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:. . South Asia:. . Kashmir

Since 1989, the Indian-controlled area of Kashmir has experienced extensive terrorism by Muslim militants and oppressive counter-measures by the Indian government. Muslim militants have several times slipped across the border from Pakistan to try to undermine Indian control over Kashmir. Cross-border artillery shelling by both Pakistani and Indian military units has led to further victims, property damage, and tensions. Some claim that as many as 600,000 Indian soldiers operate in the entire Kashmir region to suppress the rebellion. Estimates of the number of lives lost since the current troubles began range from 20,000 to 60,000.

Pakistan's Claims
Pakistan’s government claims that the rebels are native Kashmiris who have been forced into rebellion by India’s repressive policies and tactics, the corruption of India's political system, and Kashmir’s weak economy and high unemployment. It charges that the Indian army has resorted to torture, rape, and murder to suppress the right of the Kashmiri people to determine their own political future through a plebiscite.

India's Claims
In contrast, India's government claims that Pakistan is the source of the trouble. India argues that Pakistan established terrorist training camps in the early 1980s to help the Afghans resist the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The United States gave Pakistan considerable economic and military aid to help ensure the defeat of the Soviet attempt to control Afghanistan. Pakistan used American aid to finance and train terrorists to force the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

Once the Soviets and the government they supported were ousted from control of Afghanistan, the Pakistan-trained terrorists turned to wage Jihad (holy war on behalf of Islam) against "enemies" of Islam. The most prominent of these enemies were Israel, the United States, and most importantly India. Trained, armed, and encouraged by Pakistan, the Muslim terrorists have carried out border incursions, shelling, and especially terrorism. The purpose of these militant acts is to frighten Hindus into leaving Kashmir and to radicalize the Muslim population and to convince them that Kashmir should become a part of Pakistan.

Pakistan and India Share the Blame
While it is quite clear that Pakistan has engaged in the activities that India has charged Pakistan with, Indian politicians share some of the blame for the current problems as well (see Kashmir, 1949-89).

The solution to the current problems is to hold a plebiscite that could determine the political future of the Kashmiri people. Since 1947 both Pakistan and India have agreed that a plebiscite should be held, but neither country is willing to make the compromises (see Partition, 1947-49) that would make the plebiscite possible.



Kashmir and Its People..| History of Kashmir..|..Partition, 1947-49 ..|..Kashmir, 1949-89 ..|..Terrorism and Repression in Kashmir..|..Kashmir's Future

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