Thesis Title

The Conflict in Kashmir

Date of Graduation

Fall 2005


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

C. Walton


When the Indian subcontinent was partitioned at independence in 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, could not decide whether to join India or Pakistan. When he finally agreed to accede to India, his decision was immediately contested by Pakistan. Hence, for over fifty years India and Pakistan have fought over Jammu and Kashmir on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. The Kashmir conflict is one of the world’s most long-standing because of a number of factors. Politically sensitive demography, the state’s contested accession to India, the immediate outbreak of war between India and Pakistan because of this controversy, and the fundamentally divergent ideologies of India and Pakistan’s founders have all combined to create a seemingly insoluble conflict. Facts are rarely in dispute when it comes to Kashmir; the largest differences lie in the interpretations and interrelationships of events, and of motives. These differences greatly influence perception and judgment in both India and Pakistan, and frame the vision of future possibilities. Adding to the complexity of the situation is an insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir that has festered since the late 1980s. While the onset of insurgency was due in large part to Indian malfeasance and socio-political developments within Kashmir, Pakistan has certainly played an important role in fanning the flames of insurrection. Few outside Pakistan would contend that the insurgency would last as long as it has, or been nearly as destructive, if it were not for Pakistan aiding and abetting various insurgent organizations. Thus, what began as a largely bilateral border dispute has evolved into an extremely complex trilateral conflict involving a bewildering array of actors and motivations. Any settlement of this conflict not only must include all three primary participants, but needs to take into account the harsh realities of balance of power on the subcontinent.


Kashmir, India, Pakistan, South Asia, insurgency

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


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