OPPOSING CAPITALS

By Amir S. Ali

India and Pakistan fought two large scale wars in 1965 and in 1971, and two small scale wars in 1949 and 1999. The recent troubles started on Feb. 14, when a suicide bomber in the Indiancontrolled part of Kashmir rammed a car packed with explosives into an Indian military convoy, killing more than 40 troops. Indians responded and leveled the camps ran by a terrorist group alongside the border, India claimed. The trouble did not end here and a day later Indians wanted more damage but their two planes were shot and a pilot was captured alive. As a goodwill gesture the pilot was returned to India after two days by Pakistani authorities. Both sides are now holding their horses but the fireworks can begin anytime.

Kashmir region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent is the flashpoint. It is bounded by the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang to the northeast and the Tibet Autonomous Region to the east (both parts of China), by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south, by Pakistan to the west, and by Afghanistan to the northwest. The region, with a total area of some 85,800 square miles (222,200 square km), has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.

Kashmir, lying in the Himalayas, presented a different problem. Its maharaja was Hindu, but about three-fourths of its population was Muslim, and the region itself was contiguous to both new dominions, sitting like a crown atop South Asia. Maharaja Hari Singh tried at first to remain independent, but in October 1947 Pashtun (Pathan) tribesmen from the NorthWest Frontier of Pakistan invaded Kashmir in trucks, heading toward Srinagar. The invasion triggered India’s first undeclared war with Pakistan and led at once to the maharaja’s decision to opt for accession to India.

It will wipe out the European export market that was not predicted nor assumed. China has surplus foreign currency and is ready to invest and Canada offers the best soil to
them with freedom and dignity. A year later in 1991, the Gulf War erupted. After a decade war with Iran Saddam Hussain thought he should be the leader of the entire Gulf. He started harassing his neighbours but no one took him seriously. To show his teeth he entered in Kuwait and the rest is known to the world. Pakistan was next in trouble fighting with
Taliban the entire country was in un-rest. People in the troubled areas around the world saw no future in their regions and dispersed in Europe, Asia, Canada and United States. They are the one shelter means everything to them, money is secondary. Cities need housing market grow to keep the taxes low because builders pay high development costs. Builders are like family jewels. Knowing the fact builders have increased the prices to an un-affordable level, that is dangerous. Low wages, higher unemployment rates and higher mortgage rates create un-affordability that triggers sell-off means bubble burst.

Mountbatten and Nehru airlifted Indian troops into Srinagar, and the tribesmen were forced to fall back to a line that has, since early 1949, partitioned Kashmir into Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir (the western portion of Kashmir) and the Northern Areas (the northern portion of Kashmir, also administered by Pakistan) and India’s state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the Vale of Kashmir and Laddakh. Nehru initially agreed to Mountbatten’s proposal that a plebiscite be held in the entire state as soon as hostilities
ceased, and a UN-sponsored cease-fire was agreed to by both parties on January 1, 1949. No statewide plebiscite was held, however, for in 1954, after Pakistan began to receive arms from the United States, Nehru withdrew his support. When British came in India, Mughals were ruling the country that in fact united the country because India had cast system and before Mughals arrived India had been ruled by several forces. For example, Nandas, Mauryan, Mysore (Karnataka) Indo-Greeks, Shunga, Satavahana , Shaka , Kushan , Pallava, Chalukya, Gurjara-Pratihara (I), Chalukya, Pala, Rashtrakuta, Chola, Chandela, Cauhan, Paramara, Chalukya, Hoysala, Yadava, Pandya. These troops controlled different parts of the county and had no unified force or government.

Fast forward, British arrived in India in the 1700s. India was highly populated, economically developed but heavily divided into cast system. There were states with independent governments. Britain could not march in and took over. They developed a smart strategy and took control of the country through a combination of military force and alliances with
state rulers.

By the late 1800s British rule in India became strong; however, there were only a tiny number of British soldiers and administrators in India. Indian civil servants did the majority of the day-to-day work that allowed British rule to operate. By the end of the First World War in 1918 British rule was still secure. However, protests from Indian nationalists had become more common and were sometimes violent. Indians had sent and paid for thousands of troops to fight in the Great War and they felt that this sacrifice should be recognised with more say in running the country.

Protests continued through the 1930s and even during the Second World War. It should be remembered that India again sent and paid for thousands of troops to fight for the
British Empire during this war. In fact, the British made an offer of Dominion status to India in 1942 in return for full co-operation during the war. However, there were too
many restrictions on this offer and Indian National Congress leader Nehru turned it down. Gandhi and other nationalists continued to demand independence for India throughout the war, although they were careful to avoid disrupting the war effort. When the war ended the protests increased. International opinion, especially in the USA, was increasingly hostile to British rule.

In 1947 the British withdrew from the subcontinent and it was partitioned into two independent countries, India and Pakistan. Around 2 million people fled from their homes to areas of Pakistan or India where they would not be a minority. Violence continued for some time after final partition, and there were disputes over territory between the two newly created countries. Jawaharlal Nehru went on to become the first Prime Minister of India and a key force in making the country a stable, democratic state. In Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah became the Governor General of Pakistan.

Unfortunately, since partition the two countries could not live like good neighbours and kept defeating each other on international forums and kept buying weapons to kill each other and kept creating hatred between the citizens of each other. Peaceful people of the both sides dream that perhaps one day the two countries would enjoy a border like EU or US/Canada, to do business, enjoy and share the knowledge of each other instead of making plans to eliminate each other with weapons of mass destruction. However, recent events signal a painful future of both capitals, Islamabad and New Delhi unless both sit down, have a discussion on disputes, devise the gadgets to resolve them and arrive on long lasting
peace solutions.