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Geographical conflicts case study- Jammu & Kashmir; why India and Pakistan

fight over it.

In 1947 India and Pakistan were granted independence from Britain. Under the partition
plan provided by the Indian Independence Act, the Kashmir was to chose who it
acceded to; India or Pakistan.

The region's ruler at the time, Hari Singh (a non-Muslim), chose India and as a result
India and Pakistan have been involved in several military conflicts since then. The
population of the India controlled states of Jammu and Kashmir are 60+% Muslim,
making it the only state within India where Muslims are in the majority. As a result,
many of the residents (Muslim) do not want it to be governed by India, preferring to be
an independent nation or if not independent, then to be governed by Pakistan which is a
majority Muslim country (BBC, 2016).

So, with all of this you ask, where is the geographical conflict? It lies within the differing
views of the pros vs. the cons of Jammu and Kashmir becoming an independent nation.
With these pros & cons, there are three geographical locations to consider;
Jammu/Kashmir, India and Pakistan. While there are many pros vs. cons, for the
purposes of this case study, here are the pros vs. the cons we will use;

Jammu/Kashmir Pros:

The majority of Ethnic Kashmiris are Muslim and most Kashmiris do not want to
be part of India; they want to be independent (Reuters, 2007).
The citizens of the state will have a better say on their own affairs (assuming
no one else occupies after India leaves).
The state gets to have the main say on how Indus waters will be used. This
could help in building more hydroelectric projects.
There will be better international recognition for the region. Kashmir gets a
seat at the UN and many other international bodies.

Jammu/Kashmir Cons:
Located in one of the most unstable regions in the world in terms of
terrorism- The Kashmir region sits right next to the place that Al-Qaeda once
called home, and there are numerous militias and warlords located near them
who if Kashmir became independent, may try to move in and take advantage of
the area to operate out of. If Kashmir were to become independent, they would
be a prime target for terrorist cells and extremists top operate out of and plan
attacks around the world, or against Pakistan and India.
Possibly of invasion from any one of possibly 3 neighboring
countries-Kashmir has been fought over for years now, many times in all out
war. But if this tiny region were to suddenly become independent, they would
immediately become exposed to be completely overrun through a military
takeover by Pakistan, India, or even China who has been a part of the Kashmir
conflict. Kashmir doesn't have any way to get its hand on a decent sized or
advanced military to repel any attacks on its sovereignty.
Independence doesn't guarantee safety meaning human rights violations
could continue or worsen-independence doesn't always end human rights
violations. A new government, especially one that lacks any real resources, could
turn out to be just as cruel as an old government.
Being a predominantly Muslim nation, it could be setup as a Sharia Law
society- Kashmir is a predominantly Muslim society, so it is possible that if it
became independent, the people may install a government that operates strictly
according to Sharia Law and all of its hard core conservatism and religious based
ideologies. Such a government is possible in heavily Muslim areas like Kashmir
and if the government did operate via Sharia law then all those other possible
breakdowns of stability and escalation of human rights violations could easily
become a reality.
Lack of real resources-Kashmir is a rural area that makes nearly all of its
income and trade from agriculture. There isn't enough money available to sustain
a government in Kashmir, leaving it with enough funds to improve education,
infrastructure and defense. The result would be the new country running up a
monstrous debt which would quickly cripple the economic credibility of the nation,
scaring away investors and sentencing the area to poverty for years to come.

India Pros:
India benefits by not having to bankroll a troubled state and spending less on
security (assuming Kashmir keeps its independence).
India's relationship with Pakistan might improve.

India Cons:
Jammu & Kashmir borders the plains of Punjab and accessible to India's capital.
If an aggressor were to take Jammu & Kashmir, it would give India's enemies
direct access to India's heart.
India's water access threatened-the only connection India has with the river of
Indus is via Kashmir. Besides the cultural importance, the Indus system is the
biggest source of water to India's northwest. Without the access and bargaining
power of Indus, India will be left without a lot of water which helps India generate
hydro power.
India is a diverse political union built upon a share culture that has lasted
thousands of years. Kashmir is a core part of this culture and any separation
would weaken the Indian union.

Pakistan Pros:
The majority of ethnic Kashmiris are Muslim and most do not want to be part of
India; they want to be independent or if not independent, then under Pakistani
rule. Gives Pakistan more land/people.
Gives Pakistan control of the river of Indus which is important to many areas in
the region and the potential to produce economic benefit for Pakistan.
Pakistan's relationship with India might improve.

Pakistan Cons:
Economic drain on Pakistan's economy.

Case Study Focus Question

Using the listed pros and cons as a starting point, do some research and decide which
pro/con arguments regarding the Jammu & Kashmir regions are the most persuasive.
Do your findings tell us anything about the hotly contested (conflict) of the Jammu &
Kashmir region being given their independence or being allowed to come under
Pakistani rule? Considering/using the conflict resolution tactics discussed thus far in the
course textbook, can you suggest a solution to this geographical conflict?