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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Quick guide: Kashmir dispute
Kashmir has been disputed by India and Pakistan since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Quick guides are concise explanations of topics or issues in the news.

The two neighbours, now nuclear powers, have twice waged war over Kashmir, which is over 60% Muslim.

The mountainous region is divided by a Line of Control, often breached by separatist militants.

Map showing Kashmire and India and Pakistan

The Indian side - Jammu and Kashmir state - is home to about nine million people.

Some three million live in the northern part administered by Pakistan.

Rival claims

Islamabad said Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan in 1947 because of the province's Muslim majority.

But Kashmir wanted to remain independent.

In October 1947, Pakistani-backed tribesmen invaded Kashmir.

The maharaja turned to India for help and agreed to sign over some of his powers in return for military support and a UN-supervised referendum or plebiscite.

Line of Control

India reneged on its promise and the plebiscite never happened.

The first Indo-Pakistani war started with the October 1947 incursion and the arrival of Indian forces in Kashmir.

The conflict ended in January 1949. A ceasefire line - now known as the Line of Control - was agreed and the UN recommended a referendum on accession.

War broke out again in 1965 after a Pakistani offensive across the line.

In 1999, fighting between Indian and Pakistani-backed forces in Indian Kashmir led to a new conflict but not full-scale war.

Separatist movement

Since 1989, Kashmir has seen a growing, and often violent, Muslim separatist movement against Indian rule.

Some separatists favour independence, others would like Kashmir to be part of Pakistan.

India says Pakistan gives the militants logistical and material support - a claim rejected by Islamabad.

Years of separatist attacks and cross-border firing between the Indian and Pakistani armies have left tens of thousands of people dead.

Peace talks

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In 2004 Pakistan and India embarked on a peace process, but major sticking points remain.

Delhi would like the Line of Control to become an international border, while Islamabad would like Muslim-majority areas to become part of Pakistan.


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