The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, signed the accession papers and sent them to the Government of India on October 26, 1947; “Now, therefore,’ I, Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singh Ji, Jammu Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipathi Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir state, in the exercise of my sovereignty in and over my said state do hereby execute this my instrument of Accession”. This way the Maharaja submitted his accession papers which were accepted by the then Governor General, Mountbatten, on October 27, 1947.
Maharaja Hari Singh
After this accession, even India had no right to talk with short-sightedness. Such a purposeless talk had not only insulted the accession proposal of Maharaja Hari Singh but also violated the Independence Act. Under this Act the rulers of the State had been given the right for accession. Nothing had been said about the right of self-determination for the people of the State. In fact Mountbatten was desirous of keeping the fate of Kashmir hanging and he performed this act through Pt. Nehru and R.C. Kak. The Constitution of India was adopted on January 26, 1950 and there was no provision kept for self-determination in the Constitution. Therefore, the Government of India too had no right to talk about this plan. When the Constitution of India has not given the right to Government of India to review the questions of self-determination and accession, it is unconstitutional and illegal for any international organisation to talk anything in the context of India.
The entire dispute should have ended with the ratification of the accession by the Constituent Assembly on November 17, 1956. Both Pakistan and the Security Council have lost any right to talk anything about Kashmir or do anything about it.The people to whom was connected the question of self-determination were the same people who had elected the Constituent Assembly which had accepted the accession. This Assembly adopted the Constitution of the State. The clause three of this Constitution makes it clear “Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain inseparable part of India.”
The clause four of the Constitution is: The entire area, which was under the control of the ruler of the State till August 15, 1947, will remain withir. the territory of the State.
On August 15, 1947 the Pakistan held Kashmir was also under the control of the ruler of the State. Therefore, it is evident that the entire Jammu and Kashmir State is an inseparable part of India. The Maharaja had acceeded this undivided state to India. As such occupation of even an inch of the territory of Kashmir by Pakistan will be treated as aggression on India. This clause of the Constitution is further strengthened and shielded by clause 147. According to this clause, clause four cannot be nullified. And the Security Council too loses its right to give guidance and direction to India on matters connected with Kashmir. The Security Council can only advise Pakistan to vacate the Indian territory. And if Pakistan does not accept the suggestion ofthe Security Council, it can adopt a resolution against it and ask other countries to snap ties with Pakistan. But the Security Council has become a wrestling arena for political groups and as such it will not be wisdom to have any expectations from this powerless and lifeless international body.
Hide and seek of the Security Council
When India wrote to the Security Council about Pakistani aggression, it could do nothing except behaving like a spectator. It kept on adopting one resolution after the other but it could not prevail upon Pakistan to vacate the Indian state after declaring it an aggressor. Had not India unilaterally ordered cease-fire, it would have not only regained its two-third area of Kashmir but the Indian troops could have entered into the Pakistani territory ? At that time the Indian Prime Minister was neither any strong-willed Sarvarkar, nor any Subash or Dr. Hedgewar. Had Sardar Patel been appointed as the Prime Minister he would have finished the artificial line of partition by directing the Indian Army to march forward. The British had left India and the entire Army was under our control and this way the Congress would have washed away the blot of partition on its forehead. But the Oxford graduate, Nehru, lacked diplomacy and political wisdom.
The settlement of Kashmir became an object for the Security Council for playing hide and seek. On July 4, 1948 the Security Council sent a commission to have an on the spot assessment of the situation. On reaching Karachi, the Commission was told by one Pakistani officer, Sir Zaffarullah Khan, that three brigades of Pakistani Army had been deployed on the Kashmir border. But he called it part of self-defence plan thereby trying to prove that India was an aggressor.
After two years, in September 15,1950, a similar Commission, headed by an expert on international law, Owen Dixon, came to the following conclusion as a representative of the United Nations.
“When the rebel elements entered into the borders of Jammu and Kashmir, it was violation of the international law. When in May 1947 Pakistani Army entered into this state, it too was a violation of the international law”.
