Why does India want Kashmir?
From the day of partition of independent India in 1947, both India and Pakistan have claimed Kashmir. These claims were centered on historical and religious reasons. Two-thirds of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is controlled by India, and one-third of it is administered by Pakistan.
India’s claim on the Kashmir state is based on the agreement between the then Prime minister of India and Maharaja of Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to be neutral with Pakistan and India. India agreed to it, but Pakistan wanted to occupy Kashmir, and started invading the state. They killed a lot of people in Kashmir, and wanted the Maharaja Hari Singh to flee to India. Maharaja has requested India’s help in this regard, and wanted the Indian government to rescue his people from Pakistani invaders. He also agreed to make Kashmir part of India.
The then prime minister was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He agreed for Kashmir’s accession to India, and promised that he will rescue the Kashmir people from Pakistani raiders. The war started, and the Indian army managed to drive the Pakistani troops for quite a long distance. However, a large area of Kashmir remained under the control of Pakistan, as there were tall mountains which did not allow the Indian troops to reach there. India stopped fighting, and wanted the United Nations to ask Pakistan to retrieve their troops. India also alleged Pakistan for having disturbed a neutral state, and which legally merged with India. United Nations ordered Pakistan to withdraw their forces. It also asked India to take the opinion of Kashmir people about their liking to stay in India or Pakistan.
When the prime minister attempted to take the people’s opinion through a process called plebiscite, Pakistanis vacated all the people in their region so that they could not favor their vote for India. So Pakistan had forcibly grabbed a part of the state. Pakistan did not release that area, even when Britain and US wanted them to do it. From then onwards, Kashmir is known as ‘disputed territory’.
India wanted Kashmir because it was legally handed over to India by Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh.