The First Kashmir War and the Intervention of the United Nations 1947 to 1964

Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy 1846-1990
By: Alastair Lamb

The news of the tribal invasion immediately convinced Mountbatten that here, somehow, was evidence of a piece of sharp practice by M.A. Jinnah, a man whom he had grown to dislike and whose integrity he had come to distrust: accordingly, he decided to do what he could to stop Jinnah’s little game. So involved personally did he become on behalf of the Indian side, indeed, that he rushed out to Palam airport to help supervise the initials stages of the military airlift to Srinagar; and he began to behave, so some reports have it, more as an Indian military commander tan as a Governor General.

            By accepting the Maharaja’s accession to India Mountbatten was convinced that he had secured both a right for Indian troops to enter the State and the means to frustrate intervention by the regular forces of Pakistan. The State of Jammu and Kashmir, legally speaking, was now Indian territory. The presence of Pakistani troops there would, accordingly, constitute an act of aggression. Mountbatten did not take the obvious step of getting in touch with Pakistan authorities before deciding to accept the Maharaja’s accession, thus ruling out negotiations at a stage when negotiations would be most free from commitments brought about the developing crisis.

On the Pakistan side M.A. Jinnah, the Governor-General, and LIaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister, also saw in the Kashmir crisis evidence of a conspiracy. They believed that the situation has from the outset been engineered by the Indians, whose pupper they thought Mountbatten to be, a to provide the excuse for the State of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India beneath a defensive umbrella of Indian forces. They certainly did not take seriously a sequence of telegrams from Jawaharlal Nehro from 27 October onwards (discussed in Chapter) which asserted that all that India was doing in the State of Jammu and Kashmir was to ensure the free expression of the wishes of the people.

Mr. Jinnah’s immediate reaction on hearing of arrival of the Sikh battalion at Srinagar was to order General Sir Douglas Gracey, acting Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, to send in his own troops. Here the Pakistan side was at a real disadvantage. The armies of India and Pakistan were at the moment still under the same supreme command. Since 27 October and the Indian acceptance of the State of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession it was clear that any Pakistani military action in the State would be a direct conflict with the forces of India. The Army Supereme Commander, Auchinleck, would not agree to what amounted to an inter-Dominion war. Gracey was instructed to tell M.A. Jinnah, in these circumstances had to given in.

In an atmosphere of extreme mutual suspicion Mountbatten, supported by Lord Ismay, went to Lahore on 1 November to discuss the Kashmir crisis with M.A. Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. Jawaharlal Nehru was unable or unwilling, because of illness so he said, to accompany Mountbatten; and Sardar Vallabhai Patel more or less refused to go (he did not consider that there was anything to discuss, accession being in his view absolute and unconditional). Thus the two Governor-General were left to do the best they could alone. Mountbatten  put to M.A. Jinnah the suggestion that the Kashmir issue could be settled by a plebiscite, perhaps held under  the supervision of the United Nations; but only, of course, following the restoration of order, which meant in practice the defeat and withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of the pathan tribesmen, whom Pakistan must desist from aiding and abetting in their aggression.

M.A. Jinnah detected no merit whatsoever in the idea of the plebiscite under these particular conditions which he saw as both insulting and humiliating to Pakistan. Given the overwhelming Muslim complexion of the population of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, he could not understand why a plebiscite should be needed at all: there could be no question that, following the logic of Partition, the State should go anywhere under any compromise solution for the crisis, Pakistan might perhaps exchange its claims to Junagarh (where, it will be recalled, a Muslim ruler with a Hindu majority had acceded to Pakistan, only to be frustrated by India) for India’s claim to any part of Jammu and Kashmir, a straight swap of accessions on a Government to Government basis.

It is probable, of course, that during the opening phase of the dispute both M.A. Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan had not ruled out the possibility that a Kashmir plebiscite could well find for India if is conduct were entrusted to Sheikh Abdullah. The views of Muslim League leadership on Sheikh Abdullah at this stage are clear enough. As Liaquat Ali Khan was to tell Jawaharlal Nehru on 16 November.

While this Quisling, who has been agent of …. [the Indian]…. Congress for many years, struts about the stage bartering away life, honour and freedom of his people for personal profix and power, the true leaders of the Muslims of Kashmir…. [e.g. Chaudhri Ghulam Abbas]… are rotting in jail.

Thus M.A. Jinnah was quite content to avoid the risk, however slight, of letting Sheikh Abdullah manipulate the electoral process so as to consolidate the Indian position. What he left was urgently needed was a cease-fire within the next forty-eight hours followed by a simultaneous withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of both the Indian Army and the Pathan tribesmen (but, presumably, leaving the Azad Kashmir forces in place). He denied that he had any direct control over the tribesmen, but he was willing to tell them that if they did not leave the State of their own accord “the forces of both Dominions will make war on them”. When the State was free of both Dominions will make war on them”. When the State was free of both tribesmen and Indian troops, then Jinnah and Mounbatten, the two Governors-General, should “be given full power to restore peace, undertake the administration of Jammu and Kashmir State and arrange for plebiscite, without delay, under their joint supervision”.  (without, it was implied clearly enough, any involvement of Sheikh Abdullah).This was to remain the basis for Pakistan’s attitude to the plebiscite for years to come, that any reference to the wishes of the people in the disputed State could only take place in circumstances where the influence of both the Indian army and Sheikh Abdullah was either excluded totally or in some way neutralized. Jinnah’s proposals were not, on the face of it, unreasonable: the United Nations was soon to suggest very much the same.

The Indian position, which Mountbatten put to M.A. Jinnah on 1 November 1947, and which Indian statesman were to reiterate in years to come, was that there could be no question of the Indian forces leaving the States of Jammu and Kashmir until the Pathan tribesmen had first been withdrawn. The assumption, which in India has become an article of faith, was that the tribesmen were acting under he direct orders of Jinnah’s Government, as Mountbatten, for one, undoubtedly believed. In that he was certainly not in control of the tribesmen, M.A. Jinnah felt personally insulted by repeated Indian demands that he cease to aid and abet the “Aggressors”. He made it clear to Mountbatten, so the Indian Governor-General reported to Nehru, that he felt that the whole affair was a deliberate, long worked out, deep laid plot by Nehru and his associates to secure Kashmir’s permanent accession to India.

Once M.A. Jinnah’s proposals which were repeated to Jawaharlal Nehru by Liaquat Ali Khan, had been rejected, the exchanges between the Indian and Pakistani leaders became increasingly acrimonious and, in consequence, the prospect of any prompt settlement passed away never to return. Other Indo-Pakistani settlement passed away never to return. Other Indo-Pakistani discussion, notably during Liaquat Ali Khan’s attendance at a meeting of the Joint Defence Council in New Delhi in the first week of December 1947, immediately followed by a visit to Lahore by Mountbatten, Nehru, Baldev Singh and Gopalaswami Ayyengar,brought about no improvement in the situation.The Pakistan side demanded both the Indians withdraw from the State and that the Sheikh Abdullah Emergency Government give way tot a caretaker administration which was at least neutral in the Indo-Pakistan dispute: only then could a plebiscite beheld. The Indians, as well as Mountbatten, remained convinced that the Pakistanis were thick as thieves with the tribesmen and other rebels in Kashmir; and they had persuaded themselves that all fault for what was happening lay with Pakistan.The Indian side concluded that further direct talks with the Pakistani leadership were quite pointless.

On 12 December 1947 Jawaharlal Nehru indicated to Liaquat Ali Khan thathe was considering, albeit reluctantly, the invitation of United Nations observers to come to India and advise on the proposal plebiscite.Liaquat Ali Khan showed no initial enthusiasm for United Nations meditation. What, after all, was there to mediate. Nehru went ahead with the preparation of a formal approach to the United Nations, complaining of Pakistani aggression in Kashmir. A summary of the Indian case was dispatched to for comment to summary of the Indian case was dispatched to for comment to Liaquat Ali Khan on 22 December, and, before a reply could be received, the full Indian presentation was sent to the United Nations on 31 December 1947 and put before the Security Council on the following day. It took some time for both India and Pakistan to workout the implications, and practical possibilities of this added international dimension to the dispute meanwhile the war in Kashmir went on.

During the final months of 1947, while high level Indo-Pakistan talks failed to resolve the crisis, Indian troops succeeded in breaking the back of the tribal offensive and security their own hold over Srinagar. At the same time the Gilgit region on 3 November 1947, under the leadership of the commander of the Gilgit Scouts, Major W. Brown, threw off all vestige of Dogra rule and declared for Pakistan on the following day. Already, with the onset of the winner of 1947-8  the military situation in Jammu and Kashmir was fast approaching a stalemate, the State being effectively cut in two by an elastic but impenetrable battle-front.

During the course of 1948 fighting in the State of Jammu and Kashmir went on between the Indian Army and the forces of what Pakistani leaders continued to call the Government of Azad Kashmir (a body which, we have seen, formally declared its independence from the Maharaja on 24 October 1947 just before the Indian airlift in defence of Srinagar). The Azad Kashmiri forces, which originally consisted of men who had taken arms during the Poonch troubles reinforced by a relatively small number of Pakistan tribesmen (and certainly nothing like the 100,000 that Jawaharlal Nehru once indicated), began increasingly to receive support form Pakistani regulars (and a very small number of foreign volunteers – much has been made of the involvement, for example, of a former U.A. Air Force Sergeant, Russel Height by name). At first it was merely a question of Individual Pakistani soldiers taking their leave, as it were, on the Kashmir front. By May 1948, with Indian forces pressing dangerously toward the Poonch-West Punjab border, General Gracey reversed his decision of October 1947 and approved the commitment of regular Pakistani troops to the Azad Kashmir front (a fact which Pakistan policy admitted in July 1948); though at no stage during the first Kashmir war were Indian regulars outnumbered by Pakistani regulars.

The increased Pakistani involvement in the fighting made it possible to hold a line through Poonch and Mirpur District of Jammu as well as in the Muzaffarabad District of Kashmir Province against determined Indian attacks which would have been too much for the Azad Kashmir forces alone. Thus the town of Muzaffarabad at the junction of Kishenganga and Jhelum Rivers survived as the capital of Azad Kashmir Government, the nucleus of Kashmir State free from both Indian and the Maharaja. The front between the Indian forces and Azad Kashmir became in due course the western half of the Kashmir cease-fire line.

The eastern portion of the cease-fire line emerged from a battle between India and Pakistan forces, the latter here mainly Gilgit Scouts and other professional with very little assistance from the Azad Kashmir men, for control of the approaches to the Northern Frontier through Ladakh and Baltistan. The Pakistanis opened this campaign with an offensive based on Gilgit and directed along the Indus towards Leh, the capital of Ladakh, and they actually managed for a time to cut the main Srinagar Leh road at Kargil. The Indians countered with a remarkable operation involving the use of tanks at altitudes of 10,000 feet or more (the Zoji La), where incidentally, the Patiala contingent distinguished itself. The Pakistanis were unable to hold on to Kargil town; nor could they maintain a significant foothold elsewhere in Ladakh, Skardu in Baltistan (which they finally captured in August 1948 after a siege of some six months) thus becoming their forward base up the Indus.

The intensity with which the Indians fought to hold Kargil is probably evidence of the appreciation that this was the vital battle to retain an Indian presence on the presence on the Northern Frontier (as has been suggested in Chapter 4).  Kargil dominated the Srinagar-Leh road, for which there was then no satisfactory alternative, With Kargil would also have gone the rest of Ladakh, Perhaps, with this geopolitical access to Central Asia shut off, India might have lost some of its interest in the Vale of Kashmir; and in consequence some negotiated settlement might have been easier. It is not known whether the Pakistan command at this time fully understood the significance of Kargil: it probably did. The setback to the Pakistani northern campaign, there can be no doubt, was to have grave consequences for the future of Sino-Indian relations in that in enabled Indian in the late 1950s to try to give practical expression to those cartographic claims to the Aksai Chin which were to be published for the first time in 1954 (and concerning the origins of which we have speculated in Chapter 4).

The check to the Pakistani advance from Baltistan also meant that the line between Indian and Pakistani control in the territories which had once made up on the map of the State of Jammu and Kashmir now virtually cut the State into two portions of comparable areas. Pakistan held the Gilgit region, Baltistan and a narrow strip of Kashmir Province, Poonch and Mirpur in Jammu along the West Punjab border. India held Ladakh, the bulk of Kashmir Province and Jammu, and a portion of Poonch.