This Dixon had charged Pakistan with the open violation of the international law. In reality the Security Council too has accepted Kashmir’s accession to India. One American representative of the Security Council had given a statement on February 4, 1948.He had said: “The external ruler of Kashmir is not now under the control of the Maharaja. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India this right has been vested in the hands of India and on the basis of that right India has placed this question here”.
The Security Council deployed UN observers on both sides of the cease-fire line. After that it adopted a resolution calling upon Pakistan to withdraw its troops, citizens and tribals from Kashmir. This way the United Nations accepted the defence aspect of India. But Pakistan, till date, has been violating this direction and resolution. Even after this, Pakistan has turned down the parleys between India and Pakistan. In August 1953 talks between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan took place where it was agreed to withdraw their troops from Kashmir. But again Pakistan adopted obstinate attitude.
The United Nations has always failed to control such attitude of Pakistan. Pakistan declared open war on India twice and the United Nations succeeded in halting the war but it remained incapable of resolving this dispute. The Security Council did not concentrate on the basic complaint of India which it had submitted to the Council in January, 1948.
Even though the gains of aggression to Pakistan were valuable and important, the territory still left with India was of much greater extent, value and importance. It included Kashmir Valley and parts of Uri and Titwal sub- divisions of Muzzafarabad district in Kashmir province, four eastern districts comprising the Duggar region of Jammu province together with the town of Poonch and some neighboring territory along the Cease Fire Line which belonged to the Punjabi speaking Western Zone, most of which had been occupied by Pakistan, and the whole of Laddakh and Kargil area lying between Laddakh and Baltistan proper across the Zojila Pass.
The total area of this territory was about 50,000 sq. miles including about 33000 sq. miles of Laddakh, about 12000 sq. miles of Jammu, about 3000 sq. miles of Kashmir Valley and about 2000 sq. miles of Uri and Tithwal area.
From the population point of view the Kashmir Valley with its 30 lakh population of which about 27 lakhs are Muslims is the most populous. Next comes Jammu with a population of about 30 lakhs of which about 20 lakhs are Hindus. The Muslim population of Jammu region is mainly concentrated on the West along the Cease Fire Line. Laddakh with a population of about two lakhs of which Buddhists form a large majority is the most sparsely populated.
Jammu and Laddakh being directly contiguous to each other as also to East Punjab and Himachal Pradesh form a compact bloc of about 45,000 sq. miles with a predominantly Hindu or Buddhist population. Kashmir valley and the adjoining areas of Uri and Tithwal form the only compact Muslim majority area on the Indian side of the Cease Fire Line.
Strategically, though not comparable to Gilgit because of its being the meeting ground of international frontiers of Afghanistan, USSR, Communist China and India, the territory held by India is yet of immense importance to her. Being the only link between India and the rest of the State including Kashmir Valley, the Jammu region has the greatest strategic importance for India. Its warlike Dogra population and hilly terrain make it an ideal frontier area separating Indian Punjab from North Western parts of Pakistan and Pakistan held territories of the State.
The gains made by Pakistan in the first Indo-Pak war were considerable and significant- from every point of view. Militarily, she could claim to have scored a tactical victory over a much bigger and stronger India. At a much less cost in men and material she was able to add to her dominions a territory roughly equal in size to East Punjab. It was quite a rich dividend for her unprovoked aggression. It confirmed the impression created in the minds of her leaders by the past policy of appeasement and surrender on the part of Indian leadership, that India could be bullied and bluffed into acquiescence and acceptance of any demand however unreasonable it might be if it was backed by adequate force. This created a new confidence and psychology of aggression in Pakistan which has marked her dealings with India on all questions ever since.
Politically, Pakistan had made a mockery of the lawful accession of the Jammu & Kashmir State to India by Maharaja Hari Singh and asserted her claim to have a say in the future of that state. While she had obtained control over nearly half of the State by force, she had got the way cleared for getting the rest of it, or, at least the Kashmir valley, through other means by getting India committed to plebiscite under the supervision of the U.N.O. Knowing the Muslim mind, as she did, she was reasonably confident of the outcome of a plebiscite whenever it was held.
Diplomatically, she had scored a resounding victory over India. Taking advantage of Pt. Nehru’s bungling and indiscreet statements she had succeeded in putting India, the aggressor and the complainant, on the defensive at the U.N.O. and at the bar of world opinion and had won valuable friends and allies. Having foolishly minimized and underplayed the fact of accession by the Maharaja, which was the only real and legal claim of India to be in Jammu and Kashmir, for reasons which would have made the architect of India’s Kashmir policy liable to impeachment in any other country. India was reduced to the pitiable position in which she depended more on the good graces of Sheikh Abdullah and votes of the Communist Bloc rather than on the unassailable right derived from accession and the heroic defence of Kashmir by her armed forces.
This, had the effect of swelling Sheikh Abdullah’s head on the one hand and throwing India more and more into the lap of the Communist Bloc to the chagrin of the Western countries, on the other. The dangerous shift that this situation gave to India’s foreign policy directly led to her virtual isolation and the Chinese aggression in 1962 which humiliated India in the eyes of the whole world.
Pakistan’s gains in terms of territory, human and economic resources and, above, all achievements of important strategic objectives were immense.
The area of the State territories now held by Pakistan comes to about 34,000 square miles out of the total area of 84,471 square miles for the whole State. It includes about 17,000 sq. miles of Gilgit, about 12,000 sq. miles of Baltistan and about five thousand square miles of the Mirpur-Poonch-Muzaffarabad Zone. The total population of this Pakistan occupied part of the State was about 11 and a half lakhs out of a total of 40 lakhs for the whole State according to the 1941 census. It included the population of Gilgit which stood at 1,16,000 in that year.
Though these population figures are not very imposing yet they were important to Pakistan. The Poonchis, Mirpuris and Gilgit’s provide fine fighting material. They make good soldiers and seamen. In fact, military service is the main occupation of these people. There were at that time a lakh of demobilized or ex-soldiers in Mirpur and Poonch area. Thousands of them were employed in the Indian navy and mercantile marine as naval ratings or stokers. Being comparatively backward educationally and politically, they were considered to be more amenable to army discipline. This warlike manpower has since been an asset to Pakistan.
Apart from this manpower, Pakistan was able to achieve a major part of its objectives in the State by the occupation of these territories. Pakistan’s main contention about the State was that being a Muslim majority unit, it should accede to Pakistan. But the more realistic Pakistani leaders realized the difficulty in obtaining for Pakistan the Hindu and Buddhist majority parts of the State which are directly contiguous to the Indian Union. They, therefore, favored a division of the State on the same basis on which Punjab had been partitioned. Such offers in fact were made by the Muslim Conference leaders to the Dogra leaders of Jammu long before the troubles started there. But the division of the State on the basis of religion was disapproved by the Dogra people of Jammu for that would have meant loss of the Kashmir valley to them. The Kashmiri leaders like Sheikh Abdullah were also opposed to partition of the State on the basis of religion because that would have led to ascendancy of the Muslim Conference and the Punjabi Muslims in Kashmir valley as well.
Pakistan had now virtually brought about a division of the State. Three Muslim majority zones of the State were held by her. The only Muslim majority part of the State that still remained out of her control was the Kashmir valley.
From the strategic point of view she had obtained all that she could reasonably hope to get. The first objective of Pakistan in this regard was to cut off the State which she feared might accede to India any day from the N.W.F.P., the tribal area and Afghanistan so that no link up of Pathan home-land with India might be pcssible. The anxiety of Pakistan to prevent this link up was great because of the growing demand for Pakhtoonistan and the keen interest that was being evinced by Afghanistan in it. Though the Indian leadership had let down the Khan brothers; Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan better known as Frontier Gandhi, who was then in Pakistan’s jails and his brother, late Dr. Khan Sahib, who headed the Congress Ministry of N.W.F.P. at the time of Partition-the sympathies of the Indian Public were with the Pathans who had worked shoulder to shoulder with the Indians in their fight against the foreign rule. A direct link between India and Pakhtoonistan and Afghanistan, therefore, would have become a headache for Pakistan. That possibility was removed by the ‘de facto’ control of Gilgit and the Krishan Ganga basin by her.
