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Geostrategics mistakes wich were the origin of the conflict of Kashmir
3 means of reflections concerning the future of the conflict of Kashmir
The American new deal
The new energy stakes and its consequences for the conflict of Kashmir
Towards a fight of civilization or under a continental reconciliation?

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Geopolitics mistakes wich were the origin of the conflict of Kashmir:

The causes of the conflict of Kashmir were many, which you will be able to see at the end of this document - the access to the specific and better documented sites. This Web site proposes a thought of the particular topography of Kashmir and which were, at the time, the root of the conflict of Kashmir.

Geography is a means of knowledge which also takes into account the heights of the mountains, the lengths of rivers, etc. the social and economic situation of the time, so that it basically, meets a fundamental need which allows to act on the ground. Geography makes use of this information and it’s, more or less high degree of accuracy, enables the people to have an important advantage in a conflict. To behold the geographic keys is to have the base of geopolitics and the military strategy. The punishment of a geographical ignorance is inevitably war. The particular topography of Kashmir, extremely mountainous, had unevitable consequences on the problems of an already complicated partition.
At the time of the partition, the principal economic situation of Kashmir was forgotten because it was less necessary to seek the richness in its earth, rather than in the immense and unexpected richness that the mountains can offer - thus water was the forgotten element of the partition. By declaring that Kashmir was “the jugular vein of Pakistan” Jinnah underlined a geographic fact of considerable strategic importance. In these areas, water is not only “necessary” to life, it is “life itself” and this expression becomes very important especially at this latitude which is equal to the deserts of Baloutchistan, the Rajasthan and Takla makham, where the rainfall is even less than in the Sahara. The partition of 1947 deprived Pakistan of its river sources of Penjab of Jelhum, Chenab, the delighted one, Beas and Sutlej - rivers which gave birth to the name of the Penjab province. These five river, the sources are in Kashmir, are vital for the economy of the country. The Indus basin in which the majority of the Pakistani population lives, concentrates all the richness of the country and it is supplied by water of various rivers and their affluents. This richness, as well as the formidable icecap of the northern areas, comes from one and the same origin, Kashmir. Without speaking about the sacred character of the Indus river, to conquer these highlands, would allow Pakistan to control the whole Indus flow whose source can be found on the annexed Tibetain grounds of the Chinese ally.

The problem of the Kashmir is in his heart : the beautifulle and rich valley, the indian's Switzerland.

The speed by which the partition was set up as well as the geographical ignorance of North Kashmir at that time in the middle of the last century, probably was of great importance in the conflict of Kashmir which opposed India, China and Pakistan. On August 15, 1947, date of the partition, the geography was not better known than in 1937, when Shipton wrote his book “Blank on the map” the title describes the sorry character of these forgotten Arctic areas by humans. The layout of the borders between India and Pakistan, at the time of the partition, was decided upon by a special commission between the 21st and the 24th of July 1947 in only 11 days. These 11 days were not long enough for the commission to decide on the Kashmir borders, whose geography was, in many cases, always vague or even unknown. The considerable amount of information reported by the Survey of India, followed by explorations of Goldwin Austen, Conway of Baltoro, Shipton in the areas of Panmah, Shaksgam and Biafo, the Bullock couple in the areas of Hispar and Siachen, were all ignored. The first existance of Kashmir is the probable consequence of this ignorance.

In 1962, the area of Aksin Shin, remote aand backwards, was added to India for the same reasons. This negligent Indian strategy, which lead to the loss of their territory, because, at first sight, it seemed without economic value, will have serious consequences to the conflict of Kashmir especially regarding the credibility of the Indian military forces.The origin of the second Pakistani Indo war and the acceleration of the nuclearisation of the conflict of Kashmir. Lastly, during the crisis of Kargil in 1999, India had much trouble to get rid of the Pakistani forces as well as the infiltrated Kashmiries, because, with their excellent knowledge of their homeland and good resistance to altitude, they held an advantage over the Indian military. These exemples particulary show up to what point geographic knowledge is of major importance when war is at stake.This had unquestionable consequences on the conflict of Kashmir especially in this part of the world where ground is very difficult.

