A Concise History of Kashmir. Part II


1965 War on Kashmir – role of Soviet Union and United States (NATO)

In April of 1965 Pakistan initiated “Operation Gibraltar” by pushing its troops into Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. Pakistani Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, sent a top-secret order to his army chief General Mohammed Musa: “As a general rule, Hindu morale would not stand for more than a couple of hard blows delivered at the right time and the right place. Such opportunities should therefore be sought and exploited.” But this calculation was proven false at the warfront. The US had already supplied the F-104 and the F-86 Sabres in large numbers to Pakistan. Indian Defense Minister Yashwantrao Chavan visited Pentagon HQ with an in intent to modernize the Indian Fleet. But India’s request was snubbed crudely, McNamara told Chavan: “Mr Minister, your air force is like a museum. I wonder whether you are aware of the variety of aircraft in your air force. You are still operating with Hunters, Spitfires, Vampires, Liberators, Harvards – exotic names of World War II vintage. All these aircraft are only worthy of finding a place in a museum.” The US rejected any help, but what India did with its antique planes and vintage tanks remains legend, especially against Pakistan’s F-86s which were all downed. At the end of the 22-day war, India held 1920 SqKm of Pakistani territory while Pakistan only held 550 SqKm of Indian lands. The Haji Pir pass was also captured by Indian soldiers. And yet India surrendered everything at the “Tashkent Declaration.” The Soviets backed India at the United Nations, maintained its stand that Kashmir was part of India, and accepted the fact that the disturbance was created by Pakistani intruders. Moscow decided it would not remain a passive spectator if India had to battle on two fronts (Pakistan plus China). India received several assurances from Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin hinting all possible support in the event of a Chinese attack. China got the message and backed off, in spite of several request from Pakistan. The US and UK showed its true colors towards its satellite “Pakistan”. Soviets being honorable, decided to discuss the Issue in Tashkent and finally signed The “Tashkent Declaration” in January of 1966 in Uzbekistan.

1971 War on Kashmir – the role of Soviet Union, China, US and UK

Pakistan unprecedentedly raided six Indian airfields in Kashmir and Punjab, resulting in an Indian declaration of war, not knowing proxy American involvement. US ambassador to the UN, George H.W Bush, introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council, calling for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of forces by India and Pakistan, assuming that the Soviet Union might enter the war which could cause damage to Pakistan. The Soviet Union instantly vetoed the resolution, letting India fight for the cause of Bengalis in East Pakistan who were facing Pakistani atrocities and “Searchlight“ violations, one of the largest genocides in the world history. President Yahya Khan at a conference in February 1971 said "Kill three million of them (Hindu Bangladeshis) and the rest will eat out of our hands." This caused 10 million refugees to flee to India, And 3,000,000 civilian murdered. A fatwa was issued in Pakistan that the Bengali 'freedom fighters' were Hindus and that their women could be taken as the 'booty of war'. Imams and Muslim fundamentalists publicly declared that the Bengali women were 'gonimoter maal' (war booty) hence can be openly raped by Pakistanis. The rapes caused thousands of pregnancies, births of war babies, abortions, incidents of infanticide and suicides.

The Americans intending to defend Pakistan arrived in the Bay of Bengal with its mighty fleet consisting of one of the largest nuclear powered Aircraft career with more 70 fighters, Guided missile cruiser “King” and bombers, to escalate into Indian Territory from the east. On the western front the UK showed up with HMS Albion and HMS Eagle along with several destroyers. This face off was one of the most demeaning incidents in the world history which leavened NATO’s dishonor and questioned its credentials on its commitment to the International community. The world's two leading democracies threatening the sovereignty of the largest democracy in the world in defending the most unprincipled country which has committed the most abominable atrocities and genocide since the Nazi’s. Then Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi, a strong headed lady, sent a message to the Soviets to activate the provisions in the Indo-Soviet security Treaty, in which the Soviets were bound to defend India in the event of external aggression. On December 6th, the Soviet Navy dispatched its naval fleet from Vladivostok which consists of nuclear armed Submarines, a batch of destroyers and cruisers into the Indian Ocean, trailing the American fleet. In response to Soviet presence, the British Navy retreated instantly to the south of Madagascar while American communication was intercepted, The message sent to the 7th US Fleet Commander was “‘Sir, we are too late. There are Russian nuclear submarines here, and a big collection of battleships”, eventually the US fleet returned in disgrace. Meanwhile the Chinese were warned not to enter into the dispute militarily, and told that they would face with belligerent response from the north in the event that they open fire on the Indians.

