Jammu and Kashmir

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Kashmir

Kashmir (kăshmērˈ, kăshˈmēr), region and former princely state, 85,714 sq mi (222,236 sq km), NW India, NE Pakistan, and SW China. Kashmir is bordered on the west by Pakistan, on the south by India, and on the north and east by China. The region is now divided into the Indian union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (2011 pop. 12,258,433), 16,309 sq mi (42,241 sq km), with its summer capital at Srinagar and its winter capital at Jammu, and Ladakh (2011 pop. 290,492), 22,836 sq mi (59,146 sq km), with its administrative headquarters at Leh; the Pakistani-controlled areas (1981 est. pop. 1,980,000) Azad Kashmir, 2,169 sq mi (5,619 sq km), with its capital at Muzaffarabad, and Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly the Northern Areas, 27,991 sq mi (72,496 sq km), with its capital at Gilgit; and the largely uninhabited Chinese-controlled areas, 16,481 sq mi (42,685 sq km), within Xinjiang and Tibet.

Land, Economy, and Government

A beautiful region of S Asia, Kashmir is covered with lofty, rugged mountains, including sections of the Himalayan and Karakorum ranges. Rivers, including the Indus, run through relatively narrow but heavily populated valleys. The valley of the Jhelum River, the celebrated Vale of Kashmir, is the most populous area and the economic heart of the region; it produces abundant crops of wheat and rice. The noted handicraft industry, particularly the making of woolen cloth and shawls (cashmeres) has declined. Tourism grew in importance during the 1960s but was adversely affected in Indian Kashmir by civil strife that began in the late 1980s. The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has a unicameral legislature, but Ladakh does not; both have lieutenant governors appointed by the president of India.

History

In the late 14th cent., after years of Buddhist and Hindu rule, Kashmir was conquered by Muslims who converted most of the population. It became part of the Mughal empire in 1586, but by 1751 the local ruler was independent. After a century of disorder the British pacified Kashmir in 1846 and installed a Hindu prince as ruler of the predominantly Muslim region.

When India was partitioned in 1947, Muslim forces from Pakistan invaded Kashmir. The Hindu ruler fled to Delhi and there agreed to place Kashmir under the dominion of India; the region was given semiautonomy. Indian troops were flown to Srinagar to engage the Pakistani forces. The fighting was ended by a UN cease-fire in 1949, but the region was divided between India and Pakistan along the cease-fire line. A constituent assembly in Indian Kashmir voted in 1953 for incorporation into India, but this was delayed by continued Pakistani-Indian disagreement and UN disapproval of the disposition of any portion of the region without a plebiscite. In 1955, India and Pakistan agreed to keep their respective forces in Kashmir 6 mi (10 km) apart.

A new vote by the assembly in Indian Kashmir in 1956 led to the integration of Kashmir as an Indian state; Azad Kashmir remained, however, under the control of Pakistan. India refused to consider subsequent Pakistani protests and UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite. The situation was complicated in 1959, when Chinese troops occupied the Aksai Chin section of the district of Ladakh. Indian-Pakistani relations became more inflamed in 1963 when a Sino-Pakistani agreement defined the Chinese border with Pakistani Kashmir and ceded Indian-claimed territory to China.

Serious fighting between India and Pakistan broke out again in Aug., 1965. A UN cease-fire took effect in September. In Jan., 1966, President Ayub Khan of Pakistan and Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri of India met at Tashkent at the invitation of the Soviet government and agreed to the mutual withdrawal of troops to the positions held before the latest outbreak. In the Dec., 1971, war between India and Pakistan, India made some gains in fighting in Kashmir. In Dec., 1972, a new cease-fire line along the positions held at the end of the 1971 war was agreed to by India and Pakistan.

In the late 1980s, Muslim resistance to Indian rule escalated, with some militants supporting independence and others union with Pakistan. A rigged election (1987) sparked violence, and the legislature was subsequently suspended. In 1990 direct presidential rule was imposed. Plans to hold elections in 1995 were abandoned following the burning of an important Muslim shrine and its surrounding town and riots in Srinagar. Fighting again erupted in May, 1999, when India launched air strikes and then ground action against infiltrators from Pakistan. After heavy losses on both sides, a cease-fire was reached in mid-July.

