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Kashmir in UN (1953-1957)

The valley of Kashmir has been the bone of contention between India and Pakistan from the times of the partition. Kashmir has strategic importance for both the countries that have fought three wars to secure hold over the disputed territory of Kashmir. But all these attempts resulted in further chaos and disharmony between them and also had bad consequences for the Kashmiri people. This issue remains intact because of the political deadlock in both countries and absence of a consensus for resolution. On November 1947, Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru informed the Indian Parliament that “when people of Kashmir are given a chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial body such as United Nations Organization (UNO)”. India approached the United Nations in order to resolve the issue but the world body failed to settle the issue according to the wishes of Kashmiri people.


This essay deals with the specific time period from 1953 to 1957 with special reference to the role of United Nation Security Council for seeking settlement of the issue. The United Nations since the inception of India and Pakistan has been dealing with the problem but it did not get success in resolving this matter. UN instead further complicated the issue by allowing the Kashmiri people in the proposed plebiscite to opt for Pakistan or India but if they wanted their separate homeland in which they can safeguard their interest, they could get independence state of their own. On different occasions the UN sent their representatives who came up with different proposals which were not accepted either India or Pakistan.


In 1953 the government of India and Pakistan agreed to appoint a plebiscite administrator by the end of April. Abdullah procrastinated confirmation of accession of Kashmir to India. In August 1953 Abdullah was dismissed and arrested. By that time Pakistan and United States of America had signed a mutual defense assistance agreement. Indian Prime Minister Nehru stated that he had concerns about the cold war alignment and that such an alliance was bound to affect the future course of Kashmir issue. In 1956 the state constituent assembly adopted the constitution for the state declaring it an integral part of the Indian Union. In January 1956 UN passed another resolution stating such action would not constitute a final disposition of the state. Kashmiri activists continued to insist on the promised self determination.


Pakistan raised this issue at the UN Security Council and the day after, the UNSC passed a resolution which reiterated the earlier UN resolution on Kashmir issue that called for a final settlement of the issue in accordance the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the UN.


The Kashmir issue has shaped and reshaped the foreign policy of both India and Pakistan. Pakistan`s foreign policy especially towards USA further deteriorated the Kashmir issue because Pakistan singed treaties with US namely SEATO and CENTO in 1953-4. Indian Prime Minister exploited the situation and he invited Khrushchev the soviet leader in which the soviets became convinced that Kashmir is one of the states of Bharat and later on soviet used the Veto on Kashmir that remained the permanent feature of the soviet policy. No substantial role later on could be played by United Nations to get the resolution demanding plebiscite implemented due to the power politics and the international body mostly has remained ineffective on Kashmir.


In 1957, the Kashmir issue was brought into the United Nations Security Council after few years due to the efforts of the foreign Minister of Pakistan. At that time the president of UN council was Gunar Jarring who was of view that Council is examining the view point of the both countries in order to resolve problem. Mr. Jarring visited India and Pakistan and discussed with the leadership of both countries. Finally, a report was drafted by him in whom he gave different recommendations which were not acceptable to both India and Pakistan. On the failure of this mission another man was appointed by UN namely Dr Frank Grahm and he came up with the proposal that was turned down.


To conclude, The United Nation’s proposals, suggestions, and recommendations to India and Pakistan could not be materialized. The Kashmir issue still remains a problem to be resolved. It affects the foreign policy of the regional Powers as both countries are not willing to give up their stance regarding the issue. The UNO has failed to bring about any change in the destiny of the Kashmiri people upon which rests the fate of the billions of inhabitants of South Asia.

About Ali Tariq

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