Why do India and Pakistan Fight So Much? Is Plebiscite a Solution?

The India-Pakistan Conflict 

Why do both countries spend billions of dollars and lose thousands of men at the cost of prosperity? The Answer: Kashmir.

But First, A Short History Lesson for the Uninitiated

A long-long time ago, there existed a flourishing Civilization by the mighty river Indus. The ancient Greeks referred to the people living here as "Indoi" which translates as "The People of Indus". The name 'Indus' itself, was derived from the Sanskrit word 'Sindhu', the Persians referred to this as 'Hindush'. There are other significant names for India (Bharat and Hindustan), but the name is not really important in this context. 

Stuff happened, the civilization went south, great empires rose and fell and many a mighty kings continuously fought over dominance of the Indian Sub-Continent. 

Then something significant happened on 31st December 1600 that would change the fate of India, forever. Two guys named John Watts and George White decided to hustle. In short, they started up the 'East India Company'.  Why? Money. Then Why India? In 1600, India accounted for 22.4% of the World's GDP. To give you context, the United States of America accounts for an approximate 15% of the Global GDP as of 2019. That made India an Economic SuperPower in those days. They came in as traders and with the blessings of Jahangir (Mughal Indian Emperor at that time) quickly expanded and dominated trade to the extent that they became a monopoly. Through skilful manipulation and a policy of divide and rule they quickly gained control over India as rulers. A lot of Indian's did not like that for various reasons. They decided to rebel in 1857 but the rebellion was crushed. The British Government did not like the fact that the company allowed the rebellion to happen. Therefore, under the provisions of the "Government of India Act 1858", the British Government nationalized the company. The Times commented on 8 April 1873:
'It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other trading Company ever attempted, and such as none, surely, is likely to attempt in the years to come.'
Long story short, India ended up funding a great part of Britain's Prosperity and World Wars with Wealth and Men. India's share of World GDP fell from 16.04% in 1820 to an impoverished 4.17% in 1950. India went from being a Global Economic Force to a poor nation. Actually, 2 poor nations - India and Pakistan. 

"Why do India and Pakistan Fight So Much?"

India was divided into two nations. India and Pakistan. India for people of all faiths and Pakistan for Muslims. The various princely rulers were able to choose which state to join.
At the time of independence, Hari Singh was the 'Hindu' head of a majority 'Muslim' state of Kashmir. He was unable to take a timely decision. Agitated by reports of attacks on Muslims and out of patience with Hari Singh's delaying tactics - In October 1947 tribesmen from Pakistan invaded Kashmir. 
Hari Singh asked for Indian military assistance. India Agreed on the precondition that Hari Singh joins India. Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession that month, relinquishing control over foreign and defence policy to India. 
War Ensued. Indian troops took two-thirds of Kashmir, and Pakistan seized the remainder. In the 1950s, China occupied Eastern Parts of Kashmir from India. 
The United Nations did take notice and on 21st April 1948 adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 with the purpose of helping Governments of India and Pakistan secure peace and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir. 
This territory is what has been the cause of 3 wars, thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent on fighting. 

"So why don't we just conduct a Plebiscite? Simple Right!"

It's a bit more complicated than that. 

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 laid down a three step process for the Plebiscite to take place: 

  • Step 1: Pakistan was to secure the withdrawal of all tribesmen and Pakistani nationals from Kashmir, putting an end to the fighting in the state.

  • Step 2:  India was asked to "progressively reduce" its forces to the minimum level required for keeping law and order. It laid down principles that India should follow in administering law and order in consultation with the Commission, using local personnel as far as possible.

  • Step 3:  India was asked to appoint a plebiscite administrator nominated by the United Nations who would conduct a free and impartial plebiscite.

Firstly, Step 1 was never fulfilled by Pakistan. Therefore, the ensuing steps never followed. Secondly, the the time, demographics and setting of the plebiscite solution isn't reflective of the current state of Kashmir. Therefore, Plebiscite has been ruled out by India.

What do you think is the solution? Comment below.

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Why do India and Pakistan Fight So Much? Is Plebiscite a Solution? Why do India and Pakistan Fight So Much? Is Plebiscite a Solution? Reviewed by EMN on March 03, 2019 Rating: 5

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