Kashmir - Conflict Region for Over Sixty Years
In 1947, after Great Britain had withdrawn from south Asia, India and Pakistan became independent countries. The Maharaja of Kashmir decided to become a part of India, in return for Indian protection. In the past 60 years India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the region.
Although there has been less violence in the region recently, it is still a trouble spot. A minor conflict could trigger a war between India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers in the region.
Kashmir is the only region within India with an Islamic majority. Many people do not want to be governed by India. They want to become a part of Pakistan or be independent altogether. The people think that they are being discriminated against by the government in Delhi. Unemployment is running high and they claim they are not getting the help they need.
In the 1990s there have been many incidents along the borderline in Kashmir between Indian and Pakistani armed forces. However, in the last decade, there have been signs of improving relationships. In 2006 Pakistan stopped giving money to paramilitary groups fighting in Kashmir and two years ago India announced that it would grant amnesty to Pakistani freedom fighters.
Today Kashmir is controlled by three countries. The east and south with a population of 9 million are controlled by India; Pakistan administers the north and the west, while China also controls a small region.
Many officials in both India and Pakistan want peace, because both countries are tired of the decade long conflict. They also think that a lasting peace will bring stability and economic growth to a war-torn region. But in both countries there are extremist groups that do not want their governments to give in and make peace.
- administer = govern, control
- although = while
- amnesty = to let prisoners go free
- announce= to say officially
- armed forces = army
- borderline = where two countries meet
- claim = to say that’s something is true
- decade = a period of ten years
- decide = choose
- discriminate against = to treat someone in an unfair way or differently from someone else
- freedom fighter = person who wants their country or land to become independent
- govern = rule
- grant = give
- improve = get better
- in return for = in exchange for
- incident = events, things that happen
- independent = free
- less = not that much
- Maharaja = an Indian prince or king
- majority = most of the people in a group
- minor = small
- paramilitary = illegal group that is organized like an army
- protection = guard, security
- recently = in the last few years
- sign = signal
- trigger = start
- unemployment = the situation of being out of work
- withdraw = pull back, get out of