History of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)

Was Kashmir an independent nation?

  • The first formal document of Kashmir came out through Kalhana’s Rajatarangini. Both Hindus and Muslims had ruled Kashmir time to time before independence.
  • Kashmir, and adjacent areas like Gilgit, Jammu, and Ladakh – were part of the different empires at different times. Over the years, this area was under the control of Hindu rulers, Muslim emperors, Sikhs, Afghans, and Britishers.
  • During the period before AD 1000, Kashmir was an important center of Buddhism and Hinduism. Many dynasties like Gonanditya, Karkota, Lohara ruled Kashmir and surrounding areas of North-western India.
  • The Hindu dynasty rule which extended until 1339 was replaced by the Muslim rule by Shah Mir who became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Shah Mir dynasty. A few centuries later, the last independent ruler Yusuf Shah Chak was deposed by the Mugul emperor Akbar the Great.
  • Akbar conquered Kashmir in 1587, making it part of the Mughal Empire. Subsequently, the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb expanded the empire further.
  • Thus, it can be seen that under the Mughal rule, which extended nearly all of the Indian subcontinent, Kashmir was an integral part of India – however, not an independent nation.


  • Aurangzeb’s successors were weak rulers. Later Mughals failed to retain Kashmir. After Mughal rule, it passed to Afghan, Sikh, and Dogra rule.
  • In 1752, Kashmir was seized by the Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Abdali. The Afghan Durrani Empire ruled Kasmir from the 1750s until 1819 when Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir and ended the Muslim rule.
  • By the early 19th century, Sikhs under Maharaja Renjith Singh took control of Kashmir.
  • After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the British Empire set its sight on the Sikh territories.
  • In the ensuing battle, Gulab Singh (a Dogra General in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s service who was rewarded as king of Jammu by Ranjit Singh) sided with the British.
  • The resultant defeat of the Sikhs resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Amritsar on March 16, 1846.
  • In accordance with the Treaty, Kashmir was handed over to Gulab Singh for a sum of ₹75 lakh in return for his acceptance of British suzerainty . Since then Kashmir was ruled by the Dogra Dynasty.
  • Ranbir Singh came to power after the death of Gulab Singh in 1857.
  • Hari Singh took the charge of state in 1925. He was the king of Kashmir when the treaty was signed with India.


  • Jammu and Kashmir was the largest princely state in 1947. Despite having nearly 77 per cent Muslim population, it was ruled by a Hindu king, Maharaja Hari Singh.
  • The state was known for pluralism and a culturally diverse society. There were five main regions:
    • Province of Jammu, a Hindu dominated, largely plain area or low hills, bordering Punjab.
    • To the north of Jammu, the Sunni Muslims dominated the Kashmir valley with a significant population of Hindu Kashmiri Pandits. The valley was one of the most beautiful parts of India with large number of tourists visiting in summer. There was substantial Sikh presence in both Jammu province and Kashmir valley.
    • To the east of the valley, the hilly area of Ladakh was predominantly Buddhist with a slight presence of Shia Muslims. It shared borders with Tibet.
    • The last two are the regions of Gilgit and Baltistan. These two regions were very thinly populated with mostly Shia Muslims. Gilgit and Baltistan shared borders with Afghanistan and Sinkiang province of China. It was also very close to the former Soviet Union. The geo-political location of the state of Jammu and Kashmir made it very crucial strategically.
Militancy in Jammu and Kashmir

