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India/Pakistan Gain Independence - History

India/Pakistan Gain Independence - History

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In 1942, Indian Nationalists had spurned the British offer of autonomy within the British Empire. They demanded complete independence. After the Second World War, the British agreed to independence. However, no agreement could be reached between the Hindus and Moslems. Large scale rioting ensued in which thousands died. An accord was finally reached to establish two states: Hindu India and Moslem Pakistan. On August 15th the two new states achieved independence. Millions of refugees were created in both countries.

Independence for India and Pakistan

This map is part of a series of 14 animated maps showing the history of Decolonization after 1945.

Clement Attlee, the Labour Prime Minister who replaced Winston Churchill in July 1945, was quickly convinced that independence for India was inevitable, but negotiations on the future state were complicated by disagreements among India&rsquos political leaders.

At the time, India was a mosaic of princedoms with populations following a wide range of religions. However, the two biggest religious groups, the Muslims and the Hindus, were in conflict over independence.

With a predominantly Hindu membership, the Congress Party wanted to create a single non-denominational state for the entire Indian population. On the other hand, the Muslim League saw independence as an opportunity to divide India into two countries, one of which would be an Islamic state.

Towards the end of 1945, riots broke out in Northern India&rsquos larger cities and led to a series of violent conflicts between the two religious groups throughout 1946.

In February 1947, the British government decided to accelerate the transition process by announcing that power would be transferred to an Indian authority on 30 June 1948 at the latest.

Indian negotiators finally agreed to a plan for partition. This plan led to the establishment of two independent states in the sub-continent on 15 August 1947:

- the Indian Union which was accepted by almost all the Hindu princedoms

- and Pakistan, covering the two regions where the Muslims represented a majority of the population, but which were separated by a distance of 1700 kilometres: Western Pakistan and Eastern Pakistan.

However, in certain regions, such as Western Punjab and East Bengal, large populations of Hindis and Muslims had lived side by side. With partition, as many as 10 to 15 million people left their homes in a series of massive exoduses: Hindus travelled towards the Indian Union and Muslims towards Pakistan. During this period, many people were attacked and large-scale massacres occurred.

Although most of Kashmir&rsquos population were Muslim, the Hindu Maharajah decided to join the Indian Union. Pakistan immediately challenged this choice and invaded part of Kashmir.

Early in 1949, a cease-fire line was established which led to the region being divided between India and Pakistan.

In the years that followed, China also made a claim for territories along the Sino-Indian border. Today, Kashmir still remains a hotly disputed territory.

The Principality of Hyderabad, ruled by a Muslim prince with a Hindu population, joined the Indian Union in 1949.

Immediately after Independence, the Indian Union attempted to gain control of the French and Portuguese trading posts. The government soon entered into negotiations with France and quickly obtained the transfer of Chandannagar in 1949 and the four other ports in 1954.

Portugal, however, had no intention of giving up its possessions. It was not until December 1961 that India finally recuperated these towns by force.

In 1971, East Pakistan rebelled against the national government in Islamabad and gained its independence with the name of Bangladesh.

India/Pakistan Gain Independence - History

The British East India Company which came to India for trading purposes soon exploited the weak princely system prevalent in various states of India and started to over take each of them. Soon struggles began at small level to get rid of the colonial power and it culminated into a full scale war in 1857 which is now known in the history as Indian Mutiny, but the British forces overcame this hurdle and defeated Indians in most of the battles. Following that war, the British Crown assumed direct control of India and brought some good measures which helped people of India to get modern education. Britain also built roads, including 80,000km of railway, dams for water supply, and dug over 100,000km of canals for irrigation and transport. But after ww2, it was no longer profitable for Britain to be there, they owed India over £1 Billion pounds and money to America!

British troops leaving India

The struggle for freedom picked up when Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1914 and took over the reigns of Indian Politics and with him he brought him his most successful tool to struggle that was non violence resistance and civil disobedience. Gandhi’s non violence movement was the instrument behind the independence of India and Gandhi soon became the sole leader of India for the struggle of independence. He fasted for 21 days, protested for several years, walked 248 miles, and got imprisonned on several occasions in South Africa and India. He is remembered as Ghandi, India’s father of the nation. India got independence with the “Indian Independence Act” of 15th August 1947 observed annually as “Independence Day”, one of the three national holidays in India.

