Kashmir Politics

Kashmir at the United Nations

On 1 January 1948, India formally referred the case of Pakistani aggression in Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter. Kashmir at U.N.This move was directed towards protecting India's territorial integrity. Initially, Pakistan denied that its troops were present on the soil of Kashmir but when a 3-member UN delegation (subsequent to the UN Security Council resolution dated 20 January 1948) visited the actual scene of fighting, the Pakistan government admitted the presence of its troops. Consequently, the UN included the Kashmir issue on its agenda. On 5 February 1948, the UN resolution interalia called for an immediate ceasefire and a plebiscite to decide the future of the state. By 21 April 1948, the UN among other issues, increased the number of members of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) from 3 to 5 and recommended to the governments of India and Pakistan interalia for (1) the withdrawal of all tribesmen and Pakistanis, (2) the reduction of force levels by India on restoration of normalcy, (3) the appointment of a plebiscite administration by India and (4) the appointment of a plebiscite administrator by the UN Secretary General. On 13 August 1948, the UN adopted another resolution interalia calling for (1) a ceasefire, (2) Pakistan to withdraw the tribals and to put its troops under the command of local civilian authorities, (3) India to withdraw bulk of its troops, (4) the UN observers to supervise the ceasefire and (5) the holding of the plebiscite. The resolution was followed up on 11 December 1948 with the appointment of a plebiscite administrator. On 5 January 1949, the two earlier resolutions were amalgamated into a single resolution that reiterated the earlier proposals.

(a) On 22 March 1949, Admiral Chester Nimitz of the US Navy was appointed by the UN to ensure the implementation of the 13 August 1948 resolution through arbitration. The mission failed.

(b) Following this, General Macnanghton of Canada, the then UN President, was authorised by the Security Council to informally seek a mutually satisfactory solution. His proposals for the demilitarisation were unacceptable to India and Pakistan. Hence, on 14 March 1950, the UNCIP was dissolved and Sir Owen, a judge from Australia was appointed as the UN representative to seek the UN objective of demilitarisation. He suggested two plans including the division of the state. The government of India rejected both the proposals as these provided for the establishment of an UN authority in the state.

(c) Thereafter, Dr. Frank Graham was appointed as the UN representative by a UN resolution (30 March 1951) to bring about demilitarisation. Five rounds of discussions followed (Sept. 1951 - Feb. 1953). Dr. Graham had suggested the reduction of Pakistani troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashimr (PoK) to 6000 and that of the Indian troops to 21000 in J&K. The proposal fell through because of opposition from Pakistan.

(d) The UN later authorised Gunnar Jarring, the then UN President, to visit India and Pakistan to seek demilitarisation. He visited India and Pakistan (14 March - 11 April 1957). He later reported the failure of the visit to the UN, appreciating that Pakistan's joining SEATO and the Bagdad Pact had compelled India to shift her stand on Kashmir.