By GreatGameIndia -July 10, 2019| Last modified on July 24th, 2019 at 4:18 pm
The Kashmir problem, an Anglo-American operation against India provides the culminating illustration of the hostility between India and Pakistan and the determination to satisfy their imperialistic ambition to rule over the entire sub-continent once again by the use of modern military forces with generous defense support by the Anglo-American bloc under the trusteeship of the United Nations.
The Kashmir Problem – An Anglo-American Operation
Chester Bowles, the former US Ambassador to India in his book An Ambassador Reports, commented on the use of Kashmir as the American forward military outpost in Central Asia:
“When I was in Kashmir in the fall of 1952, some two-thirds of the officers on the cease-fire line were Americans, and not all of them handled themselves with discretion. The last negotiator appointed by the United Nations was a distinguished American, Frank Graham, and the Administrator who was selected by the United Nations to take charge of the Plebiscite, if and when it was concluded, was still another American, Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Despite the high caliber of these men, and all the goodwill in the world, the UN efforts to achieve a Kashmir settlement took on the character of an American operation. In a situation where passions ran high, we have not only failed to achieve settlement, but have come in for sharp criticism.”
What disturbed the peace of Kashmir most was the Anglo-American desire to utilize its unique position surrounded by four countries: to the North-East and North, it is bounded by the People’s Republic of China (Tibet and Sinkiang); to the North West by Afghanistan; to the West by Pakistan and to the South by India and to the North by the Russians. The Anglo-American interest was to achieve colonial interests in Asia with a base in Kashmir – a land of magnificent beauty and hospitality.
3 Stages of Military Strategic Designs
In the first half of the 19th century Kashmir was used by the British as a pawn in the subjugation of Punjab and Afghanistan. It was for this purpose the British established their puppet government through an Indian Maharaja – Gulab Singh who played a treacherous role in the interest of imperialism in the Northern part of India. As soon as the British were able to firmly establish their rule over North India, they used Kashmir as a forward military post for their Central Asian adventures.
The strategic position of Kashmir gave it great significance in the British imperial design and their military strategy in Central Asia. At the end of the Second World War, military strategic designs were set afoot by the United States and Great Britain in three discernible stages keeping in view of the freedom movement started by the people of the Kashmir valley.
The First Stage – Policy of Savage Repression
The first stage was characterized by a policy of savage repression let loose on the Kashmir national movement. The principal British agents in Kashmir for this repression were Brigadier Scott, Chief of Staff in the Kashmir Army, Inspector General Powell, Chief of Police of the state and Colonel Webb, the British Resident in Srinagar. It was in the period the Cabinet Mission Plan of May, 1948 was released and subsequently, the subcontinent of India partitioned.
The British Political Department encouraged the Maharaja of Kashmir to opt for “independence” and he set out to achieve this by first seeking to enter into Standstill Agreement with both Pakistan and India. The British did not even recognize the fact that in this matter the voice of the Kashmiris was supreme. They ignored the demand of the Kashmiri National Liberation Movement. The US and the UK planned to set up their military bases in Kashmir. This military strategy was directed against the then Soviet Union and later on People’s Republic of China and finally against India’s unity and security.
The Second Stage – Capture the Valley
It was also reported that the second stage began with the invasion of the state in which such leading British Officers as Sir George Cunningham and Sir Francis Mudie were reported to have taken an active and leading part. Colonel Ingall (Commandant, Pakistan Military Academy), Major Brown (Commandant, Gilgit Scouts) and the American Army officer, Russell K. Haight, accompanied the invaders and led and directed their operations against India. The plan of the Anglo-American strategists was to capture the valley through the well-trained tribesmen aided sufficiently with sophisticated US arms with a view to establishing a government of their own choice for complete sabotage to India’s political unity.
The Third Stage – Entry of United Nations
Further it was narrated that the third stage opened after the British plan of armed seizure of Kashmir valley was foiled with the arrival of the Indian Army. It was at this stage that Louis Mountbatten and General Hastings Lionel Ismay, intervened directly and the Government of India referred the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations on the advice of its Governor-General. Louis Mountbatten was the British soldier who engineered the plan for the Anglo-American intervention in the internal affairs of India. Since then the Kashmir question had been the agenda of the Security Council.
Foreign Troops on Kashmiri Soil
During those years every time new resolutions were passed by the Security Council at the instance of the Anglo-American bloc with a view to solving the Kashmir problem. But every Anglo-American move of the Security Council, every new formula of the UN representatives only prolonged the dispute and widened the gulf between India and Pakistan. With these kinds of proposals and resolutions, the Anglo-American powers attempted to impose on the Kashmiri people their colonial administration.
History teaches us that once the imperialist powers penetrate into a developing country under one pretext or the other and send their military forces on the ground, they stay forever, rather till they are actually driven out by force. The establishment of the foreign administration of Admiral Chester Nimitz with foreign troops on Kashmiri soil was a step in that direction.