This Act resulted in a struggle between the newly constituted states of India and Pakistan and displaced 10-12 million people with estimates of loss of life varying from several hundred thousand to a million. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of mutual hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationship to this day.

After partition in 1947, the independent states of India and Pakistan were strikingly dissimilar. Pakistan defined itself in terms of religion, fell under the control of military leaders, and saw its Bengali-speaking eastern section secede to become the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971. India, a secular republic with a 90 percent Hindu population inherited a larger share of industrial and educational resources and was able to maintain unity despite its linguistic heterogeneity.

How India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were formed

This animated map shows how the borders of the Indian subcontinent have evolved since partition.

In August 1947, the British decided to end their 200-year long rule in the Indian subcontinent and to divide it into two separate nations, Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.

The process of partition, however, was not simple. In addition to the British-controlled territories, the subcontinent also consisted of many other territories under French, Portuguese or Omani rule, as well as more than 500 sovereign princely states ruled by local monarchs.

Upon independence, the British gave the princely states the option to join India or Pakistan – by signing the Instrument of Accession – or to remain independent. Some of these territories and princely states did not become part of India or Pakistan until recently.

Today, Kashmir remains the only region of British India that has not been integrated into one of the two nations or gained independence.

In the following two-minute animation, Al Jazeera looks at how the Indian subcontinent was divided by the British in 1947 and how it has changed since then.

The transfer of power and the birth of two countries

Elections held in the winter of 1945–46 proved how effective Jinnah’s single-plank strategy for his Muslim League had been, as the league won all 30 seats reserved for Muslims in the Central Legislative Assembly and most of the reserved provincial seats as well. The Congress Party was successful in gathering most of the general electorate seats, but it could no longer effectively insist that it spoke for the entire population of British India.

In 1946 Secretary of State Pethick-Lawrence personally led a three-man cabinet deputation to New Delhi with the hope of resolving the Congress–Muslim League deadlock and, thus, of transferring British power to a single Indian administration. Cripps was responsible primarily for drafting the ingenious Cabinet Mission Plan, which proposed a three-tier federation for India, integrated by a minimal central-union government in Delhi, which would be limited to handling foreign affairs, communications, defense, and only those finances required to care for such unionwide matters. The subcontinent was to be divided into three major groups of provinces: Group A, to include the Hindu-majority provinces of the Bombay Presidency, Madras, the United Provinces, Bihar, Orissa, and the Central Provinces (virtually all of what became independent India a year later) Group B, to contain the Muslim-majority provinces of the Punjab, Sind, the North-West Frontier, and Balochistan (the areas out of which the western part of Pakistan was created) and Group C, to include the Muslim-majority Bengal (a portion of which became the eastern part of Pakistan and in 1971 the country of Bangladesh) and the Hindu-majority Assam. The group governments were to be virtually autonomous in everything but matters reserved to the union centre, and within each group the princely states were to be integrated into their neighbouring provinces. Local provincial governments were to have the choice of opting out of the group in which they found themselves should a majority of their populace vote to do so.

Punjab’s large and powerful Sikh population would have been placed in a particularly difficult and anomalous position, for Punjab as a whole would have belonged to Group B, and much of the Sikh community had become anti-Muslim since the start of the Mughal emperors’ persecution of their Gurus in the 17th century. Sikhs played so important a role in the British Indian Army that many of their leaders hoped that the British would reward them at the war’s end with special assistance in carving out their own country from the rich heart of Punjab’s fertile canal-colony lands, where, in the kingdom once ruled by Ranjit Singh (1780–1839), most Sikhs lived. Since World War I, Sikhs had been equally fierce in opposing the British raj, and, though never more than 2 percent of India’s population, they had as highly disproportionate a number of nationalist “martyrs” as of army officers. A Sikh Akali Dal (“Party of Immortals”), which was started in 1920, led militant marches to liberate gurdwaras (“doorways to the Guru” the Sikh places of worship) from corrupt Hindu managers. Tara Singh (1885–1967), the most important leader of the vigorous Sikh political movement, first raised the demand for a separate Azad (“Free”) Punjab in 1942. By March 1946 many Sikhs demanded a Sikh nation-state, alternately called Sikhistan or Khalistan (“Land of the Sikhs” or “Land of the Pure”). The Cabinet Mission, however, had no time or energy to focus on Sikh separatist demands and found the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan equally impossible to accept.

