For years, I use to wonder…Why the hell both the nations are fighting for Kashmir, even if Kashmirs isn’t good for anything apart from it’s scenic beauty.
The people of Kashmir are still tribal in nature. The geography is mostly rural, with fierce mountains, deserts, and valleys. Industry is undeveloped. If this region has natural resources such as oil or gold or silver in any quantity, this has not yet been discovered.
Why the fuss? Does it worth it?
Well, Yes…totally. 🙂 (Later I realized..)
1.) Control of the Indus River.
- The headwaters of the Indus River are located in Kashmir. Whomever controls the headwaters, controls the river. The Indus is vital. It brings green fertile life wherever it flows.
- The Indus begins in Kashmir, then flows through Pakistan, then flows into mainland India. If India chose, since Kashmir is part of India, they could dam the Indus and change the flow of the river.
- Without fertile land to grow crops, Pakistan would become a desert and its people would starve.
- Pakistan does not trust India, nor does India trust Pakistan. They will not share control of the Indus. They both want total control.
2.) Religious Sites.
Both Pakistan and India have sites in Kashmir that are important to their respective religions.
* Pakistan is predominately Muslim. Kashmir is predominately Muslim.
* India is predominately Hindu.
3.) Strategic Location.
- For India, Kashmir acts as a buffer.
- For Pakistan, Kashmir offers a fertile roadway into India for possible invasion.
4.) Trade/ Commerce:
- Kashmir connects 4 Nations. India, China, Pakistan & Afghanistan.
- If the issue can be resolved & peace can be established in the region, then certainly Kashmirs will be the gateway to North India & will make Indian Trade flourish in Northern part.
- Same goes with Pakistan, they will also use it to get more Trade for their country.
- India wants to control Kashmir to try to prevent other restless regions in the country (Punjab, North Eastern States etc) from declaring independence.
- And to symbolically present itself as a secular state rather than a Hindu country.
Few more explanation by Balaji Vishwanathan
has already provided the major points. Indians believe they have right to Kashmir because the last monarch of that kingdom signed the agreement to merge that region into India [ ]. Later, the people of that region elected representatives to write a constitution that ratified the accession of their monarch.
Pakistanis believe they have the right to Kashmir because demographically there are more Muslims than Hindus [a key argument to the partition of India was religion] and that many of their major cities are right next to Kashmir [more emotional bonds & security constraints].
For Pakistan, Kashmir is an unfinished business in India’s partition of 1947. That partition was the basis for their nation and hence they see that more positively. For India, the partition was absolute horror with millions of people dying – it shivers them to imagine repeating the same process to divide Kashmir. Thus, India wants status quo – the situation as is – any change might be brutal for the people living there.
That said, the chief of Northern Command [that controls Kashmir] believes that India could win a plebiscite now [The issue is that the events ahead of plebiscite could be a bloodbath as the terror forces would want to influence the outcomes and this is why a plebiscite is not getting now.