The question could be asked why the western powers were so eager to establish their political and military domination over Kashmir? Why should this aim be pursued by them today? To answer these questions we must keep in mind the important strategic location of Kashmir. As Jawaharlal Nehru said in Parliament on July 24, 1952:
“While part of India, it (Kashmir) is in fact the heart of Asia. It is also connected in various ways with Central Asia. Even now, I wonder how many people realize that Kashmir is further north than Tibet. So one has to think of Kashmir in that particular geographical position apart from other facts in the case.” (Tribune July 29, 1952).
David E. Lilienthal, former Chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission as well as of the Tennessee Valley Authority, wrote in an article in Collier’s magazine:
“The direct issue is whether the historic region of Jammu and Kashmir – an area of the size of Idaho – shall be part of India or Pakistan. This is, however, no ordinary dispute over international boundaries. On one of this disputed region’s frontiers lies Red China, on, another Red Tibet. Along another frontier is the Soviet Union.” (Hindu, August 26, 1951).
An Anglo-American Air-Base in Kashmir
The Anglo-American powers yet had another aim in Kashmir which they sought to accomplish after partition of the subcontinent and more particularly, after India’s reference of the Kashmir question to the Security Council. That aim was to utilize the difference between India and Pakistan on Kashmir further widening the gulf between the two neighbors and then pave the way for foreign interference in the internal affairs and eventually, for dominion over these two nations entirely. An American ruled Kashmir occupied by American military forces, was especially sought to be used against India and its national interests. Such an enclave of powerful American influence could be used to compel India to the line of the US foreign policy.
The key to the solution of the Kashmir problem did lie in the peaceful negotiations and peaceful settlement between India and Pakistan within the framework of Tashkent Declaration and subsequently the Simla Agreement. However, the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in May 1952 was quite frank in stating the aims of the drive which, of course, did not change in later days even:
“In order to use the atom bomb most effectively in our defense, it is essential that we have bases at strategic locations far from our shores”, John Foster Dulles said publicly at Detroit.
“That means, having at whatever are the convenient places, the capacity to hit Soviet’s interior line of communications with such disruptive power that its highly centralized Asiatic state will fall apart.” (New York Times, November 28, 1951).
In this drive the United States could not but lay its covetous eye on Kashmir. The New York Times wrote on January 25, 1948:
“The question is whether Northern border of Kashmir joins directly with Soviet Union. Technically, and geographically, the answer to that question, according to competent US authorities is negative. Politically and that is the only basis for any concern about this borders – the answer is that the technical position of the boundary does not make any difference.”
Kashmir – Switzerland of the East
In 1950, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the American Armed Forces had submitted a confidential report to President Truman recommending the construction of air bases in Kashmir and its conversion into an “independent” state under the trusteeship of the United Nations. Dr. T.G. Spear, Fellow of Selwyn College, speaking at the Cambridge branch meeting of the United Nations Association on December 13, 1951 declared:
“Turn the vale into an independent state, an Asiatic Switzerland. According to the American plan for an “independent Kashmir”, the international status of the valley is, therefore, designed to be so determined that in reality it finds itself not only completely dependent on American military and financial resources but also totally subservient to it as its protectorate.
Under the garb of ensuring the “independence” of Kashmir of protecting it against external aggression and of turning it into the “Switzerland of the East”, a direct stronghold of the United States would come to be imposed on it through the seemingly innocuous agency of the American-dominated United Nations. The so-called “independence” of Kashmir guaranteed by the United Nations was, therefore a euphemism for United States’ control over it.
Strategic penetration of India
It is also essential to bear in mind that the United States’ monopoly position in Kashmir, secured through the maneuver of independent Kashmir, would constitute an enslave of direct and powerful American influence over the rest of the sub-continent which would be used as the stronghold, a base against the peoples of India and Pakistan threatening peace in the region.
A direct political and military control over Kashmir was in particular sought to be used for a further and more effective diplomatic and military strategic penetration of India. An American domination on Kashmir could have been to press on India to align unreservedly with the foreign policy of the United States.
Adlai Stevenson, Harold Stassen and the US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles expressed their sentiment in favor of the American plan for “Independent Kashmir”. Immediately after his conference with John Foster Dulles, Jawaharlal Nehru declared at a public meeting in New Delhi in May 1953 that the more foreign powers interfered in the Kashmir problem the more complicated it became. The Kashmir problem could be solved only when the intervention of the Anglo-American powers, operating in the guise of the UN was put an end to. For this purpose, the Kashmir should be withdrawn from the UN and the UN Observers as well as other imperialist agents working in Kashmir expelled from its soil.