In the autumn of 1948 the Indians developed an offensive in Poonch which not only freed Poonch town from Pakistani investment but also threatened to bring the Indian Army to the West Punjab border, cutting Azad Kashmir in two, Pakistan responded with a plan which in many respects parallels that which they were to adopt during the Kashmir war of 1965, and one which Akbar Khan had originally proposed in October 1947 s the logical opening move in any campaign for the liberation of entire State of Jammu and Kashmir from Dogra rule. Pakistani forces were withdrawn not only from remoter parts of the Kashmir front but also from the Indian border in the Lahore region of Pakistan proper: they were concentrated in the West Punjab near Jammu for an attack which was intended to sever the main Indian line of communication into the State from the Indian East Punjab near Jammu for an attack which was intended to sever the main Indian line of communication into the State from the Indian East Punjab. The intention was to bring about a kind of Stalingrad in which the bulk of the Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir would be cut off and obliged to surrender. Grave risks were involved, as the events of 1965 show clearly enough, since the obvious Indian counter to such a move was to attack Lahore and other West Punjab centres, thus bringing on an unrestricted war between the two successor states of British India.

In the event instead of an escalation of the war in the final days of 1948 there were negotiations leading to a cease-fire which took effect on 1 January 1949; and on 27 July 1949 Indian and Pakistani military representatives signed to Karachi an agreement defining a cease-fire line in the State of Jammu and Kashmir which, until the outbreak of the 1965 war, was to mark the effective limit of the sovereignties of the two States. In part this rapid and unexpected, thought partial and temporary, settlement of the Kashmir conflict was due to the fact that in late 1948 the commanders of the armies of both India and Pakistan were still British. General Gracey for Pakistan and General Bucher for India had remained in close touch despite the strained relations between the two nations which they served; and with the increasing prospect of a general Indo-Pakistani war the British generals were powerful advocates of moderation. Doubtless also both Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan (M.A. Jinnah died in September 1948) were reluctant (and some of their advisers even m ore so) to see their newly independent polities mutually destroy each other. Finally, the calming down of the Kashmir situation can certainly be attributed in some degree to the influence of the United Nations.

Outside commentators on the Kashmir problem have tended to concentrate on the United Nation aspects. This is partly because Kashmir was one of the first disputes put to the United Nations after its creation at the end of World War II, and, as such, was seen many quarters to be a crucial experiment in the possibility of settling quarrels between nations by international mediation. In part, however, the emphasis on the United Nations derives from the great volume of reports and other documents to which Kashmir in the United Nations have given rise. The result, perhaps, has been a trifle misleading. All the United Nations has been able to do in this kind of problem has been to desire formulae for a possible settlement and lend is good offices in attempts at arbitration or mediation. In the Kashmir dispute the United Nations has never possessed either the power or the mandate to enforce a settlement; it could only advise and recommend. Thus many of its discussions have contained within them a powerful element of unreality. The essence of the Kashmir problem is not to be found, except by inference, in the debates of Security Council: it lies in the internal politics of India and Pakistan. Hence there is little point in examining as have some writers, in microscopic detail every plan advance by the United Nations and its officials and every debate in either the Security Council or the General Assembly. I will confine myself here to a brief outline of the history of the United Nations involvement and an analysis of the basic nature of the solutions which is proposed.

It was, we have already seen, the Indian side which first brought Kashmir to the Security Council. On 1 January 1948 the Indian Representative, P.P. Pillai, transmitted to the President of the Security Council the Indian case as it had been sent to him the previous day. This took the form of a complaint against Pakistan; and under Article 35 of the United Nations Charter it requested the Security Council to instruct Pakistan to desist from meddling in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian argument was based on the validity of the Maharaja’s accession to India. Pakistan had no right to aid the tribesmen or to permit its nationals to take part in the Kashmir fighting. Over the next few months this case was developed at great length by Gopalaswami Ayyengar, a former Prime Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and a Minister in the Indian Government, who was aided by a team which included Sheikh Abdullah. From the outset the Indians concentrated on the single legal point of the Maharaja’s accession which they refused to consider in the wider context of the partition of the entire subcontinent. The whole issue, so Gopalswami Ayyengar said on many occasions, arose from Pakistan’s error” in aiding and abetting the Pathan tribals invaders in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. At this early state, it is worth nothing, the Indian side took care not to call Pakistan (at least in the United Nations – it was not so moderate elsewhere) an “aggressor”. Though such restraint was subsequently to be abandoned.

Pakistan, ably represented by its Foreign Minister, Sir M. Zafrullah Khan, approached the question in a fundamentally different way. It denied, naturally enough, all Indian charges of illegal actions in assisting the tribesmen. It represented the situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as essentially one of popular revolt against the oppressive regime of the Maharaja. It contested the validity of the Maharaja’s accession to India. Beyond these points of detail, one might almost say, Pakistan, however, raised a much more fundamental issue. The Kashmir problem, so Zafrullah Khan said, arose as part of a wider Indian project for the very suppression of Pakistan itself. As evidence of Indian hypocrisy, the State of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, which India accepted, was compared to the State of Junagadh’s accession to Pakistan, which India had unilaterally set aside. In both cases, it was pointed out, the ruler was of a different religion to his subjects, the State of Jammu and Kashmir with a Hindu ruler over Muslims and the State of Junagadh the precise opposite. Clearly, the argument rain, India was interested in something more than the mere technically of accession as a legally binding contract; it wanted territory, come what may, with or without accession. This was “aggression” on a truly epic scale. With such a psychological composition, India was unable to accept Partition and the consequent loss of the north-western tracts of the old British Raj  Hence, Pakistan accused, India had used fraud, oppression, even genocide in the attempt to prevent and then undo Partition: the events of 1947 in Kashmir were but scenes in far larger drama.

In the specific case of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan requested that the Security Council set up a Commission which would arrange for a cease-fire, followed by the withdrawal of all outside troops, whether coming from India or Pakistan, as the prelude to the establishment of a fully impartial State of Jammu and Kashmir administration and the holding of a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the State’s people free from the influence both of India and of Sheikh Abdullah. All this, in effect, was very much what M.A. Jinnah had put to Mountbatten on 1 November 1947. Only in these circumstances would the people of the State have the chances to voice freely their opposition to aggressive Indian expansionism.

