The Kashmir & Jammu Conflict

Potential war between the nuclear powers of India and Pakistan may be born from conflict over the Kashmir & Jammu region.


Andrew Bielecki

On February 14th, more than 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in the contested region of Kashmir and Jammu. The attack was the most deadly in the three decade long conflict over the region. India claimed that the attack was carried out by Pakistan-based separatists.

Following the attack, India declared that it would be taking “all possible diplomatic steps” to isolate Pakistan from the international community. In retaliation, on February 26th, India launched air strikes at military bases in Pakistani territory. Pakistan denied that the raids caused major damage, but promised to respond to the provocation.

On February 27th, Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force jets within its airspace. Many in both India and Pakistan feared that war would arise over the control over the disputed territory. On Twitter, the #SayNoToWar campaign begun, with both sides calling for peace talks and deescalation.

The conflict over the region however was not born of recent disputes. In 1947, when the British granted independence to India, West Pakistan, East Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, the conflict over Kashmir and Jammu’s allegiance began. Under the Indian Independence Act, Kashmir and Jammu was allowed to vote to join either West Pakistan (now Pakistan) or India. When the princely state chose India, a 2 year war began between India and Pakistan.

A 2nd war occured in 1965, and another conflict came in 1999 when India fought against Pakistan-backed forces. Following that period of open conflict, both nations have declared themselves to be nuclear powers, and are considered to be willing enough to use their nuclear arms in open conflict. Conflict looms over Kashmir and Jammu, and the future of the region is uncertain.