Instrument of Accession and Referendum

  • On August 15, 1947, fearing forced accession to India on one hand and communal backlash (due to dominance of Muslims) from Pakistan on the other, Maharaja Hari Singh did not accede to either India or Pakistan. He hoped for an independent, sovereign and completely neutral state. Sheikh Abdullah consistently refuted the two-nation theory and he was perceived as a custodian of secularism in Kashmir. Hari Singh offered to sign a ‘stand-still agreement’ with both countries which would allow free movement of people and goods across borders. Pakistan signed the agreement, but India said it would wait and watch.
  • But relationship with Pakistan deteriorated soon when Pakistan suspended rail services between Sialkot and Jammu in September 1947. In October 1947, while Sheikh Abdullah was leading a widespread agitation for complete transfer of power to the people of Kashmir, several Pathan tribesmen with the help of Pakistan Army invaded Kashmir.
  • The Maharaja asked Nehru for military help. Initially Nehru did not support accession without ascertaining the will of the people. But Mountbatten insisted that under international law, troops could be sent to Kashmir only after the state’s formal accession to India. Sheikh Abdullah and Sardar Patel too insisted on accession. Finally, on October 26, 1947, the Maharaja acceded to India by signing the Instrument of Accession and also agreed to appoint Abdullah as the head of the state’s administration.
  • As per this Instrument of Accession, except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Communications, the Indian Parliament needs the State Government’s concurrence for applying all other laws.
  • Even though both the National Conference and the Maharaja wanted firm and permanent accession, Nehru took a highly idealistic and controversial step by announcing that it would hold a referendum on the accession decision once peace and law and order had been restored in the Valley. This decision was taken to show India’s commitment to democracy and to honour Mountbatten’s advice. After the accession, the invaders were gradually driven out of the Valley by Indian troops except the area which is known as ‘Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK)’ in India and ‘Azad Kashmir’ in Pakistan.
Jammu and Kashmir signs the Instrument of Accession with India
Kashmir’s UN Connection
  • At this stage, Mountbatten suggested the Government of India to refer the Kashmir problem to the UN. Through the intervention of UN Security Council, India and Pakistan arrived at a ceasefire agreement on January 1, 1949. The Ceasefire Line established came to be known as the Line of Control (LOC).
  • In 1951, the UN passed a resolution providing for a referendum under UN supervision after Pakistan had withdrawn its troops from the part of Kashmir under its control. The resolution has remained infructuous till date since Pakistan has refused to withdraw its forces from PoK. Plebiscite in Kashmir never took place. A UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) still continues to supervise the ceasefire line and report the violation of ceasefire. It is only for the state of Jammu and Kashmir that the accession of the state to India is still a matter of dispute between India and Pakistan and is still on the agenda of the UN Security Council.
  • Since then, Kashmir has been the main obstacle in the path of friendly relations between India and Pakistan. India has regarded Kashmir’s accession as final and irrevocable and Kashmir as its integral part. Pakistan continues to deny this claim and tries to raise the issue on international platforms while India says that it is a bilateral issue.
Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir
  • The people of J&K then convened a Constituent Assembly in 1951, which once again reaffirmed the Accession of the State to India in 1956 and finalised the Constitution for the State.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Constitution reaffirms that “the State is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.”

Shimla Agreement,1972

  • Withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the northern areas, collectively referred to as Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by India—and its reintegration with the rest of J&K had been the primary objective of India during the initial phase of the conflict.
  • However, this objective slowly changed in a shift that became visible during and after the 1971 war with Pakistan. A Line of Control (LoC) was established after this war, and it is widely believed that during negotiations leading to the ‘Shimla Agreement’ (signed on July 2, 1972) that followed the war, India and Pakistan agreed to convert this line into a permanent border between the two countries. Ever since, India’s primary objective in the conflict of Kashmir has been to maintain the status quo and convert the LoC into an international border.

Militancy in Jammu and Kashmir

Beginning of Insurgency

  • After losing the initial battle in 1947 and the two main wars in 1965 and 1971, Pakistan resorted to the tactics of low intensity warfare as it realised that it could not win over India in a full scale direct war. It first supported the terrorist movement in Punjab and then started a separatist and militant insurgency in Kashmir in the late 1980s. This low-intensity war between the two countries continues even today in the name of Jihad. It is a perpetual cause of worry to India.
  • In 1987, a disputed state election acted as a catalyst for the insurgency when it resulted in some of the state’s legislative assembly members forming armed insurgent groups. In July 1988, a series of demonstrations, strikes and attacks took place. In 1989, a widespread popular and armed insurgency, supported tacitly from across the border, started which during the 1990s escalated into one of the most dangerous internal security issues in India.
  • It was the beginning of the Mujahideen insurgency, which continues to this day. The insurgency was largely started by Afghan Mujahadeen who entered the Kashmir valley following the end of the Soviet-Afghan war.
  • Initially, the already existing Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was used as part of this insurgency. It was created in 1964, reorganised in 1971 and was then used for the above purpose. The JKLF was the main insurgent Kashmiri group in the 1990s. Yasin Malik, a leader of the JKLF, was one of the Kashmiris to organise militancy in Kashmir. Its main demand was independence of Kashmir.
  • Since 1995, one faction of JKLF under the leadership of Yasin Malik has renounced the use of violence and calls for strictly peaceful methods to resolve the dispute. But many new terrorist organisations have been leading the violent activities in the valley, like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashker-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Badar, Harkatul-Ansar, Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (Huji). They infiltrated through the Line of Control. Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and the government of Pakistan directly supported, funded and provided training, weapons, etc. to these terrorist organisations. This could be a well-planned ISI move to replicate the Punjab militancy model.
  • These terrorist groups succeeded in ethnic cleansing of Kashmir by forcing nearly four lakh Kashmiri Pandits to flee the valley. Their properties and land were seized resulting in an acute demographic change in the Valley. The displaced Pandits, many of whom continue to live in temporary refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi, are still unable to return safely to their homeland. The government’s inability to protect them has been one of the stark failures of successive governments.
  • On the other hand, many human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) regularly accuse Indian armed forces for human rights violations like ‘extra-judicial executions’, ‘disappearances’, torture and suppression of freedom of speech, etc. in Kashmir.
militancy in jammu and kashmir upsc