Thus India was able to continue the war to liberate East Pakistan which lead to the creation of Bangladesh, and also saved Kashmir and most importantly were able to save the dignity and honor of millions of women who otherwise would have been raped and murdered by the Pakistanis. US relations with Pakistan were due to the military pact CENTO and SEATO but more importantly it was the fear of Soviet expansion in the region, though India was “Non Aligned”(NAM), it was a pro Soviet nation, and constitutionally a socialist entity.

An important telegram message: sent to US Secretary Will Roger, on March 28th, 1971 by the staff of US consulate in Dhaka.

The staff of the US consulate in Dhaka complained, “Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pakistan dominated government … We, as professional public servants express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected in order to salvage our nation’s position as a moral leader of the free world.”

The above telegram now available in the public domain, proves the irresponsible and unprincipled actions of the US state in the international community and other Governments. This questions the morality and credentials of US Military and allied NATO forces, A total disrepute of western virtues and value-systems.

An important phone conversation between US President Nixon with State Secratary Henry Kissinger – (published in "Russia-India report")

Washington Dec3, 1971, 10:45am.

Nixon: So West Pakistan is giving trouble there.

Kissinger: If they lose half of their country without fighting they will be destroyed. They may also be destroyed this way but they will go down fighting.

Nixon: The Pakistan thing makes your heart sick. For them to be done so by the Indians and after we have warned the bitch (reference to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi). Tell them that when India talks about West Pakistan attacking them it's like Russia claiming to be attacked by Finland.

A week later the war is not going very well for Pakistan, as Indian armor scythes through East Pakistan and the Pakistan Air Force are blown out of the subcontinent’s sky. Meanwhile, the Pakistani military in the west is demoralized and on the verge of collapse as the Indian Army and Air Force attack round the clock.

Washington, Dec10, 1971, 10:51am.

Nixon: Our desire is to save West Pakistan. That's all.

Kissinger: That's right. That is exactly right.

Nixon: All right. Keep those carriers moving now.

Kissinger: The carriers—everything is moving. Four Jordanian planes have already moved to Pakistan, 22 more are coming. We're talking to the Saudis, the Turks we've now found are willing to give five. So we're going to keep that moving until there's a settlement.

Nixon: Could you tell the Chinese it would be very helpful if they could move some forces or threaten to move some forces?

Kissinger: Absolutely.

Nixon: They've got to threaten or they've got to move, one of the two. You know what I mean?

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: How about getting the French to sell some planes to the Paks?

Kissinger: Yeah. They're already doing it.

Nixon: This should have been done long ago. The Chinese have not warned the Indians.

Kissinger: Oh, yeah.

Nixon: All they've got to do is move something. Move a division. You know, move some trucks. Fly some planes. You know, some symbolic act. We're not doing a goddamn thing, Henry, you know that.

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: But these Indians are cowards. Right?

Kissinger: Right. But with Russian backing. You see, the Russians have sent notes to Iran, Turkey, to a lot of countries threatening them. The Russians have played a miserable game.

If the two American leaders were calling Indians cowards, a few months earlier the Indians were a different breed altogether. This phone call is from May 1971:

Nixon: The Indians need—what they need really is a—

Kissinger: They’re such bastards.

