In a scenario where decision-making was highly personalized, once Bhutto gave Ayub Khan the assurance that India would confine the fighting to Kashmir, he gave it the go-ahead. The question then arises: who gave Bhutto the guarantee that, come what may, the Indians would be constrained to fight only in J&K? The answer probably lies with China or, more precisely, with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.
The Treaty of Amritsar, between the East India Company and the Dogra ruler, Raja Gulab Singh on 16 March 1846 was a watershed, for it not only created the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir under the suzerainty of the British Indian Empire, it also virtually defined the southern, eastern and western boundaries of a new political creation that elevated the Dogras into being the key players controlling northern India.
Given the nature of the terrain, the Indo-Tibet boundary was always going to be a problem. Apart from its vastness—extending from the Karakorams in the west to the area beyond the Lohit River in the east—the actual demarcation could never be done.
His fighting credentials apart, Gulab Singh’s overall grasp of the strategic situation in northern India at that time was quite extraordinary.
A recap of major events during the early period extending from Ashoka to Ranjit Singh helps us to understand the region and the importance of modern day frontiers better.
A hundred years have passed since the diabolical plan to split India was first conceived and tabled, and yet successive generations in both India and Pakistan, and in Kashmir, have failed to see the truth for what it is.
‘The corruption levels in the state has created an economic disparity which is going to create mayhem! The administration has forgotten what happened in 1947 and 65. Money is pouring in, but it never goes beyond a select few.’
The army chief, General Shankar Roy Chaudhuri saw the tapes, so did the PM, Narasimha Rao. Lt Gen Padmanabhan was the DGMI (later chief) and we screened the four tapes shot with the Hizbul, unedited, to a select group of Ambassadors and Military Attaches and editors.