The key to the differences between the Indian and Pakistani arguments on the Kashmir problem before the Security Council is to be found, without doubt, in the ideas of the two sides on the plebiscite, what it should achieve, what structure it should have and who should organize and supervise it. India insisted that a plebiscite could only be held following the total withdrawal of the tribal invaders and other forces sponsored by Pakistan from territory in the State of Jammu and Kashmir (including both the Gilgit Agency and Azad Kashmir). It was this evacuation which India was asking the Security Council to bring about. Once achieved, then a plebiscite might take place under conditions which, so Indian leaders certainly anticipated, would ensure an overwhelming majority vote for Sheikh Abdullah and his administration. Such a vote would mean (at least this was the idea in New Delhi in 1948) the retention of the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, including Azad Kashmir and the old Gilgit Agency and its dependencies like Hunza and Nagar, within the orbit of the Indian Union.

To Pakistan the plebiscite meant something rather different. With Sheikh Abdullah in control, abetted by Indian forces, and probably using both the restricted franchise and the communal consistencies of the old 1939 Jammu and Kashmir State Constitution, it seemed that the vote could not go in favour of India. Hence it must be so arranged that when the time for voting came not only would the Indian troops have withdrawn completely but also Sheikh Abdullah’s influence would have been to some degree neutralized by the establishment of an “impartial” Government in the State of Jammu and Kashmir under effective United Nations supervision. Even in these circumstances, in the early stages of the Kashmir problem when the memory of the horrors of the tribal invasion of October 1947 was still fresh in the minds of the local population, and the prestige of Sheikh Abdullah (who was still perceived as Jawaharlal Nehru’s men), at least among the inhabitants of the Vale, at its height, thoughtful Pakistani leaders cannot have been entirely convinced that the vote would in fact go their favour. At this period, 1948-9, a plebiscite on the terms then being discussed would have involved a considerable Pakistani gamble. Had Pakistan lost, then not only would Azad Kashmir have disappeared into Sheikh Abdullah’s empire but it was inevitable that the Indians would have done everything in their power both to displace Pakistan from Gilgit Agency (now incorporated in the language of the Kashmir dispute in what was called the Northern Areas) and to regain control over the entire Northern Frontier. In the first Pakistani discussions at Lake Success of the plebiscite question, therefore, one may perhaps detect something a little les than enthusiasm. As time went on, of course, and Indian popularity in much of the State of Jammu and Kashmir declined, so did Pakistan’s attitude change somewhat.

Both sides, however, at the outset agreed on one point of great importance. The State of Jammu and Kashmir would be treated as a whole: there was no thought at this period of holding separate plebiscites in the various regions which had been combined by Gulab Singh and his successors into a single polity under Dogra rule.

While India might possibly have won a plebiscite in 1948, even under the kind of conditions which Pakistan said it would accept, yet there were two sound political reasons why India should not take the risk.

First: it was clear that any cease-fire would leave India holding a great deal of territory in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the majority of the State’s population and economic resources. Having retained Kargil, India also had an adequate access to the eastern sector of the Northern Frontier in Ladakh. All this would be put to some risk in a plebiscite.

Second: an electoral victory for Sheikh Abdullah would not of absolute necessity be a vote for union with India. Sheikh Abdullah had already made it abundantly clear that he did not feel that the people of Jammu and Kashmir could possibly be bound by the personal decision of the Maharaja to accede to India. As he declared just before he took office in late October 1947.

Kashmir to be a joint Raj of all communities. Our first demand is complete transfer of power to the peoples of Kashmir. Representatives of the people in a democratic Kashmir will then decide whether the State should join India or Pakistan. If the forty laks…. [40,000,000]….. of people living in Jammu and Kashmir are  bypassed and the State declared its accession to India or Pakistan, I shall raise the banner of revolt and we face a struggle. Of course, we will naturally opt to go to that Dominion where our own demand for freedom receives recognition and support. We cannot desire to join those who say that the people must have no voice in the matter.

As India was to discover to 1953 (and we will examined in Chapter 10), Sheikh Abdullah might be no willing puppet of New Delhi. Indeed, there could be no guarantee, particularly after the death of M.A. Jinnah in September 1948, that Sheikh Abdullah might not come to terms with the Pakistani politicians.

In the Security Council of the United Nations the Indian and Pakistani arguments produced a Resolution on 17 January 1948 which set the tone for the future shape of United Nations involvement in the dispute. The United Nations was not, as it would shortly do in Korea, involving itself directly in the repulsion of an act of aggression (which, indeed, it was never asked to do in Kashmir); it was simply offering its services as an honest broker to sort out a quarrel between two parties whose relationship could almost be described as “domestic”. The first Security Council Resolution on Kashmir did not more in effect than urge the disputants to get together and sort out their differences without making a public nuisance of themselves. The Resolution

Calls upon both the Government of India and Government of Pakistan to take immediately all measures within their power (including public appeals to their people) calculated to improve the situation and to refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation…..[It]…… further request each of thoese Government to inform the Council immediately any material change in the situation which occurs or appears to either of them to be about to occur while the matter is under consideration by the Council, and consult with the Council thereon.

These bland requests were followed three days later by the formation of a United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) with three members from States represented in the United Nations, one selected by India, one by Pakistan and the third jointly by the other two. With instructions amplified by a Security Council Resolution of 6 February 1948, it was authorized to investigate the situation on the spot, endeavour to help India and Pakistan to bring about law and order in the State of jammu and Kashmir, and then try to arrange for a plebiscite to decide the future of the State. Its role from the outset was that of mediator rather than enforcer of international law.

The original proposals for the UNCIP were greatly strengthened on 21 April 1948 when a further Resolution emerged from the Security Council.The UNCIP was increased to five members.It was to make specific recommendations to the two parties in the dispute. Pakistan should be asked to arrange the withdrawal of both the tribesmen and troops who were Pakistani nationals from the State of Jammu and Kashmir. India should be urged to reduce its forces to the minimum needed to maintain law and order. An interim Jammu and Kashmir Government, a coalition of all the major political groups in the State, should be put in power. Refugees ought to be allowed to return and political prisoners to be released. In anticipation that all this would happen, the United Nations would appoint a Plebiscite Administrator with adequate powers to supervise the whole process of ascertaining the wishes of the people of the State.