Moreover, Nehru did not appreciate the interference of the US President Harry S. Truman and the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in the affairs of Kashmir. Nehru showed “unmistakable signs of irritation” over this intervention in view of the fact that no attempt had been made to understand or solve the fundamental issue involved in the Kashmir question. He said that the crux of the problem was that Kashmir, which was a part of India, had been attacked by British-backed raiders, an action that constituted an unwarranted aggression against the international law.
“If what we say is in accordance with the facts”, Nehru declared, “the whole world ought to appreciate that our stand is justified, if we are in the wrong, we could plainly be told so. But it is not right to sidetrack the basic cause of the conflict.” “Our country”, Nehru concluded, “has many provinces, and we wish each one of them to progress and prosper, while maintaining the unity of the country.”
Divide and Rule – The Destabilizing Force
In 1957 the Indo-British relations reached a low ebb as a result of the British criticism of India’s incorporation of Kashmir into the Republic of India. According to Michael Brecher (Nehru, A Political Biography) “talk of India’s leaving the Commonwealth, reached serious proportions in New Delhi.” The four-power resolution of February 15, 1957 by the UK, the USA, Australia and Cuba provided for the temporary UN forces on Kashmiri soil in order to secure the demilitarization of the state. India rejected the resolution and made it clear that India would not allow a single foreign soldier on the Indian territory.
Nehru became furious and condemned the resolution as a “collective aggression or collective approval of aggression” and he went on further that the attitude of “some countries (the Anglo-American bloc) in the Security Council was one of deliberate hostility to India. He declared, “If any country invades Kashmir it will not only be an invasion of Kashmir, but an invasion of India.” Nehru accused, that the British Government and “some other foreign powers” were trying to adopt the same tactics to weaken India internally, which were practiced by the British in pre-Independence days.
India could not allow a single foreign soldier to step on Indian territory whatever might be the consequences of India’s stand. Nehru charged the British and the American Government for adopting the nefarious tactics in order to weaken India’s unity by dividing its people. The British Government so long ruled with its policy to “divide and rule” and on this “two theory nation”, the British Government had created Pakistan as the destabilizing force on Indian sub-continent.
The Russian Vetoes
A peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue with Pakistan could have been possible but for the interference and aggression by the Anglo-American powers. However, the Russians vetoed the resolution on February 20, 1957 in favor of India against the Anglo-American bloc.
Again in June 1962, the British support to the Irish resolution on Kashmir was vetoed by the Russians (June 22, 1962) since the British made all sorts of difficulties for India. Nehru expressed his deep regret and sorrow at foreign debate in the Rajya Sabha on June 23, 1962 that the Anglo-American bloc was invariably against India on the subject of Goa and Kashmir. In other words, they supported Pakistan on the Kashmir question and Portugal on Goa issue.
The United States had all along taken a stand on the Kashmir question which had undoubtedly been pro-Pakistani. The US took anti-India attitude, and this had affected invariably the Indo-US relations. In January, 1948, when India brought the complaint of Pakistani aggression in the Security Council, the US attitude was totally hostile. Instead of taking note of Pakistani aggression in Kashmir, the US blamed India for the use of force. India, however, resisted the US attempt to equate India and Pakistan together on the Kashmir affairs. Over the years all the resolutions which were sponsored by the US were rejected by India and this reflected India’s deep mistrust of America.
Suspicions of SEATO and CENTO
With the conclusion of the United States-Pakistan military pact in February, 1954, America no longer remained impartial to the Indian cause. India similarly no longer could accept the American observers in Kashmir as neutrals and demanded their withdrawal. Pakistan happened to be a member of the SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) and CENTO (Central Treaty Organization). India had been opposed to all military pacts and the defense alliances because India viewed that they would create a war psychosis and increase threat to peace.
India always looked at these military pacts with suspicion. These were not regional organization. But an organization by some imperial powers and others was created by the western powers with a view to protecting the region as its protectorate. The reference of Kashmir to SEATO could only mean that the western military alliance had been supporting Pakistan in its conflict with India.
Military Aid – A Threat to Peace
Nothing had been more detrimental to the cause of peace and security of India than American sophisticated military aid to Pakistan since February 1954. India’s objection to American military aid to Pakistan was three fold:
- Firstly, India felt and quite rightly that Indo-Pak wars were fought with American arms and weapons. Wars were brought to the door steps of India which in turn disturbed both India and Pakistan as they waged three major wars between them.
- Secondly, the US military aid to Pakistan upset the military balance in favor of Pakistan.
- Thirdly, the US decision to supply arms aid to Pakistan was primarily with a view to introducing western and foreign domination in the region in a new form and substance. Unfortunately, the US military aid to Pakistan came in the way of peaceful negotiations between India and Pakistan and India regarded Pakistan’s military expansion and war resources as an aggressive posture. Demilitarization became impossible as the US-Pak military alliance completely changed the entire context of Indo-Pak relations and the holding of a no-war pact became remote.