Pakistan’s control over Gilgit besides preventing a direct contact between India on the one side and Afghanistan and USSR on the other, provided Pakistan with a bargaining counter to secure the sympathy and support of the USA and Britain for herself. Because of its strategic location, Gilgit was of vital importance to the USA in her world wide strategy of containing international communism. That explained the deep interest of USA and Britian in favor of Pakistan retaining control of Gilgit and securing control over Kashmir valley, which also could serve as a major supply base for the advance bases in Gilgit. For the same reasons, the USSR was determined to prevent Kashmir valley passing into Pakistan’s hands. Her support to India over Kashmir in the Security Council had been actuated more by her self interest than by sympathy for the Indian point of view.
Control over Gilgit and Baltistan also brought Pakistan in direct touch with SirLkiang province of the expanding Communist Chinese empire. Communist China became interested in securing control over Laddakh after her forcible occupation of Tibet. This has since created a com munity of interests between Pakistan and China in the dismemberment of Jammu and Kashmir State in such a way as may give Laddakh to China and Kashmir Valley to Pakistan. That explains the Communist Chinese attitude to the Kashmir questions ever since its inception and hobnobbing between her and Pakistan. Thus strategically the territories acquired by Pakistan have proved to be of immense importance to her.
From the economic point of view too these territories have proved to be of great importance to Pakistan. The Mangala headwork of the Upper Jehlum canal, which irrigates a large part of the West Punjab, lies near Mirpur. It flows for about 20 miles within the State territory before entering West Punjab. The economic life of a good portion of West Punjab could be strangulated by the destruction of these headworks. Even a breach in the right bank of the canal which flows parallel to the river could render the canal useless to Pakistan. Now, the headworks and the area through which the canal flows came under the direct control of Pakistan. Therefore, the real or imaginary fear of Pakistan about economic strangulation by India was removed.
The economic importance of Mangala, a name derived from goddess Mangala whose temple stands on the top of a cliff surmounted by a fort, has since been further enhanced by a high altitude dam on the Jehlam built with US help. It has become the greatest single power-cum- irrigation project in Pakistan.
Besides the Mangala Project on the Jehlum, the waters of the Krishan Ganga and the Poonch rivers, the major tributaries of the Jehlum flowing through Jammu and Kashmir State, can also be harnessed for producing hydro-electric power at a number of sites.
Furthermore, these territories brought Pakistan in possession of rich sources of timber as well as means of bringing it to the plains. All the rich fresh wealth of Kashmir and Karen is carried to the plains by the Jehlum. This was an important gain in view of the fact that Pakistan has few forests of good timber. The control of these forest areas has assured Pakistan of a regular supply of raw material for her Rosin Factory at Jallo near Lahore, and of other kinds of forest produce. Pakistan, in fact, obtained almost a monopoly of “Kuth”, a fragrant medicinal herb, which grows in the forests of Karen and Chilas.
As far as minerals are concerned, little is known so far about this area. But a geological survey is bound to reveal the rich mineral potentialities of these thirty four thousand square miles of mountainous territory. The surveys so far made have revealed the existence of mineral oils in the Poonch area. Lime stone suitable for cement and different types of valuable clays are also known to exist in abundance in these parts.
These gains of Pakistan have proved to be sure and permanent. The people of the occupied areas, who have close linguistic social and cultural ties with the people of the adjoining districts of West Pakistan, have been fully indoctrinated with Pakistan’s ideology. They are, therefore, sure to stand by Pakistan in peace or war. The question of plebiscite which has since lost all relevance to the situation has, therefore, never been a headache for Pakistan.
Pakistan’s military build up in these areas with the help of warlike and well-trained local population coupled with favorable geographical factors has made the possibility of the reconquest of these areas by India very remote. No local action confined to Jammu and Kashmir State can possibly succeed in dislodging Pakistan from Gilgit which she had since linked with Peshawar by a motorable road. Control of Burzila Pass by Pakistan has made the task of the Indian army in this respect doubly difficult.
Pakistan was not at all bothered by U.N. reactions. She had, in fact, from the beginning used that forum to malign India with total impunity. The fact that she had violated the U.N. Charter by crossing into the territories of Jammu and Kashmir State did not in any way compromise her position at the U.N. She was not bothered about her weak legal position or world opinion, so long as she was in firm possession of the territories concerned. As later events have proved, world opinion or legal quibblings matter only for the weak. The strong who can present the world with a ‘fait accompli’ can get away with it unless the victim of aggression can mobilise a bigger strength to undo the wrong.