Geographers in Kashmir

Geographical science, when shared with the art of war, is in the interest to control territory. The obvious link between geography and war is the cartography. Already in the 19th century, the British Raj, wanting to affirm his domination in Asia, trusted the British officers who travelled the remote mountains and back are as of the north, with the cartography of the Indian sub continent and its borders. They were long, difficult and perilous missions. Sir Godwin Austen, as well as George Everest were Survey Officers of India. They devoted their lives to writing pages of figures, going through cold and inhospitable places, sometimes disguised as natives, sometimes illness took over, but they always continued to add their contribution to this enormous task, the establishment of a detailed chart of the sub continent. From the south of India in 1808, the great Survey Officers progressed step by step. The Everest (Peak XV) was only identified in 1848 and K2 in 1856, after half a century of exploration.

G. Hayward

In the 19th centuary, all of the sheltered kingdoms of the Himalayas were prohibited, for eg, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim as well as Kashmir. One can measure the exclusiveness of these regions and the difficulty of going through their mysteries by reading “Voyage in Tibet” written by Alexandra David Neel and also “Annapurna, first 8000” where Herzog was the first one of the Westerners to open the doors of Kathmandu in 1950. The high, remote back valley of Kashmir, which have a more septtentrional climate than the Himalayas in the South and are closed by snow during the winter, are separated by unclimable mountains. They sheltered various populations who lead a self-sufficient life and were not very open to dialogues. The rulers and the kings of these high valleys made war from one valley to another. The tradition of armed robbery damaged their reputation and brought misfortune to the travellers who went to these high valleys. Karakorum meant “ the black mountains”, which refers less to their colour than to the danger of the paths that the merchants of the silk road were obliged to use. These rulers and heads of tribes kept and strongly protected geographical information which had come into their valleys. The geographicers were then compared to spies. George Hayward, explorer and geographer, paid with his life for his curiosity. He was assassinated in 1870 in Darkot by mir it Walli who worried about the disclosure of the cartography of his valley. These mirs still reigned as masters of their valleys in 1947, at the time of the partition, the country was still completely closed in. These difficulties made good geographic knowledge impossible regarding these highlands and consequently the good partition of Kashmir of 1945, was wrong.

Alexandra David Neel

It is difficult to find precise maps of the Kashmir area, they are held by the major states of the armies for obvious strategic reasons. It is still the case in all the massives of the Himalayas. It is curios to note that cartography can be used as a propaganda media, which makes it very political. It is enough to consult several maps of the Indian sub continent to notice that at what point the borders of the 3 countries in Kashmir are changing. Recently, to please the 3 opponents, the World Bank “disadvised” its cartographic Service not to produce maps of the Indian peninsula which could be too precise and show the Kashmir area. Another example, the official altitude of K2 of 8611m was questioned in 1976 by a Pakistani expedition which recalculated its altitude up to 8760m. Another expedition, American this time, recalculated its altitude with the help of a satellite to 8858m, i.i. higher than Everest. For the highest mountain top not to be in Nepal any more (a country politivcally dominated by India) but in Pakistan has obvious political repercussions (the altitude of K2 was later recalculated by Italians and was closer to that of origin). Recently, India opened for expeditions, the powerful tops of the eastern Karakorum, even tough there are violent arguments about this. Expeditions must obligatorily be composed of the Indian army. To conquer the tops, and to make false altitudes in order to represent political borders without definition, are sometimes necessary excercises and part of a means to obtain political goals. The war that the 3 opponents delivered in Kashmir is also part of this manipulation and we may suggest that the territory is also part of a psychological war.

The real dispute about Siachen territory really started when India worried about the climbing permits granted to the mountaineers by the Pakistani authorities, in the region that was not yet clearly defined in the 1980 maps. India saw a means to expand and started to train its picked groups of soldiers in the 80ties in the arctic, having their men go through hardships and extreme conditions, hardships based on cold weather conditions (this is still the case today as part of the Indian manoeuvres will take place jointly with their US partners in Alaska). After the Indian invasion of the Siachen glacier, Pakistan precisely calls this as " cartographic aggression " coming from India, indirectly pointing out the importance of cartographic gaps of these remote areas and the consequences of a never-ending conflict of Kashmir. Now it is necessary for the bellingent to defend the nation up to the far territories of its ice.

An extraordinary event was that in 1947 or 1949 none of the governments nor the superior officers who set up and co-signed the line of control (LOC) on the topographic maps, thought it necessary to go as far as the Chinese border. Did they have the geographical knowledge of these remote areas to be able to decide and trace some kind of a border? Probably not. The written agreement only states that after the NJ9842 point, the line goes as "far as the north up to glaciers". This huge inaccuracy leads to the dispute of the two countries who intend to become owners of this area, 35 yrs later, the Siachen glacier in 1984.

