The Situation in Jammu/Kashmir
One of the longest standing unresolved conflicts in the world today is the conflict in the Kashmir between India and Pakistan, which began in 1947. Today, the Kashmir region is fraught with both peaceful and non-peaceful uprisings, protests by Muslims and Hindus alike, and threats of war from both countries.
Before the end of British colonial rule, the Indian subcontinent was made up of 650 different independent states, which were largely divided along religious lines. The same was mostly true after 1947, as Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan became separate independent countries. However, one area defied this categorization; the Kashmir region, which in 1947 was ruled by the Maharaja Hari Singh, a Hindu, and whose populace was almost entirely Muslim. Almost immediately after the partitioning of the subcontinent, war broke out between the fledgling nations over control of the region.
The Maharaja signed an accession agreement with India in 1947, and after a 1948 Security Council Resolution attempted to curb the violence, a ceasefire was reached in 1949, with India and Pakistan partitioning the region in a 65/35 split. The newly-created Jammu and Kashmir region of India would formally enter the Indian Union in 1957, with the ceasefire line (known as the Line of Control after the 1972 Simla Agreement) becoming the de-facto border between the two nations. Still, fighting would continue over the region, with wars breaking out between the two nations in 1965, 1971-72, and again in 1999 following years of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir that India accused Pakistan of supporting. The 1999 fighting, known as the Kargil War, is one of the few instances of direct armed conflict between nations possessing nuclear weapons.
It should be noted, however, that India and Pakistan are not the only players in this conflict. Throughout the 1950’s, China gradually took control of the eastern portion of Indian-administered Kashmir, known as Aksai Chin. This led to a war between the two nations, which China won in 1962, and in 1963 Pakistan ceded the Trans-Karakoram Tract, their eastern portion of the Kashmir, to China.
The United Nations has had a role in this conflict since its beginning. The Security Council has passed multiple resolutions regarding the conflict (Security Council Resolutions 39, 47, and 91), the first of which established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). Once a ceasefire was established, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was formed and is still in place today.
This conflict has been raging for seven decades. Many peace talks and cease-fire agreements have been brokered, all of which have failed. If there is any hope for peaceful future relations between India and Pakistan, this territorial dispute needs to be resolved. Your task in this committee is to broker an agreement between India and Pakistan that creates a lasting peace in Jammu/Kashmir. You will need to take into account past unsuccessful agreements as well as the motives of India and Pakistan for continuing the conflict.
Questions to consider:
- What are your country’s relationships with India and Pakistan?
- Does your country have any involvement or stake in the conflict?
- Does your country have any history of border disputes?
- What would the utility of a peacekeeping mission in the region be?
- What effect has the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan had on the conflict?
- Does it matter that both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons? If so, why?
Documents to Consider:
- Security Council Resolution 39, 1948
- Security Council Resolution 47, 1948
- Security Council Resolution 91, 1951
Resources to Consider:
- Simla Agreement, defining Kashmir ceasefire line as Line of Control, de facto border between India and Pakistan