Therefore, she went ahead with consolidating these gains untrammeled by any extraneous considerations or inhibitions. She established her direct control over the northern strategic areas of Gilgit and Baltistan which has since continued to be centrally administered units of Pakistan. In the Western districts of Mirpur-Poonch and Muzaffarabad she had already set up a puppet regime for the purpose of tactical maneuverability at the U.N. She gave this area the name of “Azad” (Independent) Kashmir even though it had nothing to do with the Kashmir region of the state which is cut off from the rest of the State by high Himalayan ranges. She has been systematically Islamising these areas and erasing their Hindu part. For example the name Krishan Ganga river has been changed to “Neel Darya.” She has raised many fully trained and equipped new battalions from among the local people which constitute the real striking force of Pakistan in the State.
Having thus acquired and consolidated her position in three out of the four Muslim majority regions of the State, Pakistan began to prepare for the control of the rest of the State. The cessation of hostilities and restoration of normal conditions in the valley enabled her to start a propaganda offensive inside the valley through her numerous agents in the State administration and the Mullah class to rouse communal feelings in the people there.
The state of affairs in the India-held part of the State, in spite of the sound legal and constitutional position of the Government of India, has been just the opposite. The developments there and the policy of the Government of India regarding them have further compromised and weakened the position of India both internally and externally.
But it would be wrong to put the whole blame for this near unanimous disregard of Indian complaint on the power politics of the two blocs which was reflected in their attitude and voting at the U.N. on invariably all issues. India’s handling and presentation of the Kashmir issue was so faulty, unrealistic and incoherent from the very beginning that it could not evoke any better response even from well meaning and really impartial delegates. This bungling on the part of India in handling a straightforward issue because of the mental cobwebs of Pt. Nehru must be clearly understood for appreciation of the Kashmir problem as it has since developed inside and outside the U.N.O.
From the purely Indian point of view it was, as said above, wrong to refer the Kashmir issue to the U.N.O. It was a domestic issue. Pakistan had committed unprovoked aggression. India was in a position to handle the situation militarily. It should have been left to Pakistan to invoke the interference of the U.N.O. to escape the thrashing it deserved. But instead of putting Pakistan in a tight position, India decided to put her own head in the noose. It was utter bankruptcy of leadership as well as statesmanship.
Having taken the decision to go to the U.N.O., the issue should have been put before that body in its true perspective emphasising the fact of Pakistan’s aggression in Jammu and Kashmir State which had become an integral part of India after accession in terms of the Mountbatten Plan. India should have specifically charged Pakistan of unprovoked aggression and not of mere abetment of aggression by giving passage to tribal raiders through her territory. There was an overwhelming evidence that the aggression had been committed by Pakistan itself. By avoiding the specific charge of aggression in her complaint, the Government of India compromised its own position before the Security Council from the very beginning. Such a complaint could not create that sense of urgency about the problem and the real issue of aggression in the minds of Security Council members who were not supposed to know the real situation and had, therefore, to be guided by the memorandum submitted by the respeetive parties and their elucidation through the speeches in the Council.Continue reading
Instrument of accession executed by Maharaja Hari Singh was similar to such instruments executed by the rulers of other acceding states. There was no scope for ifs and buts in it. According to it the accession was full, final and irrevocable and not in any way conditional or provisional. It should have, therefore, settled the questions of future of Jammu and Kashmir state once for all. The problem created by Pak invasion could be effectively tackled by the Indian armed forces.
Nehru, Mountbatten and Jinnah
But one blunder of Pt. Nehru virtually undid what accession had achieved. Lord Mountbatten as constitutional head of the state wrote a letter to Hari Singh on October 27 in which he mooted the question of ascertaining the wishes of the people of the state about accession to India after the Pak invaders were thrown out. This letter was followed by a statement by Pt. Nehru to the same effect. It was a grave blunder ramification of which have continued to cloud and complicate an issue which was legally and constitutionally settled by the acceptance of the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir state to India on October 26, 1947. This reminds one of the well known couplet:
Woh Waqt bhi dekha hai
Tareekh ke gaharaiyon men,
Lamhon ne khata ki
Sadion ne saza pai.