The UNCIP, after some delay, reached the subcontinent in July 1948 ; and, after talks with Indian and Pakistani leaders, on 13 August it produced it detailed plan of action. It called for a cease-fire to be followed immediately by the opening of negotiations for a truce agreement which would involve the withdrawal of the Pathan tribesmen and other Pakistani nationals – the UNCIP, much to Jawaharlal Nehru’s annoyance, was very careful not to pass any moral judgements on the Pakistan side – followed by the withdrawal of the bulk of the Indian forces. Once the truce agreement was signed both sides could start working out the arrangements for a plebiscite.

A feature of the UNCIP plan as it developed in practice was the creation of a United Nations military presence in the disputed territory. Its function was mainly to observe and to report back to the Untied Nations Secretary General any violations of the cease-fire; and it consisted of somewhere between forty and sixty professional soldiers from members states of the United Nations commanded by a General Officer as Chief Military Observer, a position which was first occupied by the Canadian Brigadier Harry Angle (who was killed in an air crash) and then, from 1950 until his death in Rawalpindi in 1966, by the Australian Lt-General Robert Nimmo. From the early days of the Kashmir dispute, therefore, until today, there has always been a direct physical United Nations presence in the State of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the cease-fire line to remind the various parties involved that the outside world is watching what goes on.

The August 1948 UNCIP plan found favour in the eyes of neither side. Jawaharlal Nehru was reluctant to agree to any formula which did not contain within it the allocation of a significant, and specific, measure of blame of Pakistan for causing the problem in the first place. As he said to a member of UNCIP, Josef Korbel of Czehoslavakia: “Pakistan must be condemned”. Indians much resented the attitude of the Untied Nations that there was a genuine dispute with a measure of right on both sides in the Indian view the Pakistani case was entirely meretricious. The Indian insistence on a moral verdict in its favour certainly did not make the task of UNCIP any easier.

The Pakistani leaders objected to the UNCIP plan on quite different grounds. They could not accept a situation where they would have the plebiscite throughout the State of Jammu and Kashmir influenced, covertly or overtly, by Sheikh Abdullah (who ha formally become Prime Minister of the State on 5 March 1948) under the protection of Indian forces, India, after all, was only asked to withdraw the bulk of its forces, while the forces, sympathetic to Pakistan would have to withdraw completely: hence, whatever happened there would be some Indian troops left and probably enough to overawe the timid population of the Vale of Kashmir, the demographic key to any plebiscite which treated the State as a while. They did consider that the presence of the UNCIP Plebiscite Administrator in itself offered adequate protection.

In the event, India made a rather guarded and highly qualified acceptance of the UNCIP plan, perhaps in the certain knowledge that Pakistan would not agree to it. The result was the first of an interminable series of stalemates which were to vex successive attempts at mediation by the United Nations.

On 5 January 1949, shortly after the Kashmir cease-fire had been announced, the UNCIP refined in considerable detail its original plan for a plebiscite. In an attempt to allay Pakistani fears that the process would be dominated by Sheikh Abdullah and the Indian Army, it proposed that for the period when the plebiscite was actually being held the State of Jammu and Kashmir should pass under the full control of Plebiscite Administrator.To this ost the Secretary General of the Untied Nations appointed Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz on 22 March 1949. the idea of a Plebiscite Administration, welcomed in Pakistan, was coolly received by the Indian side. It not only implied a challenge to the legality of the State of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession but also smacked of a return to some kind of cononialism, even if temporary – the Plebiscite Administrator would for the duration of the plebiscite enjoy quasi-sovereign power over territory which Nehru and his colleagues maintained was Indian beyond a shadow of a doubt. When India rejected the proposal of President Truman and Prime Minister Attlee, made on 31 August, that both sides should agree to accept arbitration on the many differences of interpretation of the UNCIP plans, the first phase of the United Nations involvement in the Kashmir dispute came to an end. By this time, with the delimitation of the cease-fire line by the Karachi Agreement of 27 July 1949, the really pressing problem of the crisis, namely to bring actual fighting to an end, had been solved. It was clear that neither India nor Pakistan was as yet so eager for a wider settlement as to be prepared to sacrifice any of its major points of principle.

In December 1949 the Security Council made a new approach to the Kashmir problem when it proposed that its President, General A.G.I. McNaughton of Canada, should endeavour to mediate directly between the Indian and Pakistani delegations at the United Nations. The McNaughton proposals, apart from touching upon the problem of the Northern Areas (both Gilgit and that part of Baltistan controlled by Pakistan which should now be considered part of the disputed territory along with the Vale, Poonch and Jammu, but in the run-up to the plebiscite should remain, subject to United Nations supervision, under the control of the local authorities, that is to say the current pro-Pakistan administration), modified somewhat the UNCIP position on the demilitarization of the State. A distinction was now drawn between the forces of Pakistan and those of Azad Kashmir. While the Pakistani regulars should be withdrawn entirely, the Azad Kashmiri troops should merely by “reduced” by disbanding. The McNaughton plan was received with a measure of interest by Pakistan but rejected by India on the grounds, in effect, that it implied a legitimization of the concept of the Azad Kashmir. Thus the McNaughton mediation can only be described as a failure. It did give rise, however, to the appointment of Sir Owen Dixon, a distinguished Australian jurist, as United Nations Representative, in India and Pakistan, with many of the functions and powers of the UNCIP.

After a strenuous tour of the State of Jammu and Kashmir between late May and late August 1950, and on the basis of long discussions with both Liaquat Ali Khan and Jawaharlal Nehru, separately and jointly, Sir Owen Dixon presented his report in the United Nations on 15 September 1950. It is a fascinating document, one of the very few pieces with claims to a measure of literary elegance and wit to emerge from the sorry Kashmir story. It did not, however, indicate any easy solution to the problem. Sir Owen Dixon concluded that it was extremely unlikely that nay proposals for a plebiscite of the kinds, and under the circumstances, with the UNCIP had suggested or might suggest on the basis of anything already on the table, would ever bear fruit. As he observed:

having come to this conclution I thought I must either abandon all attempt to settle the dispute or turn from the plebiscite by which the destination of the whole State would be decided to some different solution. I ascertained from the Prime Minister…[of India and Pakistan]… that they considered that with such a plebiscite in view there was no longer any hope of agreement upon demitarization or upon conditions which would follow demilitarization or upon any modified form of demilitarization or upon any course that would advance the position towards a settlement.

