Bungling at U.N.Instrument
of accession executed by Maharaja Hari Singh was similar to such instruments
executed by the rulers of other acceding states. There was no scope for
ifs and buts in it. According to it the accession was full, final and irrevocable
and not in any way conditional or provisional. It should have, therefore,
settled the questions of future of Jammu and Kashmir state once for all.
The problem created by Pak invasion could be effectively tackled by the
Indian armed forces.
Jawahar Lal Nehru
But one blunder
of Pt. Nehru virtually undid what accession had achieved. Lord Mountbatten
as constitutional head of the state wrote a letter to Hari Singh on October
27 in which he mooted the question of ascertaining the wishes of the people
of the state about accession to India after the Pak invaders were thrown
out. This letter was followed by a statement by Pt. Nehru to the same effect.
It was a grave blunder ramification of which have continued to cloud and
complicate an issue which was legally and constitutionally settled by the
acceptance of the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir state to India on
October 26, 1947. This reminds one of the well known couplet:
Woh Waqt bhi
at the spur of a moment proved to be a curse and punishment for centuries."
The offer of
plebiscite was uncalled for, irrelevant to the situation and illegal. There
was no provision in the instrument of Accession about it. It was outside
the ambit of the Act of Indian Independence of the British Parliament.
It was never accepted by the Maharaja who had absolute choice in the matter.
Nor was it demanded by Sh. Abdullah or any other leader of the State.
that Indian leaders were guided by the situation in Junagarh and Hyderabad
in making their offer is untenable because there was no analogy between
those states and the situation obtaining in Kashmir. Both Junagarh and
Hyderabad were not only overwhelmingly Hindu in population but also completely
surrounded on all sides by Indian territory. Therefore under the Mountbatten
plan they had no other choice but to accede to India. The only plausible
explanation therefore is that Lord Mountbatten made the suggestion about
plebiscite merely to placate Pakistan and Pt. Nehru accepted it for the
same reason. It was in keeping with his policy of appeasement of Muslim
League and Pakistan. Later, however, other explanation: such as refutation
of the two-nation theory by showing that a Muslim majority area was prepared
to remain in India of its own free will and thereby strengthening of secularism
in India have also been offered. But they are after thoughts.
provided Mr. Jinnah with an opportunity to politicize and internationalize
the military issue and convert his impending defeat on the battle field
into an eventual political and diplomatic victory. He sent a message to
Lord Mountbatten through Field Marshal Auchinleck on the 29th October,
1947 to meet him in conference at Lahore. It was a clever and astute move
to make the issue political while the invasion was still on and the possible
military decision could not be in his favor.
a realist and a practical man as he was, saw through Mr. Jinnah's game.
He opposed any Indian leader going to Lahore and warned against appeasing
Mr. Jinnah who was clearly the aggressor in Kashmir. He suggested that
if Mr. Jinnah wanted to discuss anything, he could come down to Delhi.
But his wise counsel was not heeded and Lord Mountbatten and Pt. Nehru
got ready to fly to Lahore on the 1st of November. Pt. Nehru, however,
had to drop out at the last moment due to indisposition.
At the Conference
Table Mr. Jinnah proposed that both sides should withdraw from Kashmir.
When Lord Mountbatten asked him to explain how the tribesman could be induced
to remove themselves Mr. Jinnah replied: "If you do this, I will call the
whole thing off." This made it absolutely clear that the so-called tribal
invasion was fully organized and controlled by the Pakistan Government.
formally made the offer of plebiscite to Mr. Jinnah at this Conference.
Mr. Jinnah objected that with Indian troops in their midst and with Sh.
Abdullah in power, the people of Kashmir would be far too frightened to
vote for Pakistan. Therefore Lord Mountbatten suggested a plebiscite under
the auspices of the U.N.O. This was a clear victory for Mr. Jinnah. He
had virtually got the effect of legal accession of the State to India nullified
and got Lord Mountbatten committed to a course of action which could only
internationalize an issue in which strictly speaking Pakistan had no locus
standi after the Maharaja had signed the Instrument of Accession and the
Government of India had accepted it.
Pt. Nehru ratified
the offer verbally made by Lord Mountbatten at Lahore in his broadcast
speech of November 2, 1947 in which he declared his readiness, after peace
and rule of law had been established, to have a referendum held under some
international auspices such as that of the United Nations.
on the part of the Government of India had, besides throwing the accession
of Kashmir to India open to question, two other important implications.
