The Flash-Point of South Asia: Kashmir in Indo-Pakistani Relations
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been an object of dispute between India and Pakistan since their emergence from the detritus of the British Indian empire in August 1947. The two antagonists have fought three wars: in 1947-48, 1965, and 1971. The first two wars dealt directly with the question of Kashmir. Beyond the bilateral dispute, the Kashmir issue has three other important dimensions which will be dealt with in this chapter. The first deals with Kashmir's controversial status within the Indian Union since its accession to India in October 1947. The second concerns the exigencies of Indian domestic politics, which contributed directly to the rise of the violent ethno-religious secessionist movement that has wracked the state since 1989. In this so-called 'low-intensity' conflict, more than 35,000 individuals lost their lives since December 1989.1 Finally, in the aftermath of the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in May 1998, the Kashmir dispute has attracted renewed international attention as a potential flashpoint in Indo-Pakistani relations.