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India and Her Neighbours

Social Studies Assignment On: India and Her Neighbors Done by: Tatinee Dey 1. The Kargil War • The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two nations.

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Directly after the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents; however, documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control (LoC). a) Location The area that witnessed the infiltration and fighting is a 160 km long stretch on the border of the LOC, overlooking a vital highway on the Indian side of Kashmir. Apart from the district capital, Kargil, the front line in the conflict encompassed the tiny town of Drass as well as the Batalik sector, Mushko Valley and other nearby areas along the de facto border. The military outposts on these ridges were generally around 5,000 metres (16,000 feet) high, with a few as high as 5,600 metres (18,000 feet). One of the main reasons why Kargil was specifically targeted for incursions was its terrain lent itself to a pre-emptive seizure.

With tactically vital features and well-prepared defensive posts atop the peaks, it provided an ideal high ground for a defender akin to a fortress. a) Location • Any attack to dislodge the enemy and reclaim high ground in a mountain warfare would require a far higher ratio of attackers to defenders, which is further exacerbated by the high altitude and freezing temperatures. Additionally, Kargil was just 173 km (108 mi) from the Pakistani controlled town of Skardu, which was capable of providing logistical and artillery support to the Pakistani combatants.

All these tactical reasons, plus the Kargil district being a Muslim majority, were probably contributing factors to why Kargil was chosen as the location to attack. b) Background • After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, there had been a long period of relative calm among the two neighbours. But during the 1990s, escalating tensions and conflict with terrorism in Kashmir as well as nuclear tests by both countries in 1998 changed the scenario. Despite the belligerent atmosphere, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999 to provide a peaceful and bilateral solution to the Kashmiri issue.

However, elements in the Military of Pakistan covertly trained and sent troops and paramilitary forces, some allegedly in the guise of mujahideen, into the Indian territory. The aim was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh, and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute. Pakistan also believed that any tension in the region would internationalise the Kashmir issue, helping it to secure a speedy resolution. Yet another goal may have been to boost the morale of the decade-long rebellion in Indian Administered Kashmir by taking a proactive role. ) War Progress • There were three major phases to the Kargil War. First, Pakistan captured several strategic high points in the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir. India responded by first capturing strategic transportation routes, then militarily pushing Pakistani forces back across the Line of Control. d) Indian Territory Recovery • Indian army soldiers wave the Indian flag on a mountain peak after securing the mountain from Pakistani forces. Following the Washington accord on July 4, where Sharif agreed to withdraw the Pakistan-backed troops, most of the fighting came to a gradual halt.

In spite of this, some of the militants still holed up did not wish to retreat, and the United Jihad Council rejected Pakistan’s plan for a climb-down, instead deciding to fight on. Following this, the Indian army launched its final attacks in the last week of July; as soon as the last of these Jihadists in the Drass sub sector had been cleared, the fighting ceased on July 26. The day has since been marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India. By the end of the war, India had resumed control of all territory south and east of the Line of Control, as was established in July 1972 as per the Shimla Accord. 2. The Indo-Sri Lankan Peace Accord The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was an accord signed in Colombo on July 29, 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J. R. Jayewardene. The accord was expected to resolve the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war. Under the terms of the agreement, Colombo agreed to a devolution of power to the provinces the Sri Lankan troops were withdraw to their barracks in the north, the Tamil rebels were to disarm. Importantly however, the Tamil groups, notably the LTTE (which at the time was one of the strongest Tamil force) had not been made party to the talks and initially agreed to surrender their arms to the IPKF only reluctantly.

Within a few months however, this flared into an active confrontation. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) declared their intent to continue the armed struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam and refused to disarm. The Indian Peace-Keeping Force found itself engaged in a bloody police action against the LTTE. Further complicating the return to peace was a burgeoning Sinhalese insurgency in the south. a) Civil War • Sri Lanka, from the early part of the 1980s, was facing an increasingly violent ethnic strife.

At the time, a Sinhala majority government was instituted which passed legislation that were deemed discriminatory against the substantial Tamil minority population. In the 1970s, two major Tamil parties united to form the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) that started agitation for a separate state of Tamil Eelam within the system in a federal structure in the north and eastern Sri Lanka that would grant the Tamils greater autonomy. However, enactment of the sixth amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution in August 1983 classified all separatist movements as unconstitutional, effectively rendering the TULF ineffective.