Nixon: A mass famine. But they aren't going to get that…But if they're not going to have a famine the last thing they need is another war. Let the goddamn Indians fight a war.

Kissinger: They are the most aggressive goddamn people around there.

Another telephone conversation between the scheming duo reveals a lot about the mindset of those at the highest echelons of American decision making:

Kissinger: And the point you made yesterday, we have to continue to squeeze the Indians even when this thing is settled.

Nixon: We've got to for rehabilitation. I mean, Jesus Christ, they've bombed—I want all the war damage; I want to help Pakistan on the war damage in Karachi and other areas, see?

Kissinger: Yeah

Nixon: I don't want the Indians to be happy. I want a public relations programme developed to piss on the Indians.

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: I want to piss on them for their responsibility. Get a white paper out. Put down, White paper. White paper. Understand that?

Kissinger: Oh, yeah.

Nixon: I don't mean for just your reading. But a white paper on this.

Kissinger: No, no. I know.

Nixon: I want the Indians blamed for this, you know what I mean? We can't let these goddamn, sanctimonious Indians get away with this. They've pissed on us on Vietnam for 5 years, Henry.

Kissinger: Yeah. 

Nixon: Aren't the Indians killing a lot of these people?

Kissinger: Well, we don't know the facts yet. But I'm sure they're not as stupid as the West Pakistanis—they don't let the press in. The idiot Paks have the press all over their place.

The Shimla Accord of 1972

As a result of the war, India and Pakistan agreed to come up with another landmark agreement called “The Shimla Agreement”. This was signed on July 2nd 1972 in the capital city of Himalayan state, “Himachal Pradesh “. There was an immediate ratification of agreement in the parliaments of both nations. Thus it therefore bestowed the recognition of the independent state of “Bangladesh “. And “Put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations". It conceived the steps to be taken for further normalization of mutual relations and it also laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. There was an ascension of hope as peace precipitated, though there was frequently a war of words . In 1979 Bhutto was executed in Pakistan and the Kashmir issue flared up again, thus the Shimla agreement started to crumble gradually, which lead to Kargil War and other insurgencies.

Link to the accord: - https://mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?19005/Simla+Agreement+July+2+1972

The Soviet’s in Afghanistan & the Mujahideen agenda on Kashmir aided by US and Pakistan (1979)

In 1979, Soviet forces arrived in Afghanistan in support of the pro-Soviet Afghan government, The DRA (Democratic Republic of Afghanistan). The US and Pakistan were greatly involved in the recruiting, training and arming of the Mujahideen outfit against the Soviets and the DRA. The Mujahideen thus decided to bestow their wishful agenda on Kashmir by making trials to establish Islamic rule with the help of the new recruits.

1984: Capture of Siachen Glacier (Kashmir ) and Violation of Shimla agreement by Pakistan

Siachen Glacier, the highest battle field on the planet, located in East Karakoram/ Himalayas. The 1949 Karachi agreement and the 1972 Simla Agreement presumed that it is not feasible for human habitation. Located on one of the five largest Karakoram glaciers, at an altitude of 5,400 meters (~17,700 feet). It lies exactly on the LOC (Line of Control), a non-demarcation of the cease-fire line on the map beyond a map coordinate known as NJ9842 which is south of the great watershed separating Central Asia from Indian subcontinent, and Pakistan from china. The word `Siachen` ironically defines `the place of wild roses`, a reference to Himalayan wildflowers found below the glacier, more specifically refers to the thorny wild plants which grow on the rocky outcrops.

During the 1980’s, the Pakistani government started to Issue permits for several mountaineering expeditions to claim the Glacier which is a Violation of Shimla Accord .Being aware of this (since 1978) The Indian Army(Under command Colonel N. Kumar ) Initiated Army expedition to “Teram Kangri peaks” as a counter-exercise. On April 13th 1984, the Indian Army and the Air force (Kumaon Regiment) arrived in the Glacier, Pakistan responded with troop deployment which ended up in a race to reach the summit. Within a few days, the Indian Army was in control over most of the glacier and Pakistan were beaten badly. “Sia La” and “Bilfond La” were secured by Indian forces (Indian military pre-emption) while “Gyong La” pass remained under Pakistan. Since then, both Indian and Pakistan initiated several attempt to displace each other with little or no success.