“Mistake committed at the spur of a moment proved to be a curse and punishment for centuries.”
The offer of plebiscite was uncalled for, irrelevant to the situation and illegal. There was no provision in the instrument of Accession about it. It was outside the ambit of the Act of Indian Independence of the British Parliament. It was never accepted by the Maharaja who had absolute choice in the matter. Nor was it demanded by Sh. Abdullah or any other leader of the State.
The argument that Indian leaders were guided by the situation in Junagarh and Hyderabad in making their offer is untenable because there was no analogy between those states and the situation obtaining in Kashmir. Both Junagarh and Hyderabad were not only overwhelmingly Hindu in population but also completely surrounded on all sides by Indian territory. Therefore under the Mountbatten plan they had no other choice but to accede to India. The only plausible explanation therefore is that Lord Mountbatten made the suggestion about plebiscite merely to placate Pakistan and Pt. Nehru accepted it for the same reason. It was in keeping with his policy of appeasement of Muslim League and Pakistan. Later, however, other explanation: such as refutation of the two-nation theory by showing that a Muslim majority area was prepared to remain in India of its own free will and thereby strengthening of secularism in India have also been offered. But they are after thoughts.
This blunder provided Mr. Jinnah with an opportunity to politicize and internationalize the military issue and convert his impending defeat on the battle field into an eventual political and diplomatic victory. He sent a message to Lord Mountbatten through Field Marshal Auchinleck on the 29th October, 1947 to meet him in conference at Lahore. It was a clever and astute move to make the issue political while the invasion was still on and the possible military decision could not be in his favor.
Sardar Patel, a realist and a practical man as he was, saw through Mr. Jinnah’s game. He opposed any Indian leader going to Lahore and warned against appeasing Mr. Jinnah who was clearly the aggressor in Kashmir. He suggested that if Mr. Jinnah wanted to discuss anything, he could come down to Delhi. But his wise counsel was not heeded and Lord Mountbatten and Pt. Nehru got ready to fly to Lahore on the 1st of November. Pt. Nehru, however, had to drop out at the last moment due to indisposition.
At the Conference Table Mr. Jinnah proposed that both sides should withdraw from Kashmir. When Lord Mountbatten asked him to explain how the tribesman could be induced to remove themselves Mr. Jinnah replied: “If you do this, I will call the whole thing off.” This made it absolutely clear that the so-called tribal invasion was fully organized and controlled by the Pakistan Government.
Lord Mountbatten formally made the offer of plebiscite to Mr. Jinnah at this Conference. Mr. Jinnah objected that with Indian troops in their midst and with Sh. Abdullah in power, the people of Kashmir would be far too frightened to vote for Pakistan. Therefore Lord Mountbatten suggested a plebiscite under the auspices of the U.N.O. This was a clear victory for Mr. Jinnah. He had virtually got the effect of legal accession of the State to India nullified and got Lord Mountbatten committed to a course of action which could only internationalize an issue in which strictly speaking Pakistan had no locus standi after the Maharaja had signed the Instrument of Accession and the Government of India had accepted it.
Pt. Nehru ratified the offer verbally made by Lord Mountbatten at Lahore in his broadcast speech of November 2, 1947 in which he declared his readiness, after peace and rule of law had been established, to have a referendum held under some international auspices such as that of the United Nations.
The commitment on the part of the Government of India had, besides throwing the accession of Kashmir to India open to question, two other important implications. On the one hand it provided Pakistan with a second string to its bow. Conscious of the strength of the appeal of religion to Muslims, it could now hope to secure by the peaceful method of plebiscite what it failed to achieve by force. On the other hand, it made the Government of India dependent for the ratification of the accession through plebiscite on the goodwill of Sheikh Abdullah whose position was changed from that of a suppliant to that of an arbiter who must be kept in good humor at all costs. These in their turn set in motion a chain of events and created a psychological atmosphere in Kashmir which suited Pakistan.