As a pragmatist, Jinnah—terminally afflicted with tuberculosis and lung cancer—accepted the Cabinet Mission’s proposal, as did Congress Party leaders. The early summer of 1946, therefore, saw a dawn of hope for India’s future prospects, but that soon proved false when Nehru announced at his first press conference as the reelected president of the Congress that no constituent assembly could be “bound” by any prearranged constitutional formula. Jinnah read Nehru’s remarks as a “complete repudiation” of the plan, which had to be accepted in its entirety in order to work. Jinnah then convened the league’s Working Committee, which withdrew its previous agreement to the federation scheme and instead called upon the “Muslim Nation” to launch “direct action” in mid-August 1946. Thus began India’s bloodiest year of civil war since the mutiny nearly a century earlier. The Hindu-Muslim rioting and killing that started in Calcutta sent deadly sparks of fury, frenzy, and fear to every corner of the subcontinent, as all civilized restraint seemed to disappear.

Lord Mountbatten (served March–August 1947) was sent to replace Wavell as viceroy as Britain prepared to transfer its power over India to some “responsible” hands by no later than June 1948. Shortly after reaching Delhi, where he conferred with the leaders of all parties and with his own officials, Mountbatten decided that the situation was too dangerous to wait even that brief period. Fearing a forced evacuation of British troops still stationed in India, Mountbatten resolved to opt for partition, one that would divide Punjab and Bengal, rather than risk further political negotiations while civil war raged and a new mutiny of Indian troops seemed imminent. Among the major Indian leaders, Gandhi alone refused to reconcile himself to partition and urged Mountbatten to offer Jinnah the premiership of a united India rather than a separate Muslim nation. Nehru, however, would not agree to that, nor would his most powerful Congress deputy, Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (1875–1950), as both had become tired of arguing with Jinnah and were eager to get on with the job of running an independent government of India.

Untold stories of Pakistan's Independence

The Partition of India was the division of British India in 1947 into two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. These are the citizens' untold stories of Pakistan's Independence the joys and price of freedom.

Admiral Rafiuddin Qadri (b. Rajkot, British India - 1934). In 2010, Admiral Qadri shared his memories about the 1947 partition of South Asia with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan’s Oral History Project. He vividly recalled Quaid-e-Azam’s powerful 1946 address at Ahmedabad University and the profound impact it left upon the audience of unruly boys, including him.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, (born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah was trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in London. He served as the leader of the All India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947, and then as Pakistan's first Governor-General until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation).

While talking to the Citizens Archive of Pakistan’s Oral History Project team in 2008, Zohra Fazal (b. Bombay, British India – 1925) spoke about the atmosphere at the time of independence and the impact it had on communal relations.

Pakistan emerged in 1947 from a British India, which was partitioned into two Dominions, India and Pakistan. On 14 August 1947, Pakistan achieved independence one day prior to Indian independence. India was partitioned, and an East and West Pakistan were created from Muslim majority areas. The basis of Pakistan was found in the ‘two nation theory’, where it was suggested that the Muslims and Hindus in undivided India made up two ‘nations’ and hence, required separate homelands.

Amin Naz (b. Kashmir, British India -1935) migrated to Pakistan soon after the Partition. He reminisced in his 2010 interview about his moving experience of setting foot on Pakistani soil for the first time.

One of the greatest migrations in human history began in August 1947 when millions of Muslims made their way to East and West Pakistan, and millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction. Nearly seven million refugees are estimated to have arrived in Pakistan in the years following the Partition. Many hundreds of thousands never made it at all at the most-conservative estimate, 200,000 individuals lost their lives in the massacres accompanying migration.

Agha Salman Baqir is a renowned Urdu writer, poet and critic from Pakistan. Mr. Baqir shared his father Agha Mohammad Baqir’s role in the historic announcement made by All-India Radio, Lahore, at midnight on the 14 of August 1947, declaring the “Dawn of Independence.”

The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation was originally known as the Pakistan Broadcasting Service at the time of its inception on 14 August 1947. It had the honour of publicly announcing Pakistan's independence from Britain on 13 August 1947 at 11:59 pm. Mustafa Ali Hamdani made the announcement from Lahore in Urdu and English, while Abdullah Jan Maghmoom made the announcement from Peshawar in Pashto. At independence in 1947, Pakistan possessed three radio stations at Lahore (1937), Dhaka (established in 1939), and Peshawar (1936). A major program of expansion saw new stations opened at Karachi and Rawalpindi in 1948, and a new broadcasting house at Karachi in 1950. This was followed by new stations at Hyderabad (1951), Quetta (1956), a second station at Rawalpindi (1960) and a Receiving Centre at Peshawar (1960). In 1970, training facilities were opened in Islamabad and a station opened at Multan.

Born in 1928, New Delhi, Saeeda Siddiqui migrated to Pakistan via train amidst the chaos and fear of the bloodiest mass exodus in modern human history. She evocatively described the insatiable hunger she felt and the experience of eating her first meal after days of perilous travel without food.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, there was a large black coloured airship hangar at the site of Karachi Airport, constructed for the British HMA R101, at the time, the largest aircraft ever built. Only three hangars were ever built in the world to dock and hangar Britain's fleet of passenger airships. However, the R101 never arrived in Karachi (then part of the British Raj) as it crashed and exploded just 8 hours into its maiden flight over Beauvais France, killing all but 6 of its 54 passengers and crew. This hangar was so huge that aircraft often used it as a visual marker while attempting VFR landings at Karachi. Over the years, the hangar became known as the landmark of Karachi, until it was demolished by order of then-President Ayub Khan in the 1960s.

Dr. Attiya Inayatullah (b. Sialkot, British India – 1939) migrated to Pakistan from Delhi in 1947. She was happy to share her memories of the warm welcome that awaited her and other migrants arriving in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, in 1947.

Rail transport in Pakistan began in 1855 during the British Raj, when several railway companies began to lay track and started to operate in present-day Pakistan. The system was originally a patchwork of local rail lines operated by small private companies, including the Scinde, Punjab and Delhi Railways and the Indus Steam Flotilla. In 1870, the four companies were amalgamated as the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railway. Several other rail lines were built shortly thereafter, including the Sind–Sagar and Trans–Baluchistan Railways and the Sind–Pishin, Indus Valley, Punjab Northern and Kandahar State Railways. These six companies and the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railway merged to form the North Western State Railway in 1880. In 1947, following Pakistan's independence, the North Western Railway became Pakistan Western Railway and the rail system was reorganized.

Amanullah Khan is a former lawyer and Judge born in 1935 in Kota, Rajasthan. In an interview in 2015, Mr. Khan described of the long and arduous journey from Karachi to Hyderabad following his 1948 arrival in Pakistan at the port of Karachi.

The Port of Karachi is one of South Asia's largest and busiest deep-water seaports, handling about 60% of Pakistan’s cargo (25 million tons per annum) located in Karachi, Pakistan. It is located between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar, close to the main business district and several industrial areas. The geographic position of the port places it in close proximity to major shipping routes such as the Strait of Hormuz. The administration of the port is carried out by the Karachi Port Trust, which was established in the nineteenth century. The modern port started its operations in 1854 during the British Raj, when a mole was constructed to connect the city to the harbor. At the time of independence in 1947, the Port capacity was about 1.5 million tons of dry cargo and 1.0 million tons of products per annum.

Initial Design, Concept and Layout:
Aaliyah Tayyebi

Primary Data Collection:
CAP Oral History Project Team

Secondary Research:
Aaliyah Tayyebi
Nimra Tariq
Zain Shaikhzadeh
Rumman Islam
Javeria Hashmi
Meher Mehtab
Sultan Ali

Photo Editing and Title Artwork:
Anum Zahid
Abeer Kaisri

Sound Engineering:
Zain Shaikhzadeh

Video Production and Editing:
Ailya Ejaz
Farwah Rizvi

General Editing, Technical Support and Final Design:
Aaliyah Tayyebi

The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to cultural and historic preservation, operating in Karachi and Lahore. We seek to educate the community, foster an awareness of our nation’s history and instil pride in Pakistani citizens about their heritage.

Timeline: History of Pakistan and India Independence

c. 622 AD: Islam was founded on the teachings of Abu al-Qasim Muhammad (d. 632).

632-661: During the reigns of the first four caliphs (leaders), Islam spread through wars, Jihad (holy war), forced conversions and the taking of wives and slaves.

Early 8th Century: Sindh Province was invaded by Muslims. The Caliphs forced jizya (taxes) on non-Muslims which caused many Hindus in Sindh to convert to Islam.

8th Century: The Arab Muslim conquest had spread from Arabia west to Spain and Morocco and east into India.

761: Imad ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qasim, an Umayyad (1 of 4 major Muslim Caliphates) military leader, conquered the Sindh and Multan Provinces (now part of Pakistan) with siege engines and Mongol bows. After his successful ‘Jihad,’ he forced taxes and tribute and aloud hostages to be taken.

9th and 10th Centuries: Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists lived in Northern India few civil wars and unrest.

965-: Mahmud of Ghazni [mostly modern Iran, Afghanistan (Kabul), Pakistan] became independent of the Samanid Empire and conquered much land and took the title Sultan (some say he was he first to use it). He was a Sunni Muslim. He conquered the Shia Muslims in Multan, Punjab.

977 – 1186: Muhammad of Ghazni (Mahmud’s son) succeeded his father, but had no sons. His brother Mas’ud fought him to become king. The Ghaznavid Dynasty continued to rule greater Iran, Afghanistan and northwest India. These Persian Sunni Muslims build mosques, schools and developed Islam communities and Persian culture in many of India’s northwest provinces.

1058: Mas’ud’s son Ibrahim is said to have transcribed the Koran (Quran).

1221: Ögedei Khan (Mongolians) captured Urganch (in Uzbekistan). Then the Mongol raids and conquest spread into much of modern Iran.

1227: Genghis Khan died and his son Ögedei succeeded him.

1235-41: The Mongols raided Kashmir and reached Lahore (Punjah Pakistan) in the Indus Valley before turning back.

1300s: Kashmir (Cashmir) was independent and regional states gained power.

1339-1561: The Shah Mir Muslim Dynasty ruled over Kashmir for 20 generations to Habib Shah.

1370-1507: Amir Timur (Tamerlane) reigned over the Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia (parts of modern Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan). This Empire would last until about 1507. The Timurid line was of Mongol and Turkish/Persian descent. Millions of people were killed as cities were taken by the Timurids from Aleppo and Anatolia to the Delhi Sultanate.

1400s: West Punjab remained under Muslim control parts of the South and East had large Hindu populations. Although during this period Sikhism (from the teachings of ‘Guru’ Nanak) arose in Punjab, which now has over half of the world’s Sikhism population.

1206-1526: The Delhi Sultanate remained mostly under the rule of the Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodi Dynasties. Amir Timur (Tamerlane) appointed the Sayyid governors of Delhi after his conquering Delhi in 1398. The Sayyid claimed to be descendants of Muhammad.

Late 1400s to early 1500s: Afghan was controlled by the Muslim Lodi dynasty and Rajputana (about 18 states in southern Pakistan and northern India) was ruled by the Hindu Rajput. (Note: the Portuguese Catholics conquered Goa, in southern India in 1510 and the Jesuit Francis Xavier landed in Goa in 1542.)

1526-1530: Zahīr ud-Dīn (‘defender of the faith’) Muhammad Babur (5 generations from Timur) founded the Mughal Empire. He was a grandson of Timur (father’s linage) and a descendent of Genghis Khan (mother’s linage). He was ruler at age 12, but was forced out of Fergana by the Uzbeks (Uzbekistan). In 1504 his people conquers Kabul, Afghanistan and allied with Ismail I (Safavid Dynasty over Iran). He reached India in 1519 and from 1526 until his death (1530) took Panipat, Khanwa, Chanderi and Ghaghra. Babur had about 10 wives and over 20 children.