1987-2015 – Kashmir Insurgency & Kargil War


Muhammad Ahsan Dar, a Kashmiri separatist, is the founder and terror head of Hizbul Mujahideen , a former teacher from Baramulla. He later moved to Pakistan by crossing the Line of control in 1988. In 1987, Farooq Abdullah won the election in Kashmir but the MUF (The Muslim United Front ) came up with accusations that the elections were rigged . The MUF candidate, Mohammad Yousuf Shah, was cheated in the rigged elections, in fact he was also imprisoned. Later he appeared by the name "Syed Salahuddin" and became the chief of the militant group Hizbul-Mujahedin.

JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front )

Founded by Amanullah Khan and  Maqbool Bhat in the UK (Birmingham in June 1976), Khan was born in Gilgit (POK). The UK chapter of the Plebiscite Front was converted into the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in May 1977, and formed an armed wing called the 'National Liberation Army' (support of the British Mirpuris). Their expansion was rapid, setting up branches in Pakistan, Denmark, Holland, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United States. Both Khan and Bhat were released from Giljit prisons in 1972 and 1974 respectively. Maqbool Bhat crossed over into the Indian Kashmir and was arrested for a bank robbery.

Unscrupulous activities of JKLF :

This group hijacked “Ganga” an Indian Airlines passenger flying from Srinagar to Jammu, in January 1971, they tried to hijack several members of NLF on charges of being Indian agents. The JKLF planned to disrupt the international cricket match being played in Srinagar in 1979. JKLF made plans to bomb the March of 1983 conference of Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in New Delhi, and planned to hijack an airliner from New Delhi, both of which were aborted later. In 1984 NLA kidnapped the Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in Birmingham(UK) and demanded the release of Maqbool Bhat as ransom. Later they shot the Diplomat. British court convicted two members of the JKLF for the killing of Indian diplomat hence Hashim Quresi and Amanullah Khan were expelled from the UK. Six days later, India executed Maqbool Bhat, turning him into a martyr and giving JKLF the visibility it lacked earlier.

1989 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and the condensation of terror towards Kashmir

The Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and other ethnic communities fought under Mujahideen(ethnically bedeviled) against the Soviets. As the Soviets withdrew their last soldier from Afghanistan, terror groups start to concentrate more on Kashmir ( their original agenda). The Mujahideen begin to disintegrate and its conflict become a global problem especially to Kashmir. As the Soviets left, so did many of the foreign mujahideen, and Islamist fighters. They had to go east, and it was in Kashmir. Jihad and chaos propelled violence in Kashmir, with decades of insurgency causing several hundreds of thousands dead on various instances of violence. Indigenous Kashmiri militant groups, Such as the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front(JKLF) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen was supported by the Pakistani ISI, by supplying arms, funds, safe havens for training and recruitment. They facilitated infiltration of terror groups into Kashmir by opining fire on Indian posts at the border, to covertly shift Indian attention to cross firing (ceasefire violation) while the terror outfits crossed across the line of control successfully. Pakistan also assumed that since the Soviets failed with the Afghanistan mission, The same terror tactic would apply against Indian Kashmir. These were the times where Pakistan-US relations were at the Peak and hence Pakistan benefited utmost from the US and its allies, for their unprincipled missions against India. Indian political establishments were marginally weak at this period, with spiking religious fundamentalism and the rise of liberalism which added further fuel to the Kashmir’s ever burning chaos. India’s most entrusted all weather friend and intimate alley, The Soviet Union was globally humiliated at the Afghan war which also brought them to its knees, economically and politically. Subsequently in the same year The USSR collapsed causing acute isolation to India, causing a serious dilemma to Indian political establishments and governing bodies, several questions arose in terms of India’s geopolitical future and internal security. India’s vulnerability increased in the region and thus India decided to continue to support new formed democratic Russia and vice versa, until recently (2015-16) the US interposing in India’s issues caused a temporary abrasion to Indo-Russian relationship, which should be mended at the earliest possible time.

