Kashmir: a history of division and dispute

New Delhi: A timeline of events in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, as tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan escalate over the territory:

– 1947-1949: Partition –
The partition of the South Asian subcontinent in August 1947 upon independence from British colonial rule leads to the foundation of the two nations of India, which has a Hindu majority, and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

In December India and Pakistan go to war over the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir, whose Hindu ruler decides to join secular India rather than Muslim Pakistan. The war ends with the region divided between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC), which neither side agrees is the official border.

– 1965: second India-Pakistan war –
In September 1965 a full-scale India-Pakistan war over Kashmir ends inconclusively after a ceasefire brokered by the Soviet Union.

Tensions rise again in December 1989 when a Muslim uprising breaks out against Indian rule in Indian Kashmir, inflaming tensions with Pakistan. New Delhi imposes direct rule.

From the mid-1990s the rebels are joined by foreign jihadists, mainly Arabs, Afghans and Pakistanis.

In a sign of the high stakes, in 1998 both India and Pakistan carry out tests of nuclear weapons, which both states now possess.

Then in April 1999 infiltrators from Pakistan raid Indian Kashmir’s Kargil sector, sparking a six-week conflict, leading to the deaths of 1,000 combatants on both sides. The battle ends under US pressure.

– 2001-2002: Renewed tensions –
A new series of attacks in 2001 and 2002 lead to a new mobilisation of Indian and Pakistani troops at the de-facto border.

In November 2003 Pakistan declares a unilateral ceasefire along the Line of Control, leading to an inconclusive peace process the following year.

– 2006-2008: “Terrorism” –
In July 2006 bomb blasts on commuter trains kill 174 people in India’s financial capital of Mumbai. Police blame pro-Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Then, in November 2008 a devastating attack by Islamic militants on Mumbai that leaves 166 people dead causes a new crisis in India-Pakistan relations.

– 2016: new upsurge in violence –
New outbursts of violence in Indian Kashmir have on several occasions hindered the fragile peace process. On September 18, 2016, the deadly assault on an army base in Kashmir near to the border kills 18 soldiers, in what is the worst rebel attack in the region for 15 years.

On September 27, India pulls out of a key regional summit planned for Pakistan in November, after accusing Pakistan-based militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad group of launching the attack.

On Thursday Indian commandos carry out a series of lightning strikes along the border with Pakistan in Kashmir, provoking furious charges of “naked aggression” from Pakistan.

Agence France-Presse