1526: Battle of Panipat: Babur’s approximate 15,000 soldiers defeated Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate and his 35,000, by using artillery and better tactics. Lodi was killed.

1530-1556: Humayun, son of Babur ruled over the Mughal Empire. He lost much of the empire, but it was regained with the aid of the Safavids.

1556-1605: Akbar the Great, grandson of Babur ruled over the Mughal Empire. His rule began at age 14. He built the largest army in India and conquered northern India (including Pakistan). He was tolerant to the Hindus. Though his family was Sunni Muslims he developed his own religion – Din llahi – a mystic composite of the major religions. He had 6 wives and more than a dozen children. By 1589, Akbar ruled half of India as he extended the Mughal Empire from Punjab into central India. Akbar was tolerant to all faiths.

1605-1627: Jahangir, son of Akbar, was the fourth ruler the Mughal Empire. He had 8 wives and 11 children. Under his reign the Empire reached Bengal and Ahmadnagar.

1613-1617: The British East India Company (formed 1600) began trading with the Mughals.

1628-1658: Shahab-Muhammad Khurram, Shah Jahan (‘king of the world’), grandson of Akbar, was the fifth ruler of the Mughal Empire. The Empire was at its height under Shah. It was during his reign that the Taj Mahal was built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. His family supported the Islam religion. From 1630-32 millions starved as Shah buys jewels for his throne.

1658-1707: Muhi-ud-din Muhammad, Aurangzeb, also Alamgir (‘conqueror of the world’), was the 6th Mughal Emperor for nearly 50 years. It is said he ruled over about 160 million people and the world’s largest economy. Some historians say he reissued the Jizya tax on non-Muslims, destroyed many Hindu temples and even some Islamic mosques. Nevertheless, rebellions and civil wars during his time began to weaken the Mughal Empire.

1674: The Maratha Empire (Confederacy) was established by the Hindu Shivaji in Chhatrapati.

1680 to 1707: The Mughal-Maratha Wars continued. Islam was pushed out of Central India and Hinduism flourished again.

1706: By this time the Hindi Maratha forces pushed most of the Muslim Mughal’s out of Central India. The Mughals retreated from the Maratha and their treasuries had been near depleted already do to war.

1707-1719: Muhammad Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb, was appointed over the failing Empire. His half-brother, Prince Shah Alam (Bahadur Shah I) killed him and 3 of his sons and took the throne as 7th Emperor until his death in 1712. There were 6 different rulers of the Mughal Empire over this period. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Maratha began to expand northward in India. In 1717, the Mughal’s signed a treaty with the Marathas giving over control of many provinces.

1719-1748: Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Shah, 12th Emperor ruled 30 years. During this time, family members were murdered and poisoned as the Empire was falling. Poor administrators and leaders, civil wars and raids by the Maratha cost as much as half the territories by 1742.

1739: Nader Shah of Persia invaded the Mughal Empire in 1738 and in 1739 captured Ghazni, Kabul, Lahore and Sindh. The Persians crushed the Mughals paving the way for others. The Battle of Karnal was said to have fatally weakened the Mughals.

1748: Ahmad Shah of Afghanistan invaded the Mughal Empire – thousands were killed and territories lost.

1728-1763: During this period there were many Mughal-Maratha Wars which were as much religious civil wars, as battles for control of the territories.

1757: Battle of Plassey: After British forces conquered Plassey, the British East India Company (EIC) gained control in Bengal, India and set up a trading post in Calcutta. Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, was allied with the French he was against Britain’s expansion and quest for India’s wealth. However, Britain (through the EIC) did gain gold and resources from India.

1761: In the Third Battle of Panipat, thousands of Muslims and Hindus were killed as the Maratha forces were stopped.

1764: The British took control of Bengal (the richest province) from the Mughals.

1767-1769: The British East India Company (Great Britain) allied with the Maratha Confederacy (Hindus) and the Nizam of Hyderabad, against Tipu Sultan of the Mysore Empire (French Ally and mostly Islam – Muslim) in southern India in the First Anglo-Mysore War.

