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Through the Glass Darkly

S.S. Boleria

Edited by Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Bushra Asif, and Cyrus Samii
Lynne Rienner Publishers, Colorado, USA, 2006, pp. 292, price not stated.

By Navnita Chadha Behera
Brookings Institution Press, Washington, 2006, price not stated.

VOLUME XXXI NUMBER 10 October 2007

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been a constant source of friction between India and Pakistan right since 1947. Both countries have since then fought three wars in 1947-48, 1965 and 1971. In addition, Pakistan has carried out a proxy war against India, through terrorism and insurgency since 1989; as well as the Kargil misadventure during May-July 1999. In the past few years several books on the Kashmir issue have appeared in the market, the recent additions being the two under review. However, before proceeding further with an assessment of these publications it will be worthwhile to briefly recapitulate the background of this vexed issue.   Right from the day of creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, the Pakistani rulers, encouraged by the British representatives and officers in India as well as its ruling establishment in London, had set eyes on the absorption, control and in extreme eventuality forcible occupation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Their plans were put into operation right from August 12, 1947 when Pakistan signed a Stand Still Agreement with the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. Over the next year and a half the Pakistani establishment, actively assisted by the British officers commanding Gilgit Scouts, first successfully took control of Gilgit and areas north of it without even firing a single shot. The tribals who first created communal problems on the western borders of the state and then launched a regular invasion of the Valley on October 21/22, 1947 were trained, equipped and encouraged by the Pakistani army headed by senior British military officers and helped by the British Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province. That Pakistan was able to occupy and keep for itself almost 37 percent of the 2, 22,236 square kilometers territory of the state is not only a testimony to the designs of Pakistan’s rulers but also a sad reflection on the inadequate response, lack of focussed retaliation and determination to deal with the adversary on the part of the Indian establishment. The Indian leadership was not only dependent almost entirely on the senior British functionaries in India, including the military commanders, for planning and conduct of the operations against Pakistan but it also did not listen to the advice and pleas of senior Indian military officers. The Indian government also failed to realize the strategic importance of the Northern Areas as is clear from the fact that during the entire fourteen months of conflict, no serious effort was made to remove ...

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