1990-1999 Violence in Kashmir, Pundit displacement & The Kargil War

On January 20th, a large group of protestors turned violent and the Indian troops opened fire and an estimated 100 people were killed, with this the insurgency was joined by larger mass of the population. An estimated 10,000 plus Kashmiri youths crossed the line of control to Pakistan to acquire militant training, and for procurement of arms. Half a million security forces were deployed in the valley since the 1990’s with the increasing violence and human rights violations by all sides leading to tens and thousands of causalities. Indigenous and foreign militant groups aided and abetted violence on a large scale. The JKLF was "reborn" in the Indian Kashmir, those who crossed into Azad Kashmir for arms and training have returned. An outfit called “HAJY" was created and the call for an “Independent Kashmir” surprised them by the kind of support they received. Yasin Malik, along with Hamid Sheikh, Ashfaq Wani and Javed Ahmad Mir were the core organizers of the “HAJY” outfit . Within a short period of two years, JKLF became the favorite formulation against Indian administration. They waged a guerilla war with the Indians targeting government and security forces. Yasin Malik was imprisoned untill 1994 after he was captured by the forces in wounded condition. Hamid Sheikh was also captured and arrested, but released in 1992 by the border security force to counteract the pro-Pakistani insurgents. The majority of JKLF militants were either killed or captured in the struggle. Predictably pro-independence, the JKLF was not in Pakistan's interest. Most of the JKLF militants were either killed or captured by the Indian forces as they thrived in Indian soil by Pakistani sponsorship such as Hizul-Mujahideen, closely covered by the Pakistani Army and ISI .Finally Pakistan ceased its financial aid to JKLF as it was a pro-independence ideology. JKLF started to suffer dilution of nationalist ideology as they agreed to train Islamic outfits in their camps. The whole motive of the struggle started to change over time from simple independence to an Islamic state and vice versa. Independence and Islamisation became interchangeable slogans. For the Indian Administration and security forces, the struggle looked like an insane mob revolting for “no special cause" in particular, with no agenda or motives. The struggle against the Indian state eventually become a regrettable “bloomer” for the separatists, foreign outfits and other Islamic fundamentalists. One would suppose that this is what happens when one lacks an objective, based on credible principle.

Pundit displacement

The minority Hindus felt hostility in the Kashmir valley as the killing of Pundits left Hindus much more scared. The JKLF tried to explain that the killings of Pundits were not necessarily communal. New militant groups began to rise here and there randomly, posters and writing on the walls appeared, as more and more unexplained murders of innocent Hindus occurred, the insecurity among the Hindu Pundit community was aggravated, the atmosphere was filled with fear and tension. In March an estimated 162,500 Hindus, including the entire Pundit community, fled the valley in fear and dissent leaving everything behind. All those hard earned properties and homes built on dreams, were all forced to be abandoned, once for all. Everything that they earned and built over several generations were all lost on one fine day. Even today the Pundits are scattered in random corners of India, unable to relocate due to Article 370 which prevents them from migrating back to their own lands. The Islamic fundamentalists began to attack anything modern, which is contrary to what the JKLF claimed, however the JKLF had no dissent or objection towards liberal women, liquor shops, or beauty parlors, but it is notable that they never condemned these attacks initiated by the Pakistani Islamist’s. According to Hasim Qureshi such outrages were "official Pakistan policy" and the policy was endorsed by the Islamic Right as well as Amanullah Khan's JKLF. "The ISI ran this movement on communal lines right from the beginning," says Qureshi, "and for that, Amanullah and his underlings became its agents”.