by Dr. Bharti Gupta

Sources – statetimes

Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) has long been a point of contention between India and Pakistan, each nation claiming rightful sovereignty over the region. The region has remained a source of tension and conflict since the partition, leading to several wars and skirmishes between India and Pakistan. The first full-scale war over Kashmir was fought in 1947-1948, immediately after the tribal invasion. Subsequent conflicts occurred in 1965 and 1999, contributing to the ongoing dispute. India’s goal in reclaiming POJK is part of its broader strategy to seek a resolution to this long-standing and contentious issue.

The issue of POJK is deeply rooted in historical, political, and territorial disputes. India’s claim to the region is based on the legal accession of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, its commitment to territorial integrity and sovereignty, and concerns over the human rights and welfare of the people living in the region. The ongoing conflict and tensions surrounding this dispute underscore the importance of finding a peaceful resolution that respects the rights and aspirations of all stakeholders, including the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In order to examine in detail India’s rationale behind the sustained efforts to reclaim POJK, it is important to flash back a few important historical facts. The history of POJK can be traced back to the partition of British India in 1947. As India and Pakistan emerged as independent nations, the fate of the princely states within their territories became a central issue. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was then ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. The partition allowed the head of the princely states the option to accede to either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh initially sought to maintain the standstill agreement with either of the dominions. However, the tribal invasion in October 1947, supported by Pakistan became the precursor for the future outcomes in the form of accession of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir with India; and the creation of POJK.

The tribal invasion of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 serves as a crucial backdrop to the creation of POJK. This invasion was a significant event that contributed to the complex and contentious history of the region. On 22 October 1947, tribal militias from Pakistan, along with the support of elements from the Pakistani military and under the patronage of the British, launched Operation Gulmarg by attacking Jammu and Kashmir. This invasion was aimed at forcibly taking control of the region as the British had failed to convince the Maharaja through diplomatic tactics to become part of Pakistan.

On October 22, 1947, the tribal forces captured the town of Muzaffarabad, which served as the capital of the Poonch region in the state. On October 24, the tribesmen captured Baramulla, a town located to the northwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of the princely state. Baramulla was strategically significant as it lay on the road to Srinagar. On 26October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, sought military assistance from India to repel the tribal invasion. He signed the Instrument of Accession, which allowed Indian troops to enter the state. On October 27, Indian troops were airlifted into Srinagar to help defend the city from the tribal invasion. This marked the beginning of India’s formal involvement in the conflict.

India’s pursuit of a resolution at the UN Security Council (UNSC) occurred on January 1, 1948. Following the establishment of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), on April 21, 1948, the UNSC passed Resolution 47. This resolution mandated an immediate cease-fire and called upon the Government of Pakistan to ensure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir of tribal forces and Pakistani nationals not typically residing there, who had entered with the intent to engage in conflict. It also requested the Government of India to reduce its forces to a minimal level, paving the way for the conditions necessary for conducting a plebiscite regarding the state’s accession to either India or Pakistan. However, it wasn’t until January 1, 1949, that the ceasefire could be implemented, with General Gracey representing Pakistan and General Roy Bucher representing India signing the agreement.

In July 1949, India and Pakistan reached the Karachi Agreement, which established a ceasefire line to be monitored by military observers. This ceasefire line would later evolve into the Line of Control (LoC), dividing the region into the state Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.


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The conflict did not end with the ceasefire, and subsequent wars and disputes between India and Pakistan have continued to impact the region. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir remains a major point of contention between the two countries and has implications for regional stability and geopolitics.

Now let us explore India’s rationale for reclaiming POJK, which may include the following points :

The Instrument of Accession, the Legal Foundation of India’s Claim: On October 26, 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, formally integrating Jammu and Kashmir into India. This accession was legal and recognized under the British Indian Independence Act of 1947, which provided the basis for the transfer of princely states to the dominions of India and Pakistan. India’s right to POJK rests on this legally executed accession.

Territorial Integrity and National Sovereignty: India’s commitment to its territorial integrity and sovereignty is a driving force behind its claim to POJK. The nation believes that the areas now occupied by Pakistan were acquired through the use of force and not in accordance with the will of the people or the legal provisions in place during the partition. India’s assertion is grounded in its belief that the territorial boundaries established at the time of independence should be respected.

Human Rights and Welfare :India has expressed concern over the human rights situation in POJK. It argues that the people living in this region should have the same rights and benefits as those in other parts of Jammu and Kashmir that are under Indian administration. This includes the right to democratic governance, freedom of speech, and protection of minority rights, which India believes have been undermined. India often asserts that the people of Jammu and Kashmir, including those in POJK, should have the right to determine their own future through democratic processes. India’s goal is to establish democratic governance and provide the people with the opportunity to participate in their own governance. It argues that the status quo in POJK does not adequately fulfill the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

POJK’s Strategic and Geopolitical Considerations: The geographical location of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes POJK, holds significant strategic importance. It is situated in the Himalayan region and shares borders with China. India’s interest in regaining control over the entire territory is driven, in part, by strategic and geopolitical considerations.

It is crucial to note that the people of Jammu and Kashmir, including those in POJK, are central to any resolution of the dispute. Their voices, aspirations, and concerns must be considered in any future political arrangement. And therefore, the prerequisite for this needs POJK to be reclaimed to give overall justice to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Tourism and Travel Management, Central University of Jammu