Kashmir is a disputed territory that is bordered by its three claimants, Pakistan, India, and China. The territory is divided into unequal sections among these three countries with the largest portion claimed by India. The primary dispute is between Pakistan and India, which have been involved in several wars and smaller skirmishes since the middle of the last century. The first war between India and Pakistan over territorial rights to Kashmir took place in 1947, which established today’s disputed boundaries. Basically, Kashmir has never been given the option of independence and continues to be a region of violent territorial disputes between Pakistan and India. The United Nations played a significant role in furthering this violent dispute. After the India-Pakistan war of 1947, the United Nations helped establish the current borderlines, but never gave Kashmir the chance to be an autonomous state. The United Nations, backed by the U.S. and the UK, declared that Kashmir would have to remain a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.
Although Kashmir has its own legislature and a “formally” elected chief minister, many believe that it is a puppet regime controlled by India’s army and intelligence agency. During the 1990s, India sent a half a million troops into Kashmir to suppress the Pakistani backed Islamic fundamentalists that were very active during that time. Pakistan no longer has a strong Islamic fundamentalist hold in Kashmir, but Indian troops remain in the region, which many see as a long-term national oppression of Kashmir’s people. The current status of the dispute over Kashmir can now be described as an ongoing proxy war between India and Pakistan. As of today, independent attacks on each nation occur from time to time as a means of conveying foreign policy demands, but neither side engages in official government sanctioned attacks.
While the Kashmir region is technically divided and governed by each claimant, neither country has officially acknowledged either side’s claim to territorial ownership. This underlying border dispute continues to damage relations between India and Pakistan, which causes both sides many problems they don’t need. With India doing all it can to progress its remarkable economic development, this border dispute with Pakistan seems like an unneeded distraction that is consuming valuable resources. It is also unfair that the people who actually live in Kashmir have never been given a chance to govern themselves without outside influence. Kashmiri people, who simply want independence, have carried out many protests that condemn both India and Pakistan for their unwillingness to allow Kashmir to be free. With all the problems India already faces as an emerging economy, its government should work with the UN and Pakistan to come to an amicable resolution.