Feb 25, 2020 - World

Timeline: The India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir

A soldier with people fleeing behind him

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The deadly protests during President Trump's visit to India between Muslims and Hindus over a new citizenship law, which critics say is anti-Muslim, are the latest clashes between adherents of the two religions.

The big picture: Predominantly Hindu India officially removed special privileges in August for its only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir region, exacerbating tensions with Pakistan.

  • The dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, which lies between India and Pakistan and is partially controlled by both countries, dates back seven decades. It has sparked three wars and sporadic threats of nuclear conflict.
  • India is now attempting to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting Pakistan to warn of “impending genocide.”


Two empty thrones for the British colonial rulers of the Indian subcontinent
Photo: Margaret Bourke-White/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
  • 1947: Britain gives up colonial control of the Indian subcontinent and divides the territory into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, sparking one of the largest human migrations in history.
    • Between 12 million and 15 million people fled to either India or Pakistan.
    • The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir briefly asserts its independence before agreeing to join India in exchange for help putting down a Pakistan-supported insurgency.
    • Both countries claim control over the territory, and the first Kashmir War begins in October.
  • 1949: The United Nations negotiates a ceasefire line to end the fighting and recommends a referendum to determine control of Kashmir. The referendum is never held.
    • India emerges from the conflict with control of 65% of Kashmir, and Pakistan takes the rest.


  • 1954: Article 35A of the Indian Constitution secures the "special status" of Jammu and Kashmir, which maintained significant autonomy upon joining India. The law grants the state control over land ownership and residency status, per the BBC.


  • 1965: India and Pakistan fight a second war in Kashmir. It begins, according to India, after thousands of Pakistani soldiers cross the ceasefire line dressed as Kashmiri locals. India then invades Pakistan.
  • 1966: The war ends in a stalemate as the two countries agree to the pre-war territory lines, per the U.S. State Department.


Freedom fighters with guns
Pro-independence fighters after capturing an alleged informant in modern-day Bangladesh. Photo: Michael Brennan/Getty Images
  • 1972: Pakistani and Indian leaders reach what becomes known as the Simla Agreement, establishing the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. It's a provisional border.
  • 1974: India tests a nuclear weapon.


1989 photo of police taking positions in the street
Photo: Habib Naqash/AFP/Getty Images
  • 1989: Muslim groups form an armed resistance against Indian rule in Kashmir after accusing authorities of rigging elections, per Al Jazeera.


Indian and Pakistani prime ministers meet for peace talks in 1999
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (right) and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meet in Lahore, Pakistan, to discuss peace. Photo: Arun Jetlie/Hindustan Times/Getty Images
  • 1990s: Separatists fight against Indian rule throughout the 1990s. Fighters from Afghanistan join the conflict following the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Between 1990 and 1994, about 5,000 people are killed, according to Al Jazeera.
  • 1998: Pakistan conducts its first nuclear weapons test.
  • 1999: India's and Pakistan's prime ministers meet in Lahore to sign the countries’ first major agreement since 1972.
    • Months later, the Kargil War breaks out, in which India retakes an occupied area on its side of the LoC.


Memorial after 2008 Mumbai attack
People gather at a memorial to remember the people who died in the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks. Photo: Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times/Getty Images
  • 2001: Tensions are high along the LoC after a series of attacks, per the Washington Post.
  • 2003: The countries agree to return to the de facto border, the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • 2008: India and Pakistan open some trade routes twice a week across the L0C, according to the Wilson Center.
    • Members of a Pakistan-based terror group kill 165 people during a three-day siege of hotels in Mumbai, India, prompting India to call off peace talks, Al Jazeera notes.


  • Feb. 14: In the deadliest attack against soldiers in nearly three decades, 44 Indian paramilitary officers are killed in Kashmir, reports Reuters.
  • Feb. 23: The Indian government arrests at least 150 separatists in Kashmir following other attacks, Al Jazeera says.
  • Aug. 5: India revokes constitutional provisions guaranteeing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and brings the state under direct rule.
  • Aug. 7: Pakistan downgrades diplomatic ties with India and suspends trade.
  • Aug. 13: The Indian Supreme Court determines the lockdown in Kashmir should continue so authorities can restore order, the Washington Post reports.
  • Aug. 16: The UN Security Council discusses Kashmir for the first time since 1971 but does not agree on a statement.
  • Sept. 4: A man dies after being injured while protesting in Indian-administered Kashmir — the first death officials confirmed, reports Reuters.
  • Sep. 12: New government data shows Indian officials have arrested nearly 4,000 people in Indian-administered Kashmir since taking away the state's special status, Reuters found.
  • Sept. 16: An Indian court directs the government to "restore normal life" in Kashmir, Reuters reports.
  • Oct. 31: India formally revokes Kashmir's constitutional autonomy and splits it into two territories that will be directly ruled by the central government, BBC reports.
  • Nov. 4: One person is killed and at least 45 people are injured during a grenade attack in Kashmir — the bloodiest attack since Kashmir was stripped of its status in August.

Worth noting: The lockdown reportedly caused a loss of more than $1 billion, Reuters reports.

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