The Drums of War in Kashmir
The latest Indo-Pakistani skirmish may summon a sense of déjà vu, but the fact is that the dynamic is transformed, with Pakistan now the side vying for peace. It is up to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to look past short-term political pressures and allow tensions in Kashmir to ease.
LAHORE – Tensions between India and Pakistan are at their highest level in decades, and many fear the nuclear-armed neighbors are on the brink of yet another war over the disputed Kashmir region. But the latest eruption is different from its predecessors.
The two countries’ struggle over Kashmir began in 1947. After Pakistan supported a Muslim insurgency in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the state’s Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, decided to cede the territory to India in exchange for armed assistance. Since the state’s population was predominantly Muslim, however, Pakistan cried foul and sent in troops, which India countered with more troops of its own.
The war resulted in a stalemate, with the United Nations helping to secure a ceasefire in 1949. As part of the deal, the state was divided between India and Pakistan – and remains so to this day.