Division, with all these factors in mind, decided to explore a fresh approach to the entire problem face to face with the two Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, whom he managed to persuade to meet with each other in New Delhi between 20 and 24 July 1950. Dixon now advanced what came to be known as the idea of “regional plebiscites”. It was either. A plan for taking the plebiscite by sections or areas and the allocation of each section or area according to the result of the vote therein,

a plan by which it was conceded that some areas were certain to vote for accession to Pakistan and some for accession to India and by which, without taking a vote therein, they should be allotted accordingly and the plebiscite should be confined only to the uncertain area, which…. appeared to be the Valley of Kashmir and perhaps some adjacent country.

Dixon proposed that the two Prime Ministers should reflect upon all this and tell him what they thought.

The Indian reaction was to look with interest at the second plan. The following refinements emerged during the course of subsequent discussion between the Dixon and the Indian side. There would now be only one regional plebiscite. The State of Jammu and Kashmir would be divided up into four main regions, Jammu, Ladakh, the Vale of Kashmir in its entirely (including the Muzaffarabad area in Azad Kashmir) and, finally, the Gilgit Agency and its dependencies along with Baltistan. It would seen that the bulk of those districts of the old Poonch Jagir and Jammu which were now on the Azad Kashmir side of the cease-fire line would remain with Pakistan and not form part of the proposal. Of these four region, two Jammu and Ladakh, would go uncontested to India, and one, Gilgit, Baltistan and the rest, what for convenience was now referred to as the Northern Areas, would go to Pakistan without further argument. In the Vale of Kashmir, however, a plebiscite would be held to decide if its future would lie with India or with Pakistan (the option of independence does not seem to have been contemplated by Dixon at this time). There would then be an Indo-Pakistani boundary commission to demarcate the new borders.

Nehru, so Dixon reported, was reported to attend another joint conference with Liaquat Ali Khan to discuss this version of the new Dixon plan, which in principle he appeared to favour. Doubtless he still believed that, with Sheikh Abdullah at the helm, the Vale of Kashmir would opt for India. With this assured, he would accept the status quo for the remainder of the disputed territory. He ancestral home, the Vale of Kashmir, would remain with India along with access to the eastern end of the Northern Frontier. Nehru, in any case, must have suspected that all this was rather academic Pakistan would never agree. If so, he was quite right.

The Pakistan Prime Minister declined to attend another joint conference to discuss a proposal which was so little to his taste. Liaquat Ali Khan’s view was set out clearly enough when Dixon had first suggested the “regional plebiscite” concept to him. As Dixon reported, Liaquat Ali Khan.

protested against the course proposed on the ground that it meant a breach on India’s part of the agreement that the destination of the State of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole should be decided by a single plebiscite taken over the entire State.

Interestingly enough, on this joint the Pakistani leadership was in entire agreement with Sheikh Abdullah who at this time also made it a matter of public record that his Government most strongly opposed any scheme for the partition o the State of Jammu and Kashmir. A plebiscite restricted to the Vale of Kashmir, he declared, would only give rise to great communal tensions in the State of kind which had not hitherto existed.

While Liaquat Ali Khan would talk no more about “regional plebiscites”, he was prepared to explore pragmatically other proposals for partition based on yet another idea of Dixon’s, namely that in place of the Vale of Kashmir plebiscite there should be a simple agreed Indo-Pakistani partition of the State; but he insisted that in this case a prerequisite was that the entire Vale of Kashmir should go to Pakistan. Dixon believed, correctly enough, that India would never agree to the straight transfer to Pakistan of that part o the Vale of Kashmir which it then held so securely.

The “regional plebiscite” idea having been proved to be a non-starter, Dixon concluded his mission with a fresh examination of what exactly the term “plebiscite”, as applied to all or part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, meant to Pakistan and India. He established that Pakistan could only accept a plebiscite that was conducted in the total absence of the influences of both India and Sheikh Abdullah: this meant, in practice, the presence of Plebiscite Administration with full powers during the period of campaigning and voting. India on the other hand, considered a plebiscite to be acceptable only if Pakistan were entirely excluded: Pakistan was the “aggressor” and should in no way be allowed to profit from its offence against the norms of international behaviour. There could, moreover, be no question of granting temporary authority to the Plebiscite Administrator because it would not only violate the legitimate mandate of the present Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir but also endanger the State’s security (in a manner which he did not define). In the campaign leading up to a plebiscite only the people of the State had any right to participate. Pakistan had no locus standi. India, by virtue of the legitimacy of “accession”, was fully entitled to exercise a supervisory role in the interests of peace and tranquility in a territory for which it had rightful responsibility.

These arguments suggested that there was no obvious solution to the Kashmir plebiscite, the “regional plebiscites” and to any form of agreed partition. On 23 August 1950, when Dixon left the subcontinent, he concluded with the concurrence of both Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, that “there was nothing further that I could now do”.

It is still not entirely clear why the Dixon proposals were received with such scant enthusiasm in Karachi. Given the artificial nature of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which, as Dixon perceive so astutely, was created by what can only be described as an imperial process out of diverse parts, it would have been easy to apply the same logic for partition there as the Muslim League had advocates for British India on the eve of the Transfer of Power. There was clearly defined Musli bits. Why could they not be permitted to go their separate ways? One can appreciate the emotional reasons behind Pakistani insistence on its right to a unitary Jammu and Kashmir, it embodied both a challenge to the validity of the Maharaja’s accession to India and a reputation of the charges of aggression so freely raised by New Delhi and widely believed in the world at large. In fact, however, it is possible that a much more effective Pakistani case, once the original crisis had been passed, could have been made along the lines indicated by Dixon. By conceding that the non-Muslim parts of the State were not Pakistani’s concern, emphasis, would be placed upon the fact that, contrary to the basic theory underlying independence in the subcontinent, Muslim-majority portions of the State contiguous to Pakistan were for some strange reason under Indian control. Not only could this have had an impact on international opinion, particularly after the dismissal of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953, but it would have been appreciated both by Hindu (and Buddhist) opinion within the State and by certain politicians in India who saw the Kashmir dispute very much in Hindu ideological terms (a point to which we will return in subsequent Chapters).