Even this major concession which gave Pakistan a whip hand in Kashmir, did not soften the attitude of Mr. Jinnah and his Government who kept up their military pressure through tribal hordes supported by regular Pakistani troops at a high pitch. Even though the invaders had been thrown out of the valley, they maintained, as described earlier, their advance in Jammu and the northern areas of the State. The right and honorable course for India in the circumstances was to discontinue all negotiations with Pakistan and concentrate on securing a military decision. India, at that time, was definitely in a position to secure a favorable military decision had it decided to attack the bases of the invaders in Pakistan. But Pt. Nehru in his anxiety to keep the conflict confined to Jammu & Kashmir State would not permit that. In this he had the full support of the Governor General, Lord Mountbatten. Therefore, the negotiations were continued even when Pakistani invaders were wantonly attacking and occupying more and more territory.
Direct talks between Pt. Nehru and Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, were held for the first time since Pakistani invasion began, on December 8, 1947 when the former visited Lahore along with Lord Mountbatten to attend a meeting of the Joint Defense Council. But they proved abortive. Therefore Lord Mountbatten who was growing apprehensive of the fighting in Kashmir degenerating into full scale war between the two Dominions, a contingency which he wanted to avoid at all costs, pressed Pt. Nehru to refer the matter to the U.N.O. and invoke its good offices for a peaceful settlement of the problem.
Appeal to U.N.O:-
Most of Pt. Nehru’s Cabinet colleagues were opposed to this suggestion for obvious reasons. It amounted to inviting outside interference into a purely internal and domestic problem and a tacit admission on the part of India of its inability and incapacity to meet the situation created by the invaders. But ultimately he had his way.
As a necessary preliminary, he personally handed over a letter of complaint to Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan on December 22, 1947 when the latter visited Delhi in connection with another meeting of the Joint Defense Gouncil. It demanded that Pakistan should deny to the invaders (i) all access to and use of Pakistan territory for operations against Kashmir (ii) all military and other supplies and (iii) all other kinds of aid that might tend to prolong the struggle.
Liaqat Ali Khan promised to send an early reply. But instead of doing that a fresh invasion was launched in Jammu which forced an Indian brigade to fall back to Nowshera from Jhangar, an important road junction in the western part of Jammu region. The pressure on areas still nearer to Jammu city was also stepped up. This made attack on the enemy bases in Pakistan an imperative necessity to save Jammu and the supply line to Srinagar. But Pt. Nehru was unwilling to do that. So, without waiting for a reply from Pakistan which was being deliberately delayed, the Government of India formally appealed to the U.N.O. under C’hapter 35 of the U.N. Charter on December 31, 1947 and nominated Shri Gopalaswamy Iyengar to lead the Indian Delegation which was to include Sh. Abdullah also.
That very day, but af ter the application to the U.N . Security Council had been despatched, Liaqat Ali Khan’s reply was received by the Government of India. It was lengthy catalog of counter charges. It contained fantastic allegations that the Government of India were out to destroy Pakistan, it also raised the question of Jungarh. It gave clear indication of the line Pakistan was going to take at the U.N.O. From the timing of the reply, it was evident that Pakistan Government had its informers in the Indian Foreign Office who kept it posted with the exact details of the Indian complaint and the time of its despatch. This presence of Pakistani agents and informers in the Indian Foreign Office is an advantage that continues to give Pakistan an edge over India in diplomacy.
This appeal to the U.N.O. by India was the second major blunder on her part in handling of the Kashmir question and was a clear diplomatic victory for Pakistan which succeeded in politicizing an issue in which she had no locus standi. It came as a surprise not only to the Indian public but also to all those countries which had been looking upon the Kashmir question as an internal affair of India. No self-respecting country would have voluntarily invited the interference of foreign powers through the U.N.O. in an essentially domestic affair like this. In doing so, the Government of India simply played into the hands of Pakistan whose leaders found in it a God-sent opportunity to malign India before the bar of world opinion by levelling all kind of fantastic and baseless charges against her.