Present Status

  • The elections held in 2008 were generally regarded as fair by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They had a high voter turnout in spite of calls by militants for a boycott, and led to the pro-India Jammu and Kashmir National Conference forming the government in the state.
  • The high voter turnout was seen as a sign that the people of Kashmir wanted peace and harmony. There has been a change of strategy by the ISI in Kashmir in the last 4-5 years.
  • Crowd mobilisation has been used as a tactic to defame Indian security forces and to internationalise the Kashmir issue. Stone pelting has become a routine feature of street protesters in Srinagar since the summer of 2008 when Amarnath land transfer became a hot issue for widespread agitation in the valley.
  • Kashmiri teenagers have been involved in stone-pelting. There have been protest movements in Kashmir since 1989. Even a small incident is exaggerated by separatists for gaining political mileage. There was an increase in these incidents after Afzal Guru, the prime accused in the Parliament attack was hanged to death in Delhi in February 2013. The encounter of Burhan Wani in 2016 further worsened the situation in Kashmir and this also led to increase in radicalization among youths of the valley.
  • The security situation has deteriorated over last five years which is evident from the table below.
YearIncidentsSFs killedCivilians killedTerrorists killed;
(Source: MHA)

What is Low Intensity War and Why was it Adopted by ISI?

Low intensity war is a long and protracted strategy to achieve a desired result, which cannot be achieved through direct war. It can be in the form of:

  • Armed Revolt
  • Guerrilla Warfare
  • Political Revolution
  • National War of Independence

Modus Operandi of the Proxy War in J&K

  • To run a malicious campaign from Pakistan and PoK to mar India’s image in print and electronic media
  • To facilitate infiltration of terrorists from across the border and keep Indian security forces constantly engaged in fighting terrorists
  • To attack the secular foundation of the state and support fundamentalist Islamic activities and ensure exodus of Hindus from the Valley
  • To Internationalise the Kashmir issue at every forum and paint India as persecutor of Muslims
  • To increase terrorist activities in Muslim dominated districts of Jammu region
  • To change the low intensity war to high intensity war at an appropriate time and term it as war of independence

