What was the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947?

Introduction

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948, sometimes known as the First Kashmir War, was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1947 to 1948.

Background

It was the first of four Indo-Pakistan Wars fought between the two newly independent nations. Pakistan precipitated the war a few weeks after independence by launching tribal lashkar (militia) from Waziristan, in an effort to capture Kashmir, the future of which hung in the balance. The inconclusive result of the war still affects the geopolitics of both countries.

Brief History

The Maharaja faced an uprising by his Muslim subjects in Poonch, and lost control of the western districts of his kingdom. On 22 October 1947, Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal militias crossed the border of the state. These local tribal militias and irregular Pakistani forces moved to take Srinagar, but on reaching Baramulla, they took to plunder and stalled. Maharaja Hari Singh made a plea to India for assistance, and help was offered, but it was subject to his signing an Instrument of Accession to India.

The war was initially fought by the Jammu and Kashmir State Forces and by tribal militias from the Frontier Tribal Areas adjoining the North-West Frontier Province. Following the accession of the state to India on 26 October 1947, Indian troops were airlifted to Srinagar, the state capital. The British commanding officers initially refused the entry of Pakistani troops into the conflict, citing the accession of the state to India. However, later in 1948, they relented and the Pakistani armies entered the war after this. The fronts solidified gradually along what came to be known as the Line of Control. A formal cease-fire was declared at 23:59 on the night of 31 December 1948 and became effective on the night of 01 January 1949.

Outcome

The result of the war was inconclusive.

However, most neutral assessments agree that India was the victor of the war as it was able to successfully defend about two-thirds of the Kashmir including Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh.

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