Outside the TULF, however, factions advocating more radical and militant courses of action soon emerged, and the ethnic divisions started flaring into a violent civil war. b) Indian Involvement • India had, initially under Indira Gandhi and later under Rajiv Gandhi, provided support to Tamil interests from the very conception of the secessionist movement. This was both as a result of a large Tamil community in South India, as well as India’s Regional security and interests which attempted to reduce the scope foreign intervention, especially those linked to the United States, Pakistan, and China.

To this end, the Indira Gandhi Government sought to make it clear to the Sri Lankan President, Jayewardene that armed intervention in support of the Tamil movement was an option India would consider if any diplomatic solutions should fail. Following the anti-Tamil riots, the Tamil rebel movement grew progressively strong and increasingly violent. However, after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the Indian support for the militant movement decreased. However, the succeeding Rajiv Gandhi government attempted to re-establish friendly relations with its neighbors.

It still however maintained diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the conflict as well as maintaining covert aid to the Tamil rebels. c) The Peace Accord • Among the salient points of the agreement, the Sri Lankan Government made a number of concessions to Tamil demands, which included Colombo devolution of power to the provinces, merger of the northern and eastern provinces, and official status for the Tamil language. More immediately, Operation Liberation — the successful, ongoing anti-insurgent operation by Sri Lankan forces in the Northern peninsula — was ended.

Sri Lankan troops were to withdraw to their barracks in the north, the Tamil rebels were to disarm. India agreed to end support for the Tamil separatist movement and recognize the unity of Sri Lanka. The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord also underlined the commitment of Indian military assistance on which the Indian Peace Keeping Force came to be inducted into Sri Lanka. 3. The Teen Bigha Corridor • The Teen Bigha Corridor is a strip of land formerly belonging to India on the West Bengal–Bangladesh border which has been leased indefinitely to Bangladesh so that it can access it’s Dehgram– Angalpota enclaves.

Teen is three in Hindi, and bigha is a unit of area roughly 1,500 to 6,771 square meters. There is ongoing dispute regarding use of this land by anti-India forces and illegal immigrants to cross over into India which Bangladesh vehemently denies. This Corridor was formally transferred to Bangladesh on June 26, 1992. During the Partition of India after independence in 1947, the Bengal region was divided into two: East Bengal (present-day Bangladesh) and West Bengal. East Pakistan was made a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan due to the fact that both regions had an overwhelmingly large Muslim population, more than 85%.

In 1955, the government of Pakistan changed its name from East Bengal to East Pakistan. • 3. The Teen Bigha Corridor • There were some confrontations between the two regions though. Firstly, in 1948, Jinnah declared that only Urdu would the official language of the entire nation while more than 95% of the population spoke Bengali. And when protests broke out in Bangladesh on February 21, 1952, Pakistani police shot dead the protests, killing hundreds. Secondly, East Pakistan was given a step-motherly treatment and only a small amount of revenue was given for the development of the region.

Therefore, a separatist movement started to grow in Bangladesh. When in 1970 elections, the main separatist party the Awami League, headed by Sheik Mujibur Rehman won 167 of the 169 seats and got the right to form the government, the Pakistan president under Yahya Khan refused to recognize the elections and on the other hand, arrested him. This led to widespread protests in Bangladesh and in 1971, the Liberation War in Bangladesh started. India under Indira Gandhi fully supported the cause of the Bangladeshis and its troops and equipment were used to fight the Pakistani forces.

It also gave full support to the main Bangladeshi guerilla force, the Mukti Bahini. Finally, on 26 March, 1971, Bangladesh emerged as an independent state. • 4. The Shimla Agreement • Shimla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan on July 2, 1972. The agreement followed from the war between the two nations in the previous year that had led to the independence of East Pakistan as Bangladesh. The agreement laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. The agreement also paved the way for diplomatic recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan.

As a gesture of goodwill India decided not to try 93,000 (80,000 military and rest civilians) Pakistan Prisoners of War for war crimes and released them. • The agreement has been the basis of all subsequent bilateral talks between India and Pakistan, though it has not prevented the relationship between the two countries from deteriorating to the point of armed conflict. The treaty was signed in Shimla, India, by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the President of Pakistan, and Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India.

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