Pakistan, however, has never formally endorsed the Dixon proposals as a basis for discussion.It is clear from the Dixon report that Liaquat Ali Khan was extremely suspicious of any scheme which seemed to arouse Nehru’s interest: if the Indians liked it, then there must be hidden element disadvantages to Pakistan (the Hindu rupee, it was sometimes observed in Karachi at this period, tended to contain seventeen annas). He requested that the Indian side set out in writing exactly what it meant in the proposed distribution of portions of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Was it, for example, really offering to accept the right of Pakistan to be in the Northern Areas? What was its attitude towards the future of Azad Kashmir, or, at least, portions of it such as Poonch? When put like this, the Indian side refused to commit itself and immediately retreated behind a smokescreen of protests against Pakistani “aggression”. Lacking firm, and specific, commitments, Liaquat Ali Khan believed that the Indian side was not seriously interested in a settlement: it might propose this and it might suggest that, but at the end of the day it would give nothing away to Pakistan.

Dixon undoubtedly believed, and nothing that happening in the years to come would demonstrate that he was mistaken, that his scheme of partition offered the only possible solution, both in theory and in practice, to the Kashmir problem. As he put in the concluding section of his report to the United Nations.

the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not really a unit geographically, demographically or economically. It is an agglomeration of territories brought under the political power of one Maharajah. That is the unity is possesses. If a result of an overall plebiscite the State as an entirely passed to India, there would be large movements of Muslims and another refugee problem would arise for Pakistan, who would be expected to receive them in very great numbers. If the result favoured Pakistan, a refugee problem although not of such dimension would arise for India, because of the movement of Hindus and Sikhs. Almost all this would be avoided by partition. Great areas of the State are unequivocally Musli. Other areas are predominantly Hindu. There is a further area which is Buddhist. No one doubts the sentiments of the great majority of the inhabitants of these areas. The interest of the people, the justice as well as the permanence of the settlement, and the imperative necessity of avoiding another refugee problem all point to the wisdom of adopting partition as the principle of settlement and abandoning that an overall plebiscite of settlement and abandoning that an overall plebiscite. But in addition the economic and geographic consideration point in the same direction.

Without something like his partition plan, for which the prognosis was not very favourable. Dixon saw clearly enough that the effective Indo-Pakistani border in the State of Jammu and Kashmir would for years to come be the cease-fire line; and accordingly he advised that the United Nations observers who had been stationed along that line as a result of the Karachi Agreement of 27 July 1949 should continue to carry out the one peace-keeping task which it was within the power of the United Nations to fulfil. He urged that from now onward the United Nations observers who had been stationed along that line as a result of the Karachi Agreement of 27 July 1949 should continue to carry out the one peace-keeping task which it was within the power of the United Nations to fulfil. He urged that from now onward the United Nations should concentrate on improving the conditions of the cease-fire: and the Security Council should, he implied, waste no more time devising complicated but quite impracticable schemes for an overall plebiscite. What it could do, of course, was to try to persuade India and Pakistan to reduce their forces on either side of the cease-fire line which much now be regarded as a permanent feature of the political language of the subcontinent. The smaller the number of men who confronted each other in this way, the less the chance of some minor clash escalating into a major conflict between the two successors to the British Raj.

Despite Sir Owen Dixon’s gloom, the United Nations did not give up its struggle to bring about a mediated settlement in Kashmir on the basis of a plebiscite. The Security Council, after all, had resolved that there should be a plebiscite; and it did not seem as yet disposed to permit its resolutions to moulder in a limbo of fruitless good intentions. Spurred by the proposal of the All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Sheikh Abdullah’s organization, to convene a Constituent Assembly and thereby take decisions on the future of the State which might conflict with its recommendations, still sub judice, the Security Council onece more debated the Kashmir question in the first half of 1951. On 30 March 1951 it “affirmed” that it deemed the course of action on which Sheikh Abdullah now appeared to be embarked to be out of order. Accordingly, it appointed Dr. Frank P. Graham, a former Untied States Senator for North Carolina, as United Nations Representative in succession to Sir Owen Dixon with instructions to go to the subcontinent and further explore, in the light of Sheikh Abdullah’s activities. The possibilities for the demilitarisation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the holding of a plebiscite.

Between 1951 and 1953 Dr. Graham submitted no less than five reports to the United Nations in which he described his endeavors to find a satisfactory formula. Dr. Graham was not one whit more successful than had been Sir Owen Dixon; and for precisely the same reasons. India continued to make a Pakistani “vacation of aggression” a precondition; and Pakistan retained the deepest mistrust of the fairness of any plebiscite which was not adequately protected by international safeguards. This dismissal of Sheikh Abdullah in August 1953, which will be examined in Chapter 10, did nothing to remove Pakistan suspicions.

Dr. Graham’s lack of progress, combined with various attempts to solve the problem by direct negotiation (which will be considered in Chapter 11), served to keep the Kashmir dispute off the Security Council agenda until January 1957 when Pakistan raised the matter. The occasion was once more the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly which had recently met to declare, in November 1956, that “the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India”. The Security Council, on 24 January 1957, resolved that this development was in clear conflict with the principle of a plebiscite; and on 14 February it proposed that its President, Gunnar Jarring of Sweden, be sent to the subcontinent to investigate and to attempt, yet again, mediation between India and Pakistan. Gunnar Jarring, as his report of 29 April 1957 made abundantly clear, was no more successful than had been Sir Owen Dixon and Dr. Graham.

During the debate on Gunnar Jarring’s report, which began in late September 1957, the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Malik Feroz Khan Noon, declared that his country was prepared to withdraw every soldier from those parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir which it controlled, including by implication Azad Kashmiri troops, if their place were immediately taken by United Nations forces. He doubtless had in mind the example of the use of such peace keeping forces in the Suet crisis. The proposal was opposed not only by India but also by the Soviet Union wielding its veto, phenomenon which was henceforth to become increasingly common in the Security Council deliberations of the Kashmir issue.

On 2 December 1957 the Security Council produced its Resolution on the Jarring report. It illustrates well enough the degree of impotence felt by the United Nations after a decade of involvement with the Kashmir dispute. What the Security Council now “requested” (and nothing stronger) was that:

the Government of India and Government of Pakistan…. refrain from making any statement and from doing or causing to be done any acts which might aggravate the situation and to appeal to their respective peoples to assist creating an atmosphere favourable to the promotion of further negotiation.