Jawaharlal Nehru was concerned over the US military aid to Pakistan as a threat to peace in the region. The US President assured Nehru that if the military aid given to Pakistan was misused and directed against India in aggression, the US would undertake to thwart such aggressions. But India from its past experience knew that aggression took place several times against India, yet the US did nothing to thwart Pakistani aggression – aggression took place in Kashmir, Ran of Kutch and Bangladesh with dire consequences. The US did not condemn Pakistan as an aggressor. The US military aid to Pakistan created conditions for aggression. Seeing it as an American pressure tactics against India, Nehru called for the withdrawal of American members of the United Nations Commission on Kashmir.
American Arms against India
A great majority of people in the US, did see little wisdom and understanding in aiding Pakistan with sophisticated defense preparedness. Instead of aiding to the stability of the region, the US-Pak military alliance contributed to India’s insecurity and tensions in the region. However, it was given to understand that Pakistan would use US military aid in the event of any violation of its territory. It was the joke of the century. It was difficult to imagine how Pakistan could be prevented from using the American arms against India. The US assurances that the US military aid would not be used against India did not carry much weight. In fact, the US found it very difficult to restrain Pakistan and its military dictators over the decades from using the US arms against India in three major hostilities and other border conflicts.
The Non-Alignment Strategy
US did not adopt an impartial attitude towards India on the Kashmir issue in particular and blindly supported Pakistan. All along Pakistan had been favored by the US against India. At no time the US had brought pressure on Pakistan to withdraw its troops unconditionally. India had been disappointed because of the US criticism of India for resisting the decision of the UN. There had been no condemnation of the continued Pakistani troops on the Indian territory, particularly when the legality of the accession of Kashmir to India had not been questioned.
American policy in the Kashmir dispute had been widely interpreted in India to be a reaction to India’s refusal to align itself with the United States in global confrontation. India appreciated the US economic assistance to India but had been disappointed at their anti-Indian resolutions in the Security Council with respect of Kashmir and their arms aid to Pakistan.
The World over had recognized India as having a unique foreign policy based on the novel Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which is highly antagonistic and critical about the divisive, oppressive, exploitative rule and habits of the West and extremely critical about the reaction of the Russians to this Western oppression by taking the path of communism.
The Non-Aligned Movement showed greater success than the United Nations in dealing with many international issues, and in-fact, the Non-Aligned Movement was even able to censure the major powers for the injustices perpetuated by them. However, with the opening of India in the 90s a visible tilt has was observed with India veering sharply into the Anglo-American orbit. The impact of this tilt is having a major consequence for independent Indian foreign policy making. This aspect is further discussed in detail in our report on the Non-Alignment Movement.
Foreign Interference in Kashmir Conflict
In 1999, one year after India and Pakistan went nuclear, it was US intervention that brought the Kargil crisis to an end. The Vajpayee government had been in touch with the Clinton administration to get the Sharif government to call off the intrusion in Kargil even as it fought Pakistani forces. Nawaz Sharif arrived on July 3 in Washington seeking President Bill Clinton’s help for a face-saving ceasefire with India that would include a settlement on Kashmir. Sharif had to agree to an unconditional withdrawal of Pakistani forces from Kargil back to the Line of Control. Clinton denied him a face-saver of mediation over Kashmir, and reaffirmed US commitment to the bilateral Lahore Declaration signed earlier that year as the best way forward for India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir and other issues.
Role of General David Petraeus
Democrat Senator Mark Udall from Colorado raised the issue at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, asking a panel of senior US defence officials if Washington is in discussion on “urging India and Pakistan to continue finding a way forward on Kashmir”.
“Together with my great diplomatic wing man (special representative for the region) Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, this effort actually has started,” US Central Command chief Gen David Petraeus said. Gen Petraeus role has also come under suspicion recently as the Chairman of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) who is one of the equity partners who owns 80% stake in NXP Semiconductors whose chips were imported by ECI for EVMs used during current elections in India.
Former CIA Petraus is also credited to have trained former United States National Security Advisor McMaster who is responsible for pulling India into the Anglo-American orbit as a “major defense partner”.
Sri Sri Ravishankar invites Norway
In 2018 former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik visited Srinagar, met with the separatist leadership there and, after returning, went on to visit Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. On the Indian side, he told The Indian Express, he had been invited by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar. The Indian government, which had evidently facilitated the visit, made no comment; the Norwegian Ambassador to India clarified that it was a personal visit.
Donald Trump’s Offer
On 22nd July 2019, American President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was asked by the Indian Prime Minister to be a mediator in Kashmir conflict.
So I was with — I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, “Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?” I said, “Where?” He said, “Kashmir.”
However, the statement has been strongly refuted by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs:
We have seen POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM to US President.
GreatGameIndia is a journal on Geopolitics and International Relations.