Why has the valley of Kashmir, famed for its beauty and tranquillity, become a major flashpoint? Given the location of the state of Jammu and Kashmir on the borders of China and Central Asia, the insurgency in the valley threatens the stability of a region of great strategic importance, challenging the integrity of the Indian union and creating potentially disastrous tensions between India and Pakistan which may yet escalate into a greater regional conflict. Kashmir in the Crossfire offers a very readable, carefully documented but highly accessible account of the origins, development and implications of this contentious issue. Beginning with the early history of the independent kingdom of Kashmir, Schofield traces the origins of the modern state in the 19th century, including the controversial ‘sale’ by the British of a predominantly Muslim Kashmir to a Hindu ruler in 1846. She examines the implications for the people when in 1947 the Maharaja came to choose between joining Muslim Pakistan and secular, yet majority Hindu, India and shows why both neighboring countries, India and Pakistan, continue to argue over the status of Jammu and Kashmir which, according to recommendations passed by the UN, was to be determined by the will of the people. Drawing upon research in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, Pakistan, and a range of historical sources, Schofield analyses critically the actions of the key players who, throughout its history, have contributed to the current militarization of the valley. And with the help of numerous interviews she takes into account the hopes and fears of all the interested parties — Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are themselves divided, not only by their linguistic and cultural traditions, but also in their objectives.
Publisher: I.B.TAURIS PUBLISHERS LONDON