Kashmiri legislation restoring the state's pre-1953 autonomy and negotiations betweeen India and one of the Muslim militant groups proved short-lived in 2000. Kashmir guerrilla attacks in 2002 threatened to spark a broader conflict between India and Pakistan. Despite such attacks, credible elections were held in October, leading to a new government that favored negotiating with the separatists; subsequent elections have also been generally credible, though separatists have boycotted the polls and there have at times been clashes associated with the voting. In 2005 bus service between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir was established for the first time since partition; the move, which led to attacks by militants opposed to it, was intended to help normalize relations.

Kashmir, especially the Pakistani section, was hard-hit by an earthquake in Oct., 2005. Of the tens of thousands of deaths in Kashmir, more than 95% of them occurred in Pakistan. Border-crossing restrictions were eased following the quake to facilitate relief efforts. Improved relations between Pakistan and India lessened the violence in Kashmir, but since 2008 there has been an upsurge in protests and demonstrations by proindependence Muslims and often violent confrontations between security forces and civilian protesters, recurring conflict with Muslim rebels, and generally increased Hindu-Muslim tensions in the region (aggravated in part by increased Hindu nationalism in India generally). Clashes along the Indo-Pakistani border also increased. In 2012 a nonbinding Indian mediation panel report was critical of the military's harsh rule but rejected autonomy for Kashmir. An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989.

In 2019 the Indian government abolished the constitutionally guaranteed semiautonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, and divided it into two federally administered union territories, creating the newly established Ladakh from the eastern districts of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time the Indian government imposed a severe military clamp down on the area and restricted communications. Many of the restrictions continued into 2020, when when the supreme court ruled that indefinite Internet shutdowns were illegal and called for a review of government restrictions imposed on Kashmir.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jammu and Kashmir

 

(Kashmir), a territory in South Asia. Area, 222,000 sq km. Population approximately 5 million. Under the Indian constitution, Jammu and Kashmir is a state in the Republic of India. The chief city is Srinagar. A part of Jammu and Kashmir is controlled by the government of Pakistan.

Natural features. The territory of Jammu and Kashmir is crossed from northwest to southeast by high mountain ridges that are part of the Karakoram Range and the western Himalayas. There are glaciers, and on the slopes there are coniferous and broad-leaved forests. In the northeast the climate is mountain subtropical, which is dry with below-freezing winters. The southwest is monsoonal and warm. The important rivers are the Indus, with its tributary the Gilgit, and the Jhelum. The best developed and economically the most important area is the fertile Vale of Kashmir, located in the southwest at an elevation of approximately 1,600 m, between the Pir Panjal Range and the Great Himalayas.

Economy. More than 80 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture. The sown area totals approximately 700,000 hectares (ha), of which 312,000 ha are irrigated. Concentrated in the Vale of Kashmir is one-third of all the arable land and most of the staple crops—rice (area sown, 239,000 ha; yield in 1968-69, 487,000 tons), wheat (200,000 ha sown; 210,000 tons), and corn (241,000 ha sown; 222,000 tons). Market gardens, orchards (walnuts, almonds, apples, pears, peaches, and other fruits), and plantations of medicinal herbs are of commercial importance. The range breeding of sheep (1.2 million head), goat raising (600,000 head), cattle raising (1.8 million head), and buffalo raising (400,000 head in 1966) also play an important part in the economy. A traditional occupation is the raising of silkworms.

The principal export from Jammu and Kashmir to other areas of the country is timber. Resin is collected in the forests, and fur resources are exploited (otters and leopards). Hydroelectric power resources are estimated at 6.6 million kilowatts, with a total power station capacity of approximately 44,000 kilowatts (1969). There is extensive cottage industry producing rugs, shawls, embroidery, jewelry, and items made of wood, papier-mâhe, and leather. There are silk-reeling and woolen mills, woodworking and machine shops, and leather and rug workshops in Jammu and Kashmir.

The mild climate and scenic landscapes of the Vale of Kashmir have won it fame as an international tourist attraction.

G. V. SDASIUK

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Jammu and Kashmir

the official name for the part of Kashmir under Indian control
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005