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Following the Uri attack on September 18 and the unsuccessful diplomatic conversations between India and Pakistan, the Defence Ministry on Thursday confirmed to have carried out surgical strikes along the LoC. Reportedly, the military activity has led to significant casualties being caused to terrorists who had established themselves at launchpads along the LoC with an aim to infiltrate and cause terror strikes in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is of course not the first time that the dispute between India and Pakistan has erupted into an armed conflict. Since August 1947 when Partition led to the creation of these two independent countries, disputes, in particular with regard to the claim over Kashmir, have been a consistent feature of the relationship between India and Pakistan. On several occasions the conflict over Kashmir gave way to military attacks. The only other time when Kashmir was not the main issue causing an armed struggle was during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971.
The first instance of an armed conflict between the two countries was immediately after Independence and Partition in October 1947. The fear of Kashmir acceding to India was what had triggered the struggle. The Pakistani Army infiltrated Kashmir through tribal forces in an attempt to occupy Kashmir. This was followed by the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh signing the agreement of accession to the dominion of India resulting in a full fledged war between India and Pakistan and the solidification of the Line of Control. Even though the war did not have a conclusive victor, India managed to claim two-thirds of Kashmir, while Pakistan got about a third of the territory.
The war of 1965 was a result of Operation Gibralter carried out by Pakistani armed forces to occupy Kashmir. The operation was given the codename Gibralter in an attempt to draw parallels with the Arab invasion of Spain from the port of Gibralter. However, poor coordination of the insurgency led to the failure of the plan and India responded with a full scale armed struggle that continued for the next 17 days. Large number of military vehicles and tanks were used for the purpose and the war saw casualties numbering in thousands by the end of it. The war ended only after the diplomatic intervention of the Soviet Union and the United States.
The war of 1971 was unique in the sense that this time Kashmir was not the bone of contention. It occurred as a result of the ongoing war between East Pakistan and West Pakistan. While India gave full support to East Pakistan’s cause, it formally entered into war with Pakistan after it carried out strikes on forward airbases and radar installations of the Indian Air Force. Occurring over a course of 13 days the war saw the largest number of prisoners of war since World War II. The war resulted in the independence of East Pakistan and the creation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Popularly known as the Siachen conflict, the ceasefire between the two countries occurred over the control of the Siachen glacier in Kashmir. The struggle ensued after India launched operation Meghdoot, gaining control over the Siachen glacier. It was followed by Pakistani army launching strikes on several occasions in 1985, 1987 and 1995 to expel Indian forces.
The Kargil war of 1999 took place immediately following the Pakistani army’s infiltration into the Kargil district in Kashmir. The Indian army retaliated in an effort to drive out the Pakistani infiltrators. Within two months India had been able to regain most of its territory. The struggle ended as a result of international pressure on Pakistan to withdraw its troops.