will be safeguarded and that all human political rights will be granted.

4. Upon signature, the full text of the truce agreement or a communique containing the principles thereof as agreed upon between the two Governments and the Commission, will be made public

Featured Image Source: Flickr \ Bahsarat Alam Shah

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2 Comments on "Detailed Historical Context to India-Pakistan Kashmir Issue, Recent NSA Talks and the Way Ahead"

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captainjohann samuhanand
August 26, 2015 12:07 am
@Kapoor A very informative and detailed analysis. The agreement at UFA was not going to be implementd by Pakistan as we understood and interpreted.This should be known to our NSA. The UAE trip by our PM is good but that is because Pakistan refused to send troops for Yemen operation.The former ISI boss Sujat Pasha continues to be in the pay of Government of UAE while looking after the covert interests of Pakistan. Only if Dawwod assets are seized in UAE we can be sure of UAE help. Indian nationals who go on Haj but do not return but go… Read more »