On the one hand it provided Pakistan with a second string to its bow. Conscious
of the strength of the appeal of religion to Muslims, it could now hope
to secure by the peaceful method of plebiscite what it failed to achieve
by force. On the other hand, it made the Government of India dependent
for the ratification of the accession through plebiscite on the goodwill
of Sheikh Abdullah whose position was changed from that of a suppliant
to that of an arbiter who must be kept in good humor at all costs. These
in their turn set in motion a chain of events and created a psychological
atmosphere in Kashmir which suited Pakistan.
Even this major
concession which gave Pakistan a whip hand in Kashmir, did not soften the
attitude of Mr. Jinnah and his Government who kept up their military pressure
through tribal hordes supported by regular Pakistani troops at a high pitch.
Even though the invaders had been thrown out of the valley, they maintained,
as described earlier, their advance in Jammu and the northern areas of
the State. The right and honorable course for India in the circumstances
was to discontinue all negotiations with Pakistan and concentrate on securing
a military decision. India, at that time, was definitely in a position
to secure a favorable military decision had it decided to attack the bases
of the invaders in Pakistan. But Pt. Nehru in his anxiety to keep the conflict
confined to Jammu & Kashmir State would not permit that. In this he
had the full support of the Governor General, Lord Mountbatten. Therefore,
the negotiations were continued even when Pakistani invaders were wantonly
attacking and occupying more and more territory.
between Pt. Nehru and Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan,
were held for the first time since Pakistani invasion began, on December
8, 1947 when the former visited Lahore along with Lord Mountbatten to attend
a meeting of the Joint Defense Council. But they proved abortive. Therefore
Lord Mountbatten who was growing apprehensive of the fighting in Kashmir
degenerating into full scale war between the two Dominions, a contingency
which he wanted to avoid at all costs, pressed Pt. Nehru to refer the matter
to the U.N.O. and invoke its good offices for a peaceful settlement of
Appeal to U.N.O.
Most of Pt.
Nehru's Cabinet colleagues were opposed to this suggestion for obvious
reasons. It amounted to inviting outside interference into a purely internal
and domestic problem and a tacit admission on the part of India of its
inability and incapacity to meet the situation created by the invaders.
But ultimately he had his way.
As a necessary
preliminary, he personally handed over a letter of complaint to Mr. Liaqat
Ali Khan on December 22, 1947 when the latter visited Delhi in connection
with another meeting of the Joint Defense Gouncil. It demanded that Pakistan
should deny to the invaders (i) all access to and use of Pakistan territory
for operations against Kashmir (ii) all military and other supplies and
(iii) all other kinds of aid that might tend to prolong the struggle.
Khan promised to send an early reply. But instead of doing that a fresh
invasion was launched in Jammu which forced an Indian brigade to fall back
to Nowshera from Jhangar, an important road junction in the western part
of Jammu region. The pressure on areas still nearer to Jammu city was also
stepped up. This made attack on the enemy bases in Pakistan an imperative
necessity to save Jammu and the supply line to Srinagar. But Pt. Nehru
was unwilling to do that. So, without waiting for a reply from Pakistan
which was being deliberately delayed, the Government of India formally
appealed to the U.N.O. under C'hapter 35 of the U.N. Charter on December
31, 1947 and nominated Shri Gopalaswamy Iyengar to lead the Indian Delegation
which was to include Sh. Abdullah also.
That very day,
but af ter the application to the U.N . Security Council had been despatched,
Liaqat Ali Khan's reply was received by the Government of India. It was
lengthy catalog of counter charges. It contained fantastic allegations
that the Government of India were out to destroy Pakistan, it also raised
the question of Jungarh. It gave clear indication of the line Pakistan
was going to take at the U.N.O. From the timing of the reply, it was evident
that Pakistan Government had its informers in the Indian Foreign Office
who kept it posted with the exact details of the Indian complaint and the
time of its despatch. This presence of Pakistani agents and informers in
the Indian Foreign Office is an advantage that continues to give Pakistan
an edge over India in diplomacy.
to the U.N.O. by India was the second major blunder on her part in handling
of the Kashmir question and was a clear diplomatic victory for Pakistan
which succeeded in politicizing an issue in which she had no locus standi.