The Siachen war started precisely where the geographical maps ended in the north of the NJ9842 point. India claimed its border as from the high mountains of Saltoro up to the top of Gasherbrun (8068m) by going through the strategic passes of Bilafond and Sia. The Siachen glacier is therefore Indian according to Delhi, based on a hydrographical argument: the Nubra river that flows downstream from Siachen and that irrigates Indian Ladakh, must belong to them up to its source. Pakistan, however, demands the border set up in 1949, which means, the one that separates the Siachen glacier into two, the upstream belonging to them by right.

Today, the new military technics of observation (in particular satellite observation, drones,…) and the reinforcement of communication means, improve the monitoring of the control line and stabilize the concerned forces. Invations, similar to those of 1962 and even 1999, are no longer possible, even more so because these extremely mountainous areas cannot be used as fast and significant openings. It only allows the infiltration of small groups of armed men whose terrorist activity in Kashmir is still currently more significant either – befor or after the winter, when the high passes are accessible after the melting of snow.

Not to know all about this mountainous area was probably one of the many causes of the conflict of Kashmir. Perhaps the enclosure and the very mountainous topography of this part of the world will, in the future, avoid some misunderstandings. Today, in a conflict context, geographical information refering to Kashmir is kept secret defense. Certain territories, like the glacier of Siachen, the solid mass of Kailash or Aksin Chin, remain of very difficult access, they are isolated by mines and the control line remains solid. They are much more accessible to a satellite exploration than to a human exploration, it is always “Blank on the Map”.

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Two means of reflections concerning the future of the conflict of Kashmir :

He would be quiete a wise man, the one who could predict the future of a conflict of Kashmir which remained blocked for half a century. However, the recent international events cannot be without consequences on the conflict and leave some traces of reflection for the future of the conflict of Kashmir and geopolitics. Hereafter are some assumptions:

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Conflict of Kashmir : The American new deal :

P. Moucharraf et G.W. Bush

September 11th is a fateful date for the geostrategic Middle-East and therefore for the war. Afghanistan is occupied by the coalition troops, the United States reinforces their agreement with Pakistan which was originally set up ever since the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Vis a vis the American pressures, Pakistan made the difficult choice to betray the old Taliban allies to help the United States fight terrorisme. The reinforcement of the American diplomatic influence of the Middle East and particulary in Pakistan, changes all.The legal bases of Pakistan politics, whose initial idea was the foundation and defense of the Moslem world against communisme, the construction of a Moslem community to counter the Indian hegemony in Asia (always keeping in mind, a possible retrieval towards the east if ever India attacks) make it hard to represent the Indian neighbour as unworthy and the conquest of Kashmir, impossible.The Pakistani army operates a radical change of behaviour and refuses its support policy to the Afghan Dijhad Mouvement. It also makes the courageous but perilous choice to fight terrorisme with the countries of the coalition. The cause of the Dijhad being lost, Pakistan could be tempted to try to reconquer the support of the Islamic militants by supporting their terrorisme in Kashmir, this is very important for President Mousharraf because he risks losing the control of the separatis chachemerian mouvements or might loose the support of the Pakistani population if the Kashmir cause, based on national unity, becomes forgotten. There still remain some 3000 separists cachemerian militants armed in Indian territory. Deprived of logistical support, this could be tried as a last resort, a suicide mission or by an increase of the attacks against Indian interests of Kashmir or even directly against President Musharraf himself – as was the case in the beginning of 2004.

Furthermore, Pakistan cannot do without the United States who back up a State, close to economic bankruptcy. After the support for the anti-terrorist coalition, President Mousharraf obtained the disappearing of all the American sanctions (which pulled down the economy of the country since the nineties – this occured because of support given to the sectarian policy of the Afghan Taliban and also because of its nuclear policy) Facing the diplomatic revival with the United States and thanks to the economic preassures, Pakistan should really give up supporting the separist Cachmiri mouvement because of the fight against international terrorisme. As it is, the position of Perves Mousharrad has never been so delicate.