Civil Unrest in Kashmir, July, 2016

  • Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen whose social media campaign had an outreach among a section of Kashmiri Muslim youth. He was killed in an encounter with the security forces on July 8, 2016.
  • An estimated crowd of 2,00,000 people came to mourn Burhan at his funeral on July 9, described as the largest ever gathering by reporters. Militants were also present at his funeral.
  • After the news of his death spread, violent protests erupted in some areas of Kashmir Valley. Separatist leaders have called for shutdown in Kashmir which has been repeatedly extended. Police stations and security forces have been attacked by mobs. Stone pelting was reported from many parts in Kashmir including upon transit camps of Kashmiri Pandits. Internet services along with train services were suspended and the national highway has been closed. The Amarnath pilgrimage has been repeatedly resumed and suspended due to the unrest. Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit employees fled the transit camps during night time on July 12 due to the constant attacks by protesters on the camps. The house where Burhan was killed was set ablaze by a mob on suspicion that its residents had tipped-off the security forces about Burhan. Curfew was imposed in all districts of Kashmir on July 15 and mobile phone networks were suspended. By July 16, 43 people died and over 3,100 people including a number of security personnel were injured in the protests in Kashmir.
  • On July 12, Nawaz Sharif in a statement expressed “shock” over the killing of Burhan Wani which was criticised by the Indian government. Sharif called Wani a “martyr” on July 15. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs in response criticised Pakistan for “glorifying” terrorists belonging to proscribed terrorist organisations. PM Narendra Modi criticised the media alleging it was portraying the slain Wani as a “hero”. The situation is returning quickly to normalcy.
  • This is highly tragic that terrorism in Kashmir has now taken such deep roots. It’s a cause of serious concern for the Indian Government and security forces. Glorifying terrorism and such level of mass support call for a deep introspection by the Government of India. Time has come that the Centre does rethinking on its Kashmir strategy.
Operation All-Out
  • It is an Anti-Militancy Operation, launched in J&K on July 2017 to flush out terrorists. Its long term plan is to establish peace in the valley and as many as 258 terrorists from various terror outfits like Lashkar, Jaish, Hizbul and Al-Badr have been short-listed for operation All-OUT.
  • Intelligence Agencies carried out a secret district wise survey to identify militant hideouts and prime locations of terrorist activities were mapped well before the exercise got a go-ahead.

Pulwama and Balakot: A Paradigm shift in strategy against Terrorism

  • On February 14, 2019, India witnessed one of the most deadliest suicide attacks wherein more than 40 CRPF soldiers lost their lives on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway.
  • The 78-vehicle convoy of CRPF was attacked by an explosive-laden SUV near Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
  • The suicide bombing by SUV was conducted by a 20-year-old suicide bomber named Adil Ahmad Dar with links to terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Which later claimed the responsibility of the attack. The Pathankot Airbase attack in 2016 was also conducted by this terror outfit.
  • The pulwama attack led to a wide emotional upsurge in the citizens of the country.
  • In response to this attack on February 26, 2019, Indian Airforce with 12 Mirage 2000 fighter planes struck terrorist camps operating in Balakot and other locations destroying terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed and claimed lives of more than 300 terrorists who were being trained there. It was a non-military preemptive attack after Indian intelligence received information of more of suicide attacks by the terror outfit.
  • This is a paradigm shift in India’s strategy against terrorism. The strategy of counter attack at such a massive scale would bring a further fear in the mind of the terrorist organisations and would act as a deterrent which is the principle on which Israel has achieved great success in counter terrorism. After 20 years of Kandahar handing over of terrorists India has changed its image from a soft state to a state which can go to any extent in it’s fight against terrorism. Indian Air Force has entered Pakistani airspace first time since 1971 war.
  • The strategy of pre-emptive strike has proved its worth in case of Israel. For India, its the first time that it has been used, it is believed that it will certainly act as a deterrent. Till now India had been only busting sleeper cells and other modules of ISI backed terrorists or carrying out investigation post terrorist attacks and terrorist were taking advantage of this policy of India. They were also aware that Criminal justice system of India would offer them ample opportunities to defend themselves and escape the clutches of law.

