Since the latter half of 2008, some may have witnessed the deadly conflicts occurring between the nations of India and Pakistan, from televised broadcasts of the news to local newspapers. One major conflict highlighted in particular happens to be the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. In a three-day span lasting from November 26 to November 29, several attacks occurred in the financial capital of India. The death toll was estimated to be more than 200, with an additional 400 injured. According to several police accounts, the Pakistani-based jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba were allegedly involved in planning and executing the attacks. In a profile by BBC News, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which translates to Soldiers of the Pure in English, is widely known for battling against the Indian government for its control of the region of Kashmir. The tensions between both nations have escalated much more since the assaults in Mumbai have occurred. Although the attacks have brought increased awareness to the war-torn areas within the past two months, the conflicts have persisted longer than many people may be aware of.
Since its partition from Great Britain in 1947, both the countries of India and Pakistan have been in limbo over the control of Kashmir. According to the Washington Post, about 7 million people live in the mountainous region, with the cities of Singrar and Jammu being its capital cities. Located in the northern region of India, both states have a high Muslim population as well as being important for its agricultural resources. Though once under the control of India at one point in history, both countries have since fought back and forth for complete control.
For Priyanka Mendiratta, a sophomore in computer science, the intensity history between the two isn’t entirely as surprising. “I personally think that the relationship between India and Pakistan have been fragile ever since India got independence from the British rule in 1947 and when we were divided into two parts – India and Pakistan,” says Mendiratta, a sophomore in computer science.
Both nations have been in war before over control of Kashmir. In a timeline provided by BBC News, the first war between both countries over Kashmir began in 1947 and ended early in 1949. India and Pakistan have been involved in two major wars in the years 1965 and 1971. Of course, many other attacks between both countries have occurred since then. “This animosity has been growing at many different levels now, religion, history, and conflict over the state of Kashmir,” says Mendiratta. “But now, after these attacks in Mumbai [on November 26, 2008], it’s all out for the public to see.”
With the conflicts becoming rampant at times throughout the years, the possibility of another major war between the two is high. Introducing nuclear weapons into the picture isn’t out of the question either. According to NuclearFiles.org, both countries have made their commitments to developing nuclear programs since the 1970s. In 1998, both countries successfully detonated their nuclear weaponry. Even if the use of nuclear warfare was not required, hoping for the safety of those living in the area is still a top priority. This is especially important for those involved in the N.C. State community.
“I live in constant fear for my family living in India,” recalls Mendiratta. “I keep an eye open for any news in any of the national Indian newspapers for any sign of war or anything similar.”
With the current state of events and the induction of nuclear testing, bringing peace to both regions may appear bleak. However, Mendiratta believes that there is in fact hope for the future.
“I do feel that his conflict may be resolved in the future. I refuse to believe that all the civilians would be violent and close-minded at heart,” says Mendiratta. “There might still be some people left who think that violence is not the solution to everything. But we need to do something to bring out such people and create more awareness.”
Timeline of Events [from BBC News]
1947 – India is partitioned from Britain into two nations, the first being India and the second being Pakistan.
October 1947 – The main location and cause of the conflict, Jammu-Kashmir, is now owned by India.
August 1948 – United Nations grants the northern territory of Kashmir to Pakistan, while the southern territory is still under India�s control.
July 1949 – Pakistan and India signs the Karachi Agreement, which recognizes the ceasefire line created by United Nations observers in Kashmir.
1952 – Indian government enacts article 370.
1954 – 1959 – Pakistan signs agreement with the United States government. The deal states that the U.S. can and will aid Pakistan in a time of war. India, however, does not align with any national alliance during this time, especially the U.S. and Soviet Union.
1965 – Pakistan and India fight in a second major and violent war between the two nations. Thousands of civilians and by-standers die in the violent attacks. Most occurred in the cities of Kashmir and Punjab, India.
January 1966 – Pakistani President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri sign Tashkent Agreement ordering both nations to withdraw troops by the following month.
1971 – India and Pakistan battle in East Pakistan, or present-day Bangladesh, making it their third major war between the two after allegations of India attempting to take over the region.
1971 – Pakistan agrees to a cease-fire with Pakistani troops.
1972 – Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Miniter Indira Ghandi sign Simla Pact to end the war in Bangladesh.
1974 – Indian and Pakistan begin developing and testing nuclear devices.
1998 – India and Pakistan successfully detonate nuclear weapons.
July 2000 – Hizbul Mujahedeen, a dominant Kashmiri Islamic separatist group, declares a ceasefire against Indian troops in Kashmir
December 2000 – Kashimir separatist gropu Lashkar-e-Tayyiba claims responsibility for attacks on the Red Fort in New Delhi, India
May 2001 – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee hold summit in New Delhi to negotiate a truce in Kashmir.