The Reasoned Review

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Frontline makes a compelling case for Kashmiri independence:

Despite its accession to India, the idea of independence for Kashmir was freely aired by Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru, N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, and others, as noted earlier (Frontline, January 29, 2010). The Sheikh could not have been unaware of this and made his own moves as a member of the Indian delegation to the Security Council, whose leader, Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, had publicly recognised the possibility of independence.

On January 28, 1948, in New York, Abdullah met the United States representative to the United Nations, Warren Austin. “His whole attitude and approach being obviously to seek U.S. support for Indian viewpoint,” Austin reported, adding: “It is possible that principal purpose of Abdullah’s visit was to make clear to U.S. that there is a third alternative, namely, independence. He seemed overly anxious to get this point across, and made quite a long and impassioned statement on subject. He said in effect that whether Kashmir went to Pakistan or India the other Dominion would always be against solution. Kashmir would thus be a bone of contention. It is a rich country. He did not want his people torn by dissension between Pakistan and India. It would be much better if Kashmir were independent and could seek American and British aid for development of country. I, of course, gave Abdullah no encouragement on this line and I am confident when he left he understood very well where we stand on this whole matter.” However, the leader of the so-called “Azad Kashmir” government, Sardar Ibrahim, “emphatically said Kashmir could not remain independent” (Foreign Relations of the United States: South Asia, 1948, Volume 5; pages 292-293).

In New Delhi on February 21, 1948, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, Patrick Gordon-Walker, had extensive talks with Nehru as well as the Sheikh. The record bears quotation in extenso: “7. At this point Nehru fetched in Sheikh Abdullah and said he would leave us to this together. Just before Nehru left Sheikh Abdullah said he thought the solution was that Kashmir should accede to both Dominions. I had not time to get him to develop this idea before Nehru left the room, but questioned him afterwards. He said Kashmir’s trade was with India, that India was progressive and that Nehru was an Indian. On the other hand Kashmir’s trade passed through Pakistan and a hostile Pakistan would be a constant danger. The solution therefore was that Kashmir should have its autonomy jointly guaranteed by India and Pakistan and it would delegate its foreign policy and defence in them both jointly but would look after its own internal affairs. The two Dominions share a common interest in Kashmir and it would agree to unite and link them.

“I asked whether Nehru would agree to this solution and he said he thought so. He did discuss it with him. I will ask Nehru about this, this morning, when I see him and shall hope to add a paragraph to the end of this telegram. Sheikh Abdullah had no idea whether Pakistan would agree to this solution, but he said it would avoid a plebiscite which he did not really want. He thought India would win but the vote would be close, perhaps 60 to 40, and either way the minority would be so large that it would never really accept the verdict. If Pakistan lost, there would be constant trouble and no peace for Kashmir. The Muslim Conference would accept a joint accession and he could carry his own party.


Written by pavanvan

February 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , , ,

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