It came as a surprise not only to the Indian public but also to all those
countries which had been looking upon the Kashmir question as an internal
affair of India. No self-respecting country would have voluntarily invited
the interference of foreign powers through the U.N.O. in an essentially
domestic affair like this. In doing so, the Government of India simply
played into the hands of Pakistan whose leaders found in it a God-sent
opportunity to malign India before the bar of world opinion by levelling
all kind of fantastic and baseless charges against her.
Council immediately put the issue on its agenda and discussion on it began
on January 15, 1948. But to the great disappointment of the Government
of India, instead of giving precedence to the Indian complaint about Pakistan's
hand in the invasion and putting pressure on Pakistan to stop aiding the
invaders, the security council from the very beginning put India and Pakistan
the victim of aggression and the aggressor, on the same footing and began
to consider Pakistan's counter-charges, which were quite unrelated to the
basic issue, along with the question of Pak aggresion on Jammu & Kashmir.
This was clear from the resolution moved by the Council President Dr. Von
Langhenhare of Belgium on January 20, 1948. The resolution provided that (i) a Commission of the Security Council be established composed of the
representatives of three members of the United Nations, one to be elected
by India, one by Pakistan and the third to be designated by the two so
elected: (ii) the Commission shall proceed to Jammu & Kashmir as soon
as possible to investigate the facts and secondly to exercise any mediatory
influence likely to smoothen the difficulties and (iii) the Commission
shall perform functions in regard to the situation in Jammu & Kashmir
and secondly in regard to other situations set out by Pakistan foreign
Minister in the Security Council.
In spite of
the objections of the Indian delegation that by bringing cther extraneous
issues raised by Pakistan within the purview of the Commission, the Security
Council was relegating the real issue to the background, the resolution
was passed with nine in favor and two, USSR and Ukraine, abstaining.
As the debate
proceeded, the President suggested that the Security Council might concentrate
its attention on the question of holding a plebiscite. This was fully in
accordance with Pakistan's line and was therefore duly supported by her
Foreign Minister and chief delegate, Mr. Zaffarullah Khan. Thereafter resolutions
and proposals began to be framed with that end in view.
the Chief Indian delegate, Mr. N. Gopala Swamy Ayyengar, to declare that
the Security Council was "putting the cart before the horse". The real
issue, he said, was to get the fighting in Jammu & Kashmir stopped
by pressing Pakistan to withdraw her support from the invaders. The question
of a plebiscite, he added could be taken up only when peace and normal
conditions had been restored. He further requested for adjournment of the
debates so that he might go back to India for further consultations. Even
this request for adjournment was opposed by most of the members of the
attitude of the Security Council came as a rude shock to the Government
of India and disillusioned even Pt. Nehru who had insisted on reference
being made to the U.N.O. against the advice of his colleagues. Speaking
at Jammu on February 15, 1948 he said, "Instead of discussing and deciding
our references in a straight forward manner, the nations of the world sitting
in that body got lost in power politics.'
of voting in the Security Council began to influence India's foreign policy
in favor of the bloc headed by the U.S.S.R. which further prejudiced the
Western countries against India in regard to the Kashmir question.
India's Failure at U.N.
But it would
be wrong to put the whole blame for this near unanimous disregard of Indian
complaint on the power politics of the two blocs which was reflected in
their attitude and voting at the U.N. on invariably all issues. India's
handling and presentation of the Kashmir issue was so faulty, unrealistic
and incoherent from the very beginning that it could not evoke any better
response even from well meaning and really impartial delegates. This bungling
on the part of India in handling a straightforward issue because of the
mental cobwebs of Pt. Nehru must be clearly understood for appreciation
of the Kashmir problem as it has since developed inside and outside the U.N.O.
From the purely
Indian point of view it was, as said above, wrong to refer the Kashmir
issue to the U.N.O. It was a domestic issue. Pakistan had committed unprovoked
aggression. India was in a position to handle the situation militarily.