The Security Council immediately put the issue on its agenda and discussion on it began on January 15, 1948. But to the great disappointment of the Government of India, instead of giving precedence to the Indian complaint about Pakistan’s hand in the invasion and putting pressure on Pakistan to stop aiding the invaders, the security council from the very beginning put India and Pakistan the victim of aggression and the aggressor, on the same footing and began to consider Pakistan’s counter-charges, which were quite unrelated to the basic issue, along with the question of Pak aggresion on Jammu & Kashmir. This was clear from the resolution moved by the Council President Dr. Von Langhenhare of Belgium on January 20, 1948. The resolution provided that (i) a Commission of the Security Council be established composed of the representatives of three members of the United Nations, one to be elected by India, one by Pakistan and the third to be designated by the two so elected: (ii) the Commission shall proceed to Jammu & Kashmir as soon as possible to investigate the facts and secondly to exercise any mediatory influence likely to smoothen the difficulties and (iii) the Commission shall perform functions in regard to the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and secondly in regard to other situations set out by Pakistan foreign Minister in the Security Council.
In spite of the objections of the Indian delegation that by bringing cther extraneous issues raised by Pakistan within the purview of the Commission, the Security Council was relegating the real issue to the background, the resolution was passed with nine in favor and two, USSR and Ukraine, abstaining.
As the debate proceeded, the President suggested that the Security Council might concentrate its attention on the question of holding a plebiscite. This was fully in accordance with Pakistan’s line and was therefore duly supported by her Foreign Minister and chief delegate, Mr. Zaffarullah Khan. Thereafter resolutions and proposals began to be framed with that end in view.
This provoked the Chief Indian delegate, Mr. N. Gopala Swamy Ayyengar, to declare that the Security Council was “putting the cart before the horse”. The real issue, he said, was to get the fighting in Jammu & Kashmir stopped by pressing Pakistan to withdraw her support from the invaders. The question of a plebiscite, he added could be taken up only when peace and normal conditions had been restored. He further requested for adjournment of the debates so that he might go back to India for further consultations. Even this request for adjournment was opposed by most of the members of the Security Council.
This hostile attitude of the Security Council came as a rude shock to the Government of India and disillusioned even Pt. Nehru who had insisted on reference being made to the U.N.O. against the advice of his colleagues. Speaking at Jammu on February 15, 1948 he said, “Instead of discussing and deciding our references in a straight forward manner, the nations of the world sitting in that body got lost in power politics.’
The pattern of voting in the Security Council began to influence India’s foreign policy in favor of the bloc headed by the U.S.S.R. which further prejudiced the Western countries against India in regard to the Kashmir question.
On receiving the report from Mr. Menon the Government Of India felt inclined to go to the rescue of the state. But it was felt that formal accession of the State must take place before any help could be sent. So Mr. Menon flew back to Jammu with the Instrument of Accession. He woke up the Maharaja who was fast asleep after a night-long drive from Srinagar. Mr. Menon has recorded in his famous book ‘Integration of States’ that before going to sleep the Maharaja has left instructions with his A.D.C. that “If I (Menon) came back from Delhi, he was not to be disturbed as it would mean that the Government of India had decided to come to his rescue and he should therefore be allowed to sleep in peace, but that if I failed to return, that meant everything was lost, in that case in A.D.C. was to shoot him in his sleep”.
The Maharaja at once signed the Instrument of Accession and also handed over a letter for Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General of India informing him that it was his intention to set up an interim government at once and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in the emergency with Mr. Mehar Chand Mahajan, his Prime Minister. It was out of sheer patriotism and solicitude for the safety of his people that the Maharaja agreed to Submit to this pre-condition of the Indian Prime Minister.
Pakistan thus played a major role in resolving the dilemma of Hari Singh and bringing about accession of Jammu and Kashmir state to India.
Sardar Patel who in his anxiety for the State had been waiting at the aerodrome for Mr. Menon to return, was not prepared to go all out to save the State. But Pt. Nehru and Lord Mountbatten were hesitant. It was not before Mr. Mahajan, who knew that every minute counted if about a lakh of Hindus in Srinagar were to be saved from total annihilation, threatened to proceed to Karachi and surrender Kashmir to Mr. Jinnah to secure safety of its people that Pt. Nehru’s reluctance could be overcome.Continue reading