The war of the United States against terrorisme is an advantage to India who, for a long time, accused Pakistan to be the principal addition to the independent Kashmiri terrorists. In this way, the Indian leading class could also try to go for a strategic alliance with the United States even though they still openly doubt the goodwill of Pakistan to make an end to Kashmir terrorism. (see the declaration of the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee - “Pakistan cannot fight terrorisme in Afghanistan and encourage it in Kashmir”)

Moreover, the Indo – American relationships were reinforced in order to balance the relashionship with China, of whom the economic emancipation is well known and which are threatening the Indian interests. As far as the Chinese were concerned, the conflicted relations with its Indian enemy became more supple after September 11th. India and China already shared the same fear, for a long time, the Moslem extremisme, with Kashmir in India and Xian Yang in China and these are fears, that September 11 has once again brought alive. This recent agreement between India and China did not please Pakistan for whom China represents the first allied pakistani cause with Kashmir.

Furthermore, China seems to have accepted the reality of the Indian power in Asia and seems to have put distances between Pakistan since the end of the cold war and especially since the renewal of the Pakistani-American relations. Pakistan finds itself, from now on, receiving lots of applause from India, Afghanistan but a little less from China. Ever since April 2003, the relations between India and Pakistan remained rigid in spite of an extended hand proposed by Prime Minister Behari Vajpayee towards them. However, these two countries have, ironically, the same ally, the United States. The new American diplomatic relations with the two opponents make the United States seem the new mediator of the war and could make it possible to organize a debate on an international level – what is exactly what India refused since 1971. The end of the conflict seems to depend, more and more, on the American diplomatic position as well as many other areas in the world.

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The new energy stakes and its consequences for geopolitics and the conflict of Kashmir :

Already, after the Soviet failure in Afghanistan in the 80ties, the end of the cold war and the renewed independence of the central Asian Republics, the US decided that the Taliban Movement was worth associating with in Afghanistan - supporting, according to the necessary political stability, the construction of a gaz pipe line between Turkmenistan, Pakistan and south Asia (through the UNOCAL company). It's at that time that Kashmir began to feel the after effects of the Taliban politics on Afghan territories, a politic, as one knows, that was supported by Pakistan and the US.

But it's probably China's waking up and its energy greed that weighed heavily on the war. For the Chinese the energy stakes are already enormous. In 2012, China will have doubled its needs for oil. In 2030, it will probably be the first economic power of the world (in front of the US) and first or second world consumer of oil, however, two thirds of its reserves are in the Arabic peninsulas (therefore, the US interest for the Iraq oil fields - the economic future of the Americans is being build up today).

It's in the Chinese province of Xinjiang (which means "New Border" in Chinese) that fields of fossil energy seem to be the most promising in China: the oil fields, on one hand, (discovered in the Tarim basin to Dushanzi, Karamai, Korla and Urumtzi) and on the other hand, the coal reserves (the Taklamakan mines). The growth of China will provoke an unknown tension on the world market of fossil energy, for oil but also for coal which covers right now two thirds of the Chinese needs. So, the Chinese development might well transform the Xinjiang province into a new Far West.

Facing these new world stakes of energy, China, a big consumer, must in years to come, diversify but also secure its source of energy stocks. Seeing the problems that the US have to pacify the future regions of oil producers (Iraq, central Asia, Soaudi Arabia - still undamaged but for how long?) the protected areas of production, the distribution of oil and the coal pits of Xinjiang, could represent an interesting alternative for the near future.

The stake of natural oil is different. China holds 5% of the natural world reserves of oil. Russia at least a third, and certainly more with the new reserves discovered in Siberia. Naturally, Moskau negotiates its oil with Beijing. If the agreements are signed, two pipelines will supply China from the north-east, as from Irkoutsk and Komosomlosk. Future economic partners like China and Russia would like to be counter weights to the American interests in central Asia, which could be a major reason for reconciliation of these two countries in future years. The coming together of economic interests between China and Russia, even a future cordial agreement will not be without consequences on the geopolitical scale of central Asia.

The strategic importance of the Xinjiang province therefore becomes more and more important for China and the world. To have more control, China promotes massive immigration (like in Tibet) towards this deserted territory non-regarding the authochtonal population, the Uigours who are strapped in front of the Hans, now a majority. In this way, China protects its future by defending its economic interests and by controlling efficiently the crowds. What will be the Indian responses to this new weight of Chinese politics in Asia?
Under these circumstances, one can understand better the vital geostrategics aspect represented by some 37500m2 of the deserted platform of Aksai Chin, the Soda and Lingzi Chin platforms on which the road from Lhassa to Kashgar was built, major and vital for China to link the administrative west provinces of China to the far away and precious Xinjiang. One can hardly see how China hopes to negotiate with India concerning these territories, something China refused to do in the past anyway. One might also wonder if the awakening of China could bring forth a democratic process, in this country of dictatorship known for its uncompromising attitude concerning the limits of its enormous territory.

Towards a fight of civilization or under a continental reconciliation ?


To try to predict what kind of world we entered after the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, American professor Samuel Huntington, published in an article in 1993 and affirmed - “My assumption is that in this new world, the conflicts will not primarily originate within the ideology or the economy. The great causes of human separation and the principal sources of conflicts will be cultural. The National States will continue to play the first role in the international business but the principal political world conflicts will set nations and groups, belonging to different civilazations against each other. The shock of civilizations will dominate the world politics. The fractured lines between civilizations will be the lines who face the future.” According to huntinton, the Kashmir, which is in between civilizations, i.e. India, the East, the West and China, may have a big conflict in the future. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its religious foundamentalists, who are the guardians of this political stability, are naturally opposed to India’s undenomminated regime and its multicultural attachment which represent the base of its union. The war is therefore, not only a territorial conflict but also a political ethnic conflict between a Moslem world, in an archaic way – opposed to India’s choice – the first democracy of the world whose values are fully recognized by the occident and guide its economic, political and cultural exchanges. They are definitely turned towards the future and progress. There is no doubt that the war is more and more a handicap for India whose economic strength and the democratic model are ready to grow in the world, which leaves hope for the solutions.

The Indian Express, the 30 th august 2005



Moreover, the disagreement between Pakistan and India, was from the beginning, a misunderstanding. Befor the partition, Pakistan was a concept, the dream of Ali Jhinna who had the intuition that Moslems of the sub-continent deserved their fatherland. The fight of anti-British independence was in the hope of creating two different groups – a theory based on only religious differences. But the roots of India and Pakistan merge in a sub-continental similarity. Pakistan is, just like India, a result from the regrouping of ethnic


groups of very diverse origins whose only political and spiritual bond, is the Islamic religion. When President Pervez Mousharraf supported the fall of the Talibans by the coalition, the demonstratrations supporting the Taliban, were of astonishing little strength. The Pakistani population, disappointed by the extremism of the Taliban, did finally, not seem to be inclined to defend Moslem sectarisme. The invasion of Afghanistan by the coalition which resulted in 23 years of failure of the pro Afghan policy, brought India and China closer and showed up the

economic weekness of Pakistan vis-a-vis India. A fact, that isolated Pakistan a little more and whose only security lies in its partnership with America, a way to get stronger.

Pakistan is an – in between – territory which, after having turned to the East and his/her Moslem brothers, will perhaps not have any other choice today but to seize the outstretched hand of India – a country which still has not accepted the “the theory of the two nations” ever since the partition. Perhaps the end of the conflict supposes the recognition and equal identity of these two enemy brothers that the strategic manipulation of alliences could always keep separate.

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This site does not claim to analyse a very complex situation of Kashmir, it is however, a means to sites dedicated to this subject. The sites treating Kashmir are numerous, the sites selected herafter are all of exceptional quality (generally in French language): : very official information but fascinating regarding the Kashmir. : a coloured file, clear and concise on the Kashmir problem on the Radio operator Canada site. : A very good report/ratio on the Canada site and its group of policies. This document gives the news correctly + explains conflict after the new American diplomatic relations regarding South Asia. : The shape of this site of association Jaïa Bharati (association dedicated to India) is exceptional, large file of the history of India and their thinking also that of Kashmir, small exceptional information not to be missed (great mark for their opinion). : For all be able to include/understand reciprocal perceptions of India and Pakistan of the war , a very serious and enthralling file of the Observatory of Analyses of the Comtemporary International Relations (OARIC).

International relations (OARIC). Christophe Jaffrelot, director of the CERI (International Research and Studies Center), is a graduate from Institute of Political Studies of Paris, university Paris I - Sorbonne and National Institute of the Languages and Eastern Civilisations. He teaches the political questions in South Asia with Sciences Po, lucky for us who are studie the Kashmir!! Therefore below you’ll find complete articles, which are serious and thrilling regarding Kashmir and studging come from the excellent CERI site: : The great illusion, assessment of the Afghan policy in Pakistan. : Les relations internationnales de l’Inde à l’épreuve de la relation indo-pakistanaise (février 2002). : The question of the Kashmir after September 11 and the news in Jammu and Kashmir (June 10 2003). : Variation set of themes (same authors). : Same topic and same authors on the Institute of Study and Security site (IES).

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See the same topics :
Kashmir exploration
Climbing in Kashmir
The Kashmir Conflict Historical statistics Historical index

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