Kashmir is arguably one of the most contentious and complex issues in South Asia today. It has persisted for more than 50 years despite wars, summits and declarations, and seems to be as intractable as ever.
This important book sheds fresh light on the genesis of the problem and examines the consequences of the often ignored fact that British officers commanded the armed forces of both India and Pakistan at that time. Based on documents that have now been declassified, it reveals the roles played by Mountbatten and the British service chiefs in India and Pakistan during the Kashmir War of 1947-48.
Among the important questions Mr. Dasgupta addresses and answers are:
- Why India took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations.
- Why India did not carry the war into Pakistan.
- The reasons India accepted a ceasefire.
- The interplay between diplomatic and military developments.
The author begins with an account of British policy—military and diplomatic towards the two dominions. Drawing on British archival material he goes on to discuss:
- The evolution of British policy on Kashmir.
- The role played by the western powers in the Security Council.
- The clandestine guidance received by the C-in-C of the Indian forces from Mountbatten and the British authorities.
- The secret understanding between the two C-in-C and the attempt made by General Bucher to negotiate an informal truce with his counterpart in Pakistan.
- How Mountbatten used and abused his authority to ensure that the Kashmir issue did not escalate into a full-scale inter-domain war.
Analysing the role of the great powers in third world conflict, this exciting and insightful book will be of great interest both to the lay reader and to those involved in international studies, political science, modern Indian and Military history, strategic affairs, conflict/peace studies and South Asian politics.