It should have been left to Pakistan to invoke the interference of the U.N.O. to escape the thrashing it deserved. But instead of putting Pakistan
in a tight position, India decided to put her own head in the noose. It
was utter bankruptcy of leadership as well as statesmanship.
the decision to go to the U.N.O., the issue should have been put before
that body in its true perspective emphasising the fact of Pakistan's aggression
in Jammu and Kashmir State which had become an integral part of India after
accession in terms of the Mauntbatten Plan. India should have specifically
charged Pakistan of unprovoked aggression and not of mere abetment of aggression
by giving passage to tribal raiders through her territory. There was an
overwhelm ing evidence that the aggression had been committed by Pakistan
itself. By avoiding the specific charge of aggression in her complaint,
the Government of India compromised its own position before the Security
Council from the very beginning. Such a complaint could not create that
sense of urgency about the problem and the real issue of aggression in
the minds of Security Council members who were not supposed to know the
real situation and had, therefore, to be guided by the memoranda submitted
by the respeetive parties and their elucidation through the speeches in
If the Indian
plaint was wrong in so far as it underplayed Pakistan's hand behind the
invasion, its advocacy was worse. The man chosen to lead the Indian delegation,
N. Gopala Swamy-Ayyengar, was a good old man who had been Prime Minister
of Jammu and Kashmir for some years before 1944. But he was a novice to
the ways of U.N. diplomacy which is conducted more at informal meetings
and late night dinners and drinking parties than at the Council table.
He was an honest gentleman who believed in the Indian concept of "early
to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." He was
too honest and simple hearted to be a match for Pakistan's Zaffarullah
Khan, who, apart from being a leading jurist, was man of few scruples,
wide contacts and great eloquence. It is really surprising why Mehar Chand
Mahajan who as a jurist and a debater was more than a match for Pakistan's
Zaffrullah, was not chosen for the job. Being the Prime Minister of the
State during the days of Pakistani invasion, he was best suited to rebutt
the baseless charges and lies of Pakistan. The only explanation for this
lapse is that he was a persona non grata with Pt. Nehru who often gave
preference to his own likes and dislikes over the interests of his country.
To make things
worse, the Indian delegation included Sh. Abdullah, "a flamboyant personality"
about whom Campbell Johnson, the gifted press Attache of Lord Mountbatten,
had predicted that he would "Swamp the boat of India." He was more interested
in projecting himself and running down the Maharaja, who was the real legal
sanction behind Kashmir's accession to India, and Dogra Hindus than in
pleading the cause of India.
No wonder therefore
that the statements and speeches made by him on different occasions as
also the statements and speeches of Pt. Nehru provided Zafarullah with
the stick to beat India with.
Even more inexplicable
was the failure of the Indian spokesmen to lay proper stress on the fact
of accession by the Maharaja which in itself was full, final and irrevocable
and from which all the rights of the Government of India flowed. They harped
on the "will of the people of Kashmir" and India's offer to them to give
their verdict about the accession through a plebiscite after peace had
been restored there.
of the Security Council as also world opinion in general had not been properly
educated regarding the true facts of the Kashmir situation. The external
publicity of the Government of India in this as in other matters was halting
and hesitating. The government of India itself appeared to be apologetic
about the acceptance of Kashmir's accession. It felt shy of telling to
the world the atrocities committed by Pakistani and local Muslims on the
Hindus of the State. It was as anxious to run down the Maharaja as were Sh. Abdullah and Pakistan. It wanted to build its case entirely on the
popular support of the people of Kashmir regarding the question of accession
rather than on the ract of accession itself.
Government and its delegates at the U.N.O. on the other hand were aggressively
assertive about their baseless and unrelated charges against India and
blatantly emphatic in their denial of the Indian charge about aiding the
Tribal invaders. In the face of Pakistan's categorical denial and Government
of India's apologetic and hesitating approach the first impression on world
opinion as also on the U.N. circles was distinctly pro-Pakistan and anti-India.
the added advantage of Gilgit on her side. The strategic importance of
Gilgit in the overall western strategy to contain Soviet Union was immense
and the British were fully conscious of it. Pakistan could treat it as
a bargaining counter to win the support of the Western bloc for itself.
favorable attitude of the Communist delegates toward India from the very
beginning had also something to do with Gilgit. Control of Gilgit and Kashmir
Valley by the Western Bloc through Pakistan was considered by Russia a
major threat to her armament industries which had been shifted during the
World War II to the east of the Ural Mountains. They were within easy reach
of Gilgit based bombers. This fact, coupled with the dominant position
of pro- Communist elements in Sh. Abdullah's Government who wanted to use
Kashmir as a spring-board for Communist revolution in India, influenced
Communist Russia to take the side she did. This in its turn helped Pakistan
to get further ingratiated with the Western Bloc which had the upper hand
in the Security C ouncil.
