Kashmir is a region in the north east of the Indian subcontinent and is part of the Himalayas.
Combined with the bordering regions (comp. to the map) Kashmir compasses an area of 222.000 square kilometers which is comparable to the size of the British island and is populated by 10 million people. The majority of the population is Muslim but there is a Hindu minority.
Three nations control parts of the area: India, Pakistan and China. The Indian territories are the biggest with about 43% of the area, followed by Pakistan controlling 37%, and China occupying 20%.
Because of religious conflicts Kashmir has been part of territorial disputes for more than 70 years between Pakistan and India. The Independence of Pakistan and India in 1947 established a conflict around the Muslim domains in the northern parts of the former British colony. Pakistan claims that the alignment of Kashmir to the Indian Union was illegitimate since Kashmir is mainly populated by Muslims. India stresses that this process was legal and the free choice of the reigning lords who decided about their principality’s future membership (Pakistan or the Indian Union).
China’s involvement in the conflict was marked by the occupation of Aksai Chin (comp. to map) during boundary disputes between China and India in 1962. As a consequence the region was integrated into the Chinese dominion. India demands the restitution of these territories. In order to urge China to return Aksai Chin, India searched for support by the Soviet Union. China reacted by cooperating with Pakistan.
Other the years there have been two Indo-Pakistani wars in 1947 and 1965 and the War in 1999 beside several border conflicts between both countries as well as between India and China. The territories of all three countries are highly militarized.
Furthermore Al-Qaeda is active in the Kashmir area declaring the war against Hinduism.
The economy of Kashmir is embossed by agriculture but other economic sectors start to grow as well. The famous textile fabric “cashmere” is named after the region and is an important export product.
Nevertheless the interest into Kashmir is not economically motivated but it is a fight for influence in the area between the involved countries. Moreover is this conflict driven by Hinduism and Islam fighting for predominance in Kashmir and the bordering regions.
The election of Narendra Modi for Indian Prime Minister in 2014 was a moment of hope for a deescalation of the Kashmir conflict. Because of the Prime Minister’s popularity and his peaceful ideas, it seemed possible that he would be able to establish a bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan. But his attempts failed to improve the situation and after combats in Kashmir Modi ended the dialogue in 2016.
Since then there is a constantly heated situation between Pakistan and India which is underlined by attacks of both parties against the other.
Furthermore India faces internal problems in Kashmir. The population rebels against the high military presence and the resulting constant observation of the people. The assassination of a young rebel activist provocted (partly violant) protests by young people.
Issues of the Security Council:
The Kashmir Conflict is destabilizing the region of Kashmir and the danger of war between the involved countries is still present. India and Pakistan as well as China are nuclear powers and possess very modern armies.
The Security Council has to find a solution which helps the population of Kashmir, deescalates the religious conflict between Hinduism and Islam and establish a bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as well as a dialogue between India and China.