Government of India’s Development-Oriented Programmes in Kashmir

Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for J&K-2015
  • The Prime Minister announced a package of ₹80,068 crore towards Special Assistance to J&K for development of infrastructure. The package consists of 63 projects relating to 15 ministries/departments. In the package, ₹62,393 crore has been earmarked for new initiatives/projects. This includes projects
    of road, power, new and renewable energy, tourism, health, education, water resources, sports, urban development, defence, textile sectors etc.
  • This includes allocation for opening two AIIMS like institutions in J&K, establishment of IIM and IIT at Jammu.
  • Under road sector, 105 km of roads under Bharat Mala Project, Zozila Tunnel, Kargil-Zanskar, Srinagar-Shupiyan-Quazigund, Jammu Akhnoor-Poonch roads, construction of semi-ring road in Jammu and Srinagar are proposed to be taken up.
  • Power sector projects include special assistance for infrastructural development of power distribution system in Jammu & Srinagar, tourist destinations, smart grids and smart meters, two solar pilot projects of 20 MW each in Leh and Kargil.
  • Provision has been made for development of urban infrastructure including smart cities, Swachh Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
  • In addition to allocation of ₹62,393 crore for new initiatives, ₹7,427 crore has been allocated for ongoing/ existing projects of Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP), 2004, ₹7,263 crore for projects to be undertaken within existing Budget line and ₹2,985 crore for Roads and Highways Projects under Public Private Partnership. Physical and financial progress of the projects under PMDP, 2015 is being regularly monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Project UDAAN
  • The project ‘UDAAN’, an initiative of the Prime Minister, the National Skills Development Corporation and the Ministry of Home Affairs and industry, was started with the aim of providing skills to 40,000 youth over a period of five years.
Appointment of Government of India Representative
  • Dineshwar Sharma, former Director, Intelligence Bureau, has been appointed (in October, 2017) as Representative of Government of India to initiate and carry forward a dialogue with elected representatives, various organisations and concerned individuals in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • He has been given the status of Cabinet Secretary to Government of India. He has made three visits to Jammu & Kashmir till December, 2017, to have discussion with various stakeholders.
Some of the other schemes are as follows:
  • Newly developed rail network to connect the Valley. ₹900 crore worth road infrastructure development programme in J&K on the lines of the Naxal-affected areas.
  • Special scholarship scheme for Jammu and Kashmir to encourage the youth to pursue higher studies outside their state. The total cost of the scheme will be ₹1,200 crore.
  • Project ‘Umeed’ for empowerment of women
  • Project ‘Himayat’ for capacity building and employment of youth
  • People-to-people contact with the rest of India through ‘Bharat Darshan’ programmes
    • Capital investment subsidy @ 15% of the total investment in plant and machinery subject to ceiling of ₹30 lakh. However, MSMEs would be eligible for capital investment subsidy @ 30% of the investment of plant and machinery subject to ceiling of ₹3 crore and ₹1.5 crore for manufacturing and service sector, respectively, to all new and existing industrial units on their substantial expansion.
    • 3% interest subsidy on the average of daily working capital loan to all new units for a period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial production.
    • Central Comprehensive Insurance Subsidy Scheme with100% reimbursement of premium to all new and existing units on their substantial expansion for a period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial production.
Present situation of Jammu and Kashmir
  • The Articles which provide special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir were revoked by presidential order. It abrogated the article 370 and 35A.
  • Now the Constitution of India is applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Reorganization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh without legislature.

Way Forward:

  • District Development Councils: After Jammu and Kashmir lost its statehood, the political focus in Kashmir shifted to District Development Councils (DDCs) and grassroots development. Kashmiris who have long had to deal with bureaucratic red-tape can find new hope with the elected local leaders who can ensure good governance and local development.
  • Social media: Social media has become a pivotal source of information— as well as misinformation and propaganda—in the time of new militancy. Although the government has used reactive tactics such as blanket bans, monitoring, censoring and reporting extremist profiles and content, it has been unable to deter the spread of extremist content through social media.
    • The state will still need to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology to discourage extremist content and should also find creative ways where Kashmiris can consume the narratives produced by the Indian state and army.
  • Technology: India can invest more in technologies such as UAVs or drone technology and deploy them in relatively peaceful areas. These technological tools can be used to conduct surveillance, maintain law and order, and also deter the use of drones by militants and militant supporters.
  • Education: In the long term, the state should start re-emphasising on education. A variety of historical distortions and unfamiliarity prevails in the educational curriculum of Kashmir and the rest of India. It is important to promote topics and themes that can be more relatable and applicable, such as constitutional remedies for people in conflict-affected regions.


  • Narratives play a vital role in bridging the ‘Us vs Them’ divide. Such divide between Kashmir and India has widened in the recent years, with the advent of ‘new militancy’ in Kashmir, on one hand, and on the other, state policies such as Operation All Out and the revocation of Kashmir’s special status.
  • The Indian state and the armed forces are therefore attempting to enhance their nation-building narrative by supplementing traditional missions that seek to win hearts and minds, with social-media initiatives.
  • Although these policies are intended to remove the emotional and psychological barriers that Kashmiris have erected for the Indian state, there is plenty of work that remains.
  • Kashmir continues to be alienated, and New Delhi must make use of the current absence of armed and violent conflict to strengthen its narrative-building efforts and bring the region closer to lasting peace

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