Danish Ismail / Reuters A garden in Srinigar, Kashmir, November 2016.

Kashmir, India and Pakistan

I Shall endeavor to recapitulate briefly the genesis of the dispute over the State of Jammu and Kashmir and to indicate what solutions have been considered in the past, apart from the main solution of an over-all plebiscite, that might well furnish a ground for future action in determining its disposition.

When Britain decided to quit the subcontinent of India, the British Parliament enacted the Indian Independence Act of 1947, whereby the two new Dominions of India and Pakistan were carved out and the princely Indian States, numbering 562, were freed from the suzerainty of the British Crown. The result of this was that on the lapse of paramountcy, suzerainty reverted to the princely states, for the British Parliament declined to transfer it to either of the two successor governments. Thus the princely states became completely independent. However, they were advised by the representative of the British Crown, the Viceroy of India, to affiliate with either of the two new Dominions, keeping in view geographical and other relevant considerations, for the very limited purpose of securing their defense, foreign relations and a few other specified matters. By an appointed date almost all the Indian states-the chief exceptions being the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the State of Hyderabad-fell in line with this policy.

The State of Jammu and Kashmir (hereafter referred to as Kashmir) had its peculiar problems. For one thing, its ruler was a Hindu but its population was preponderantly Muslim. Its other problems have been set forth briefly by Mr. N. C. Chatterjee, Member of the Indian Parliament and a member of the Hindu Mahasabha, in a recent article as follows:

The geographical situation of the State was such that it would be bounded on all sides by the new Dominion of Pakistan. Its only access to the outside world by road lay through the Jhelum Valley road which ran through Pakistan, via Rawalpindi. The only rail line connecting the State with the outside world lay through Sialkot in Pakistan.

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