that was set in the early debates in the Security Council was reflected
in the composition of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan-
UNCIP. India chose Czechoslovakia from the Com munist block and Pakistan
chose Argentina, and when Pakistan and India failed to agree about their
common nominee, the Council President named the USA. The Security Council
further decided to raise the strength of the UNCIP to five by nominating
two more members-Belgium and Colombia to it.
that the Commission should also go into the question of Jungarh, genocide
and certain other prcblems arising out of the partition of India. The USA
and Britain helped Pakistan to get these issues discussed in the Security
Council. On June 3, 1948, the Council President submitted a resolution
which proposed that the commission be directed to proceed without delay
to the area of disput and besides the question of Jammu and Kashmir, study
and report to the Security Council when it considers appropriate, on the
matters raised in the letter of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan dated
January 15, 1948.
was passed by the Security Council with USSR, Ukraine and Nationalist China
of the scope of the UNCIP evoked strong protests from the Indian delegation
and the Indian Government. It was even suggested that India should withdraw
its complaint from the UN and walk out of it. But, ultimately, the Government
of India agreed to receive the Commission and cooperate with it.
The UNCIP arrived
in India on July 10, 1948 and began discussions with representatives of
India and Pakistan. The Pakistan Government which had so far denied any
complicity whatsoever in the invasion of Kashmir now found it impossible
to hide the facts any longer. Therefore, her Foreign Minister Zafarullah
Khan, informed the Commission that regular Pakistan troops had moved "into
certain defensive positions" in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. It created
an entirely new situation. It more than substantiated the original eomplaint
of India and clearly brought out Pakistan as an aggressor. It necessitated
a review of the situation "de novo." It put the question of plebiscite
which had been projected to the forefront by Pakistan in the Security Council
in the background for the time being and brought home to the Commission
the urgency of getting the hostilities stopped first, a point which India
had been stressing all along.
On August 13,
1948, the Commission, therefore, formulated and presented to the Government
of India and Pakistan a resolution which called upon both sides to stop
fighting which was to be followed by a Truce Agreement after which plebiscite
was to be conducted in the State under the auspices of a plebiscite administrator
to be appointed by the UN to determine the will of the people about the
acession of the State. It asked Pakistan to withdraw her troops as a first
step towards the creation of conditions in which plebiscite would be held.
this resolution after obtaining certain clarifications as it vindicated
her stand that Pakistan being the aggressor must withdraw her troops first.
She particularly stressed the "end of early withdrawal of Pakistani troops
from the Northern areas where a garrison of State troops in the fort of
Askardu was still holding out against heavy odds.
wanted certain clarifications particularly in regard to the position of
the so called "Azad Kashmir" Gcvernment which it had set up in the occupied
areas of the State. She also wanted to know the clarifications furnished
by the Commission to India and Indian acceptance of the clarifications
given by the Commission to her before she could accept the said resolution.
was thus procastinating, the Commission returned to Geneva in September
1948 where it drew up its report which was submitted to the Security Council
in November 1948. It admitted in its report that admission by Pakistan
about the presence of her troops in Jammu & Kashmir and her overall
control of all Pakistani troops and Tribals fighting there had "confronted
the Commission with an unforeseen and entirely new situation". It therefore
recommended that as a first step toward the final solution of the dispute,
the Pakistan Government should be asked to withdraw its forces from the
This has not
been done by Pakistan so far.
Coucil resumed its debate on Kashmir on November 25, 1948. It unanimously
appealed to India and Pakistan to stop fighting in Kashmir and do nothing
to aggravate the situation or endanger the current negotiations.
resolution Dr. Alfred Lozano, a member of the UNCIP, and Dr. Erik Colban,
personal representative of the UN Secretary General again visited New Delhi
and Karachi to discuss with the two Governments certain proposals supplementary
to the resolution of August 13, 1948. They dealt with appointment of a
Plebiscite Administrator and certain principles which were to govern the
holding of a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir after normal conditicns had
of Conference between them and the Prime Minister of Inldia and Pakistan
followed, Pt. Nehru asked and obtained certain clarifications from Dr.
Lozano which were later published by India in the form of an aide memoire
setting out the Indian point of view in greater detail. Dr. Lozano returned
to New York on December 26, to report to the Security Council.
he left, the Government of India without waiting for any further initiative
from the U.N.C.I.P. or the Security Council ordered a cease fire to be
operative from the midnight of January 1, 1949. Pakistan reciprocated.
This brought to an abrupt end the undeclared war between the two Dominions
which had continued for nearly 15 months.