A Brief History of the Kashmir Conflict

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from The Wall Street Journal,

India and Pakistan both have laid claim to the territory since the end of British rule, giving rise to hostilities and the current clash.

India and Pakistan are still haunted by their violent births, in 1947, when British colonial rulers abruptly departed amid killing sprees between Hindu and Muslim populations.

The subcontinent was divided messily along religious lines, with Pakistan meant to be a home for most Muslims.

That left deep scars, including in the mountainous region of Kashmir, which was claimed by both India and Pakistan after their creation. Each country seized part of Kashmir, administering their portion ever since.

Kashmir was a Muslim-majority area, but its ruler opted to join India. That led to competing claims for the territory that are at the heart of decades of tensions. Kashmir was again the flashpoint this month, after India put blame for a bombing on a Pakistan-based jihadist group.

India and Pakistan fought full-scale wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971. But then both countries acquired nuclear weapons, which has deterred them from pursuing an all-out war that could threaten mutual annihilation. A smaller, short-lived conflict erupted in 1999, but that was confined to Kashmir.

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