First Indo-Pakistani War

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Map of Kashmir

The First Indo-Pakistani War , also known as the First Kashmir War , was the first armed conflict between the South Asian states of India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region , which was claimed by both sides and which formally formed an independent state after the partition of India . It began in October 1947 with the penetration of Pashtun militants into the formally independent state of Kashmir and ended in January 1949 with the de facto division of Kashmir into an Indian and a Pakistani-administered part.


The princely state of Kashmir, ruled by a Hindu ruling family, but predominantly Muslim , was able to retain a semi-independent status during the British colonial period. After the independence of Pakistan and India on August 14 and 15, 1947, respectively, Kashmir became an independent state. The division of British India was governed by the Indian Independence Act . Article 2 (4) dissolved British sovereignty over the princely states with effect from August 15, 1947. The Act also recognized the right of states to decide whether to join India or Pakistan and their right to independence.

When the division of British India into a predominantly Hindu and a predominantly Muslim state became apparent, the princely states not directly subordinate to British colonial administration were given the option to choose whether to belong to one of the two states. Hari Singh , Maharaja of Kashmir, delayed his decision with the intention of achieving full independence after the division of the subcontinent into Pakistan and India. Due to the Muslim majority in Kashmir, Pakistan laid claim to the country, as did India, which based its claim on the secular philosophy of the independence movement under the leadership of the Congress Party . The secular movement Jammu and Kashmir National Conference under its charismatic leader Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah , which fought for greater integration of the Kashmiri people in the politics of the state, maintained close relations with the Congress Party. In addition, Jawaharlal Nehru , India's first Prime Minister from 1947, came from a wealthy Kashmiri Hindu family.

Outbreak of war

There was a Muslim revolution in the Poonch and Mirpur areas and on October 22nd, 1947, Pashtun tribal warriors under Pakistani command invaded Kashmir from the west without prior notice in order to force its attachment to Pakistan. The Maharaja's troops had little to counter the surprise attack, so that the way to the capital, Srinagar, was clear after brief battles. Parts of the predominantly Muslim army in Kashmir had defected to the enemy out of sympathy for the Pakistani irregulars. In the Punch Valley west of Srinagar, the autonomous Azad Kashmir ("Free Kashmir") was proclaimed on October 24th . The Maharaja released the previously imprisoned Sheikh Abdullah from captivity and sent him to India with a request for military assistance. India immediately complied with this request on condition that Kashmir was annexed. After the signing of the accession declaration, Indian troops intervened on October 27th in the conflict. The conflict developed into war between India and Pakistan, although neither side had made an open declaration of war.


Indian airborne troops occupied the capital Srinagar on October 27, prevented the imminent capture by pro-Pakistani units and pushed them back from the Kashmir Valley west into the Punch Valley. In Gilgit in northern Kashmir, the Maharaja's soldiers revolted and switched to Pakistan's side. They received support from Chitral , a princely state that Pakistan had joined.

In December, the Indian advance against Azad Kashmir stalled due to logistical difficulties. The Azad Kashmir units were able to regenerate; the front stabilized.

In the spring of 1948, India responded with a large-scale offensive that provoked the participation of regular Pakistani soldiers . Until then, Pakistan had only supported rioters and insurgents; it was not until May 1948 that it intervened directly on their side in the war, especially in the northern regions. In August an advance was made via Skardu and Kargil to Khalatse . From November the Indian army gained the upper hand on all fronts and with Operation Easy recaptured most of Ladakhs up to and including Kargil, where the offensive came to a standstill due to supply problems. In Operation Easy , tanks were used for the first time to capture the Zoji La Pass .

The war ended on January 1, 1949 with a ceasefire negotiated by the United Nations . The number of deaths is estimated at 5000 on the Pakistani and 3000 on the Indian side.


Kashmir lost its independence and has been de facto divided since the end of the war . The UN Ceasefire Line (later referred to as the Line of Control (LOC)) became the de facto border between India and Pakistan, but was never recognized as an official border by either side. Two thirds of Kashmir (including the central Kashmir Valley, the region around the second largest city Jammu and most of the Buddhist Ladakh) remained with India and since 1957 has formed the state of Jammu and Kashmir , which in 2019 was divided into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh .

A third of the area, consisting of today's Gilgit-Baltistan (from 1970 to 2009 under the designation northern areas ) and Azad Kashmir, was assigned to Pakistan. Both sides lay claim to the entire territory. The solution to the cashmere question is still pending. In 1949, the United Nations obliged both countries to hold a referendum on the future status of Kashmir, but this never took place (as of 2015). In addition, the UN mission UNMOGIP was set up to monitor the ceasefire along the Line of Control .

See also


  • Frey, Hans: The Indo-Pakistani conflict and its economic and social costs for Pakistan in the years 1958–1968. 1978
  • Brines, Russell: The Indo-Pakistani conflict. 1986

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Lamb, Alastair (1997), Incomplete partition: the genesis of the Kashmir dispute 1947-1948 , Roxford, ISBN 0-907129-08-0 .