1775-82: By this time, the Maratha Empire had lost its control and authority over North India. During this period the Maratha had conflicts against the Mysore and British (First War).

1780-1784: Second Anglo-Mysore War: After the American Revolution, the British East India Company attacked the French and Dutch ally – the Mysores. After the exchanging by war and deaths of various forts and lands, the war ended with the Treaty of Mangalore. Sultan Tipu was his lands and though in some defeat, Great Britain maintained its hold in India the British East India Company lost its significance and saw its stock prices and value fall.

1787: The British began the Abolition of Slave Trade (complete in 1833) same time Gov. Hastings of Bengal was impeached.

1791-1792: About half to central India and much of the southern Maratha Kingdom and Madras Presidency (British E. India Co.), suffered from the Doji bara Famine (Skull Famine). In Hyderabad (Telangana) nearly 100,000 died in about 5 months.

1790-92: Third Anglo-Mysore War: Gen. Cornwallis of Britain defeated Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore and in 1799 Tipu was killed in battle by the British.

1799: Forth Anglo-Mysore War: Tipu Sultan was killed, as the British attacked the Mysore for all sides. Tipu’s 35,000 soldiers were outnumbered by Britain’s 60,000 troops and about the same number of Nizam and Marathas. (The rockets Tipu used against the British were used to develop rockets used against the French in the Napoleonic Wars.) After this war, the remaining Mysore Empire was annexed by the British, Nizam and Marathas.

1803-05: Second British (Anglo) – Maratha War: During the first 12 years of the 1800s, the British were fighting the French, Spanish, Marathas, Dutch (Netherlands), Russians, Polish, Danish, Norwegians, and the Americans. In 1803, the British defeated the Marathas (lead by the French) in Delhi and Argaon.

1817-1818: Third Anglo-Maratha War: after the Maratha cavalry had helped the British against Mysore the Peshwa forces of the Bhonsle and Holkar fought against the advances of the British. The British under Gen. Hastings crushed them and the British Raj gained control of the Maratha Empire. This ended the Peshwa Dynasty (1674 to 1818). The Peshwa were ‘prime ministers’ of the Maratha Empire. Baji Rao II was the last in 1818.

1820: Indian immigrants began to arrive in the United States.

1822: Raja Ram Mohun Roy set up educational societies that help revive Indian culture, and he was considered the founder of Indian nationalism and father of Indian Renaissance.
1829: The Sati Prohibition Act made ‘burning alive widows homicide.’

1843: Battle of Miani (Meeanee): British soldiers supporting the goals of the British East India Company fought and defeated Talpur Emirs of Sindh forces in what is now Pakistan.

1846: Treaty of Lahore ended the First Anglo-Sikh War. The British (EIC) reduced the Sikhs lands after taking Jammu, Kashmir and Hazara. Under the Treaty of Amritsar the British demanded 15 million rupees for cost of the war and sold Kashmir to the Raja of Jammu (Gulab Singh) for 7.5 million rupees.

1850: Britain’s H. H. Wilson of Oxford translated the First English Rig Veda from the Sanskrit in order “to promote the translation of the Scriptures into English, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion.” About 1848, the Christian Bible was published in Sanskrit. In 1850, the British Raj passed the Caste Disabilities Removal Act or Act XXI which abolished laws against religious conversions (such as to Christianity). The Act XXI in effect prohibited Hindus and Muhammadans (Muslims) from civil suits against Christian landowners.

1850s: British were taxing native Indian lands and taking their lands.

1857: First Indian War of Independence also called the First Indian Revolution and the Sepoy Mutiny (sepoys – ‘infantry soldier’). The peasants and nobles of Bengal sought to end the control of the British East Indian Company and British Colonial rule – the British Raj. March 29th, Mangel Pande, an Indian (Native) Infantry soldier shot and wounded a British officer and was hung. April 24th, 85 soldiers in Meerut refused to handle cartridges lubricated with pig and cow grease (fat) – biting the cartridge open and pouring gunpowder in the musket – handling such as against Muslim and Hindu religious practices. The Sepoy – soldiers – was sentenced to 10 years by court-martial. May 9th, they were stripped of their uniform, shackled and sent to prison. May 10th, other Sepoys broke open the jail (while Brits were at Sunday Church) and freed their comrades. A mob of sepoys enter the cantonment and killed British soldiers soon after thousands of sepoy in many regiments of infantry and artillery rebelled in Delhi and Lucknow. Delhi was not reclaimed by the British until September.

