India would be willing to accept the 1949 ceasefire line as international boundary, the CIA reported at the time
Srinagar: The clock seems to be struck in the 1960s as far as India’s position on Kashmir is concerned. According to a secret report titled “A special report on India and Pakistan: Two years after Tashkent,” dated January 26, 1968, made public by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of America this year, the intelligence agency had reported that India puts forward three arguments to hold on to Kashmir: to strengthen the Congress party’s concept of a secular Indian Union; to maintain defence against China; and to maintain nationalist sentiment for success in electoral politics.
“India has held the lion’s share of Kashmir including the sought after vale, and has had the muscle to maintain possession. Over the years, India gradually proceeded to integrate its portion of Kashmir into the Indian union, and also provided the state with considerable financial assistance,” the CIA document reads.
The CIA reported in its documents that some of New Delhi’s arguments on Kashmir are rooted in Gandhian ideology that has long shaped the Congress party’s concept of the Indian Union. “According to this view, independent India was to be a secular state, whose strength would be derived from the cooperative efforts of the vast array of different religious and ethnic groups. To many, agreement to the partitioning of the sub-continent was an unfortunate departure from this ideal, and to allow a further secessionism from the union on the basis of religion would imperil the national integrity,” the CIA document reads.
The document notes that the concept of the Indian Union was strong especially in the “north of India, the region from which most of the Congress leadership is drawn.”
The CIA document reported that after 1962 (when the India-China war took place), New Delhi added another argument to hold on to the Kashmir territory. “After 1962, India added another argument, this one based on its military strategy relative to China. India needs Jammu-Srinagar-Leh road, running through the heart of the vale of Kashmir, to supply a division of troops standing guard in the Ladakh area of Kashmir, an important area for India’s defence against the Chinese in Tibet and Sinkiang,” the document states.
The CIA report said that “domestic political considerations lie behind all these arguments.”
“Nationalist sentiments in India oppose any settlement that would involve compromise on the present situation. Congress party rulers, whose parliamentary majority was sharply reduced in last year’s elections, are well aware that too many concessions to Pakistan could bring the downfall of their rule. This is all the more true because of the recent gains registered by such nationalistic parties as the Jan Sangh,” the document says.
The CIA reported that even as India had rejected plebiscite or outright independence for Kashmir, India would be probably willing to accept a settlement that involved some minor adjustments to the 1949 ceasefire line, which would then become the international boundary between India and Pakistan.
“Such a settlement would hardly satisfy Pakistan, however, in as much India will still hold the vale,” the CIA document states.
The CIA report said that Pakistan’s principal position from the beginning has been based primarily on extending to Kashmir the principle of religious separation that was behind the partition of India.
“Pakistan itself had been created in order to allow Muslims to live in their own country, free from repression and discrimination at the hands of the Hindu majority. Therefore they argue, the people of Kashmir, who are predominantly Muslim, should have the opportunity to incorporate their land into Pakistan, if they wish, an opportunity denied to them by the Hindu Maharaja’s accession to India in 1947,” the report says.
Pakistan’s argument, though, was not altogether altruistic, the CIA mentioned. “If so predominantly a Muslim area as Kashmir were to remain in the Indian union, the principle behind the original partition of India would be undermined. Consequently, Pakistan’s right to exist will be more questionable in the minds of some Indians. Furthermore, Pakistanis maintain that Kashmir is economically a logical extension of West Pakistan. The headwaters of many of the rivers vital to West Pakistan’s agriculture are in Kashmir, and the easiest trade route from Srinagar leads into Pakistan. Political motivations are also at work. No government in Pakistan could entirely abandon a strong stand on Kashmir and survive, anymore than the Congress in India,” the CIA report said.
The secret CIA report was prepared two years after the Tashkent agreement between India and Pakistan. The Tashkent Declaration was a peace agreement between India and Pakistan signed on January 10, 1966, that resolved the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965.