Thursday, August 02, 2012

Alistair Lamb: THE INDIAN CLAIM TO JAMMU AND KASHMIR – A REAPPRAISAL

 Excerpts from ‘The Myth of Indian Claim to JAMMU AND KASHMIR ––A REAPPRAISAL’

 
by Alistair Lamb


The formal overt Indian intervention in the internal affairs of the State of Jammu and Kashmir began on about 9.00 a.m. on 27 October 1947, when Indian troops started landing at Srinagar airfield. India has officially dated the commencement of its claim that the State was part of Indian sovereign territory to a few hours earlier, at some point in the afternoon or evening of 26 October. From their arrival on 27 October 1947 to the present day, Indian troops have continued to occupy a large proportion of the State of Jammu and Kashmir despite the increasingly manifest opposition of a majority of the population to their presence. To critics of India’s position and actions in the State of Jammu and Kashmir the Government of New Delhi has consistently declared that the State of Jammu and Kashmir lies entirely within the sphere of internal Indian policy. Do the facts support the Indian contention in this respect?

The State of Jammu and Kashmir was a Princely State within the British Indian Empire. By the rules of the British transfer of power in Indian subcontinent in 1947 the Ruler of the State, Maharajah Sir Hari Singh, with the departure of the British and the lapsing of Paramountcy (as the relationship between State and British Crown was termed), could opt to join either India or Pakistan or, by doing nothing, become from 15 August 1947 the Ruler of an independent polity. The choice was the Ruler’s and his alone: there was no provision for popular consultation in the Indian Princely States during the final days of the British Raj. On 15th August 1947, by default, the State of Jammu and Kashmir became independent.

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