The United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan…. make….. recommendations to the parties for further appropriate action with a view to making progress towards the implementation of the Resolutions of the United Nations Commissions for India and Pakistan of 13 August 1948 and 3 January 1949 and towards a peaceful settlement.

and, finally that Dr. Graham be sent on another visit to the subcontinent to see if any such recommendations were forthcoming.In other words, there were so fresh initiatives, merely a policy of somehow keeping the ball in play while both India and Pakistan were urged not to rock to boat by seeking unilateral solutions. The series of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, which began in 1948 with the establishment of the UNCIP and the determination that the question should be decided by a free and impartial plebiscite under its supervision, ended on this rather pathetic note, a plea that at least the leaders of India and Pakistan should continue to listen politely to the ideas of Dr. Graham and to convey their own ideas to him.

Between 12 January and 15 February 1958 Dr. Graham duly visited yet again the seat of the trouble. His report of 28 March 1958, the sixth which he had presented to the Security Council since 1951, made it clear that he had failed once more (as he no doubt expected) to achieve any significant progress. It was evident that in his heart of hearts he had concluded that the Kashmir problem was incapable of solution by mere mortals. This was a strange document full of despair; it concluded with an impassioned call for moral values in this thermonuclear age. The final paragraph shows the spirit which kep Dr. Graham at work in the face of the intractable realities of Indo-Pakistan relations; and as such it deserves quotation. Exclaimed Dr. Graham:

the light of faith and the fires of the inner spirit, which, in dark times in ages past, were lighted among Asian, African and Mediterranean people for peoples in all lands, have shone most nobly in our times in the heroic struggles, liberation and universal aspirations of all the people of the historic sub-continent for a freer and fairer life for all. With their two-fold heritage of faith in the Moral Sovereignty, which undergirds the nature of man and the universe, and with a reverence for life challenging the violent trends of the atomic era, these peoples, in the succession of their prophetic leadership and great example, may again give a fresh lift of the humane spirit of people everywhere. The peoples of the world might in high response begin again in these shadowed years to transform with high faith and good will the potential forces of bitterness, hate and destruction, step by step through the United Nations, towards the way of co-operation, economic, social and cultural development, responsible disarmament, self-determination, equal justice under law, and peace for all peoples on earth on the God-given home of the family of man.

On this high moral note, and with a cry to help by a man confronted with a problem for which no rational solution seemed to exist, ended the Nations Security Council’s consideration of the Kashmir dispute until 1962. In January of that year the Pakistan delegate to the United Nations, Zafrullah Khan, again brought it to their attention in a protest against certain bellicose speeches by Indian statesmen calling for the “liberation” of Azad Kashmir. Zafrullah Khan described the failure of direct Indo-Pakistani negotiations since Dr. Graham’s last report; and he once more sought the mediation of the United Nations. He was, not surprisingly, opposed by the Indian delegate, C.S. Jha, who expressed what was then the position of Jawaharlal Nehru, that India was, of course, prepared to talk with Pakistan about anything whatsoever, but that there was really, here, nothing to talk about; it was best, in India’s view, if things in the State of Jammu and Kashmir jogged along quietly more or less as they as they had been for the last few years, with at the most an occasional minor adjustment, a nudge at the tiller. The discussion in the Security Council continued in a desultory manner until June, when a draft resolution was tabled by Ireland which added to the Resolution of 2 December 1957 by urging the Governments of India and Pakistan to enter as soon as possible into negotiations on the Kashmir question “with the view to its ultimate settlement”. The Soviet Union, one of the five Permanent, Members, voted, so the Russian delegate Platon Marozov observed, against the Irish draft “in the interests of peace and security”; and since the Soviets had the power of veto (which they not exercised for 100th time), that was that. Morozov made it clear that in Soviet eyes no wrong could be found with India’s foreign policy. Nehru was absolutely right over Goa.and in Kashmir his position was objectively correct beyond argument. With the Soviet veto thus permanently in place, the United Nations offered a bleak prospect for meaningful initiatives on Kashmir question “with the view to its ultimate settlement”. The Soviet Union, one of the five Permanent Members, voted, so the Russian delegate Platon Morozov observed, against the Irish draft “in the interests of peace and security”; and, since, the Soviets had the power of veto (which they now exercised for the 100th time), that was that. Morosov made it clear that in Soviet eyes no wrong could be found with India’s foreign policy. Nehru was absolutely right over Goa, and in Kashmir his position was objectively correct beyond argument. With the Soviet veto thus permanently in place, the United Nations offered a bleak prospect for meaningful initiatives on Kashmir.

In early 1964, following the crisis in Kashmir of December 1963 to January 1964 when the disappearance of a sacred Islamic relic, a hair of the Prophet Mohammad, from the Hazratbal Shrine near Srinagar gave rise to serious civil disturbances in the Vale (to which we will return in Chapter 10), Pakistan again raised the Kashmir issue in the Security Council. The Council, however, did not even proceed to a draft resolution, its President suggesting that it adjourn the debate sine die in the hope that a new climate of opinion in the subcontinent, of which signs were then detected (notably the release from Indian detention of Sheikh Abdullah, which will also be discussed in Chapter 10), should produce more fruitful direct negotiations between India and Pakistan than had taken place in the past. The debate was still adjourned when serious fighting broke out between India and Pakistan over Kashmir in the summer of 1965.

It may fairly be said that in the space of some seventeen years the United Nations made absolutely no progress at all in its quest for a final solution for the Kashmir problem. It had played an important part in the securing of a cease-fire and the demarcation of a cease-fire line. Its corps of observers from 1949 to the beginning of 1965, moreover, helped in ensuring that incidents along the cease-fire line did not escalate into a fresh outbreak of full scale war. Once the cease-fire had been achieved, however, there was really little more that the United Nations could do; and from 1957 onwards, with the constant threat of a Soviet veto, it would not even have been able to bring about as much as this. It could never, not even in the very early stages of the Kashmir problem before the Cold War had made its presence felt here, have used any degree of coercion, either economic or military, to oblige India and Pakistan to come to terms with each other against their will: its role was always that an invited mediator in what was essentially a subcontinental domestic quarrel. If India and Pakistan could not agree to make up their differences and collaborate, there could be no question of an impartial Kashmir plebiscite. From the middle of 1949, following the arrangement of a cease-fire where neutral mediation was still valued by both parties, the United Nations lost all initiative in the question; it could propose but not dispose. The Kashmir dispute from the point developed (though never, it must be said, towards resolution) because on the one hand, the internal and external policies and of India and Pakistan were evolving, and, on the other hand, there was a process of political change constantly at work within the State of Jammu and Kashmir itself.

Book Reference:

Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy 1846-1990
By: Alastair Lamb
Oxford University Press