1860: The S.S. Truro and S.S. Belvedere carried indentured servants of Madras and Calcutta to sugar plantations.

1869: By this time the British had laid 5,000 miles of railroad tracks. Mohandas Gandhi was born this year and the Suez Canal opened increasing trade with India. The canal paved the way for British cotton and machine-made textiles to take over the hand-weaving industry – profiting large companies and putting more Indians in poverty. (The Industrial Revolution began in England in the 1700s)

1876: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of England was proclaimed Empress of India.

1885: The Indian National Congress (Congress Party) was formed by A. Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Dinshaw Wacha. Its members sought political and economic reforms for India. Over time it became the force for the Independence Movement and tens of millions would join its movement against the British Empire. Originally it was not against the British Raj and one of its founders was a Scotsman. The first annual meeting (attended by 72 delegates) was in Mumbai, with W.C. Bonerjee as the first President of the INC.

1893: Parliament of the World’s Religions met in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk, greeted the 5,000 delegates saying, ‘sisters and brothers of America…’ He spoke against ‘sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism…’ He said, “they have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair…”

1883-93: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (married at age 13 to 14 year old Kasturba in 1883) traveled to London to train as a lawyer in 1888. In 1891, Gandhi returned to India after passing the Bar. Upon arriving he found that his mother had died his father had died a year before he left. In 1893, he went to South Africa (British controlled, as India) to work for Dada Abdulla. There he discovered great discrimination against blacks and Indians.

1894: Gandhi founded the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in South Africa in order to stand against discrimination. In 1894, Gandhi and the NIC began to submit petitions and organize protests against discriminating laws. They also protested against the indentured servant system and six months later the British ceased the emigration from India to S. Africa.

1880-96: Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920), a law graduate from the U. of Bombay (1879), began a school in Poona, and founded the Deccan Education Society (1884) to promote education for the poor masses. They taught English for practical political, commerce and reform reasons. His University newspapers, the Kesari (the Lion published in Marathi language) and the Mahratta (in English) criticized the British Raj and promoted Nationalism and Independence for India. In 1896, he organized Indian Festivals and petitioned for complete independence.

1900: By this time about 25,000 miles of railway is in India and another 10,000 will be laid by WWI at the cost of much of India’s forests. By 1900, India’s tea exports to Britain reached over 135 million pounds.

1905: Partition of Bengal gave Muslims a majority state out of East Bengal and outraged the Hindus, which were the majority in West Bengal. It was overseen by British George Curzon, Viceroy of India. This caused a Sawdeshi movement (boycott against the British) by Hindus.

1906: The All-India Muslim League was founded at Dacca, British Raj (now Bangladesh) at a Muhammadan Educational Conference (1886 lead by Syed Khan) which the previous 20 years banned political discussions. About 3,000 attended the first Muslim League conference. Chairman Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk proposed a political party to represent the Muslim interest in India.

(founding members of the All-India Muslim League)

1909: Revocation of Partition of Bengal. Muslims protested against the British and Hindu. At this time Gandhi and the NIC were protesting for better working conditions in S. Africa.

1890-1914: In 1890, William II dismissed PM Bismarck and cancelled the German treaty with Russia in order to better relations with Austria-Hungary and ended the League of Three Emperors. In 1902, the British formed an alliance with Japan then an agreement with France (1902) and Russia (1907). 1908-1909, Austria-Hungary annexed part of former Ottoman territory (Bosnia and Herzegovina) against the will of both the Orthodox Russians and Serbia. It also initiated the First Balkan War (1912-1913), which decreased the Ottoman Empire.

1913: Laws prohibit Indian immigration to S. Africa and then USA. Muhammad Ali Jinnah became leader of the All-India Muslim League.

1914-1918: WORLD WAR I – the Great War: June 1914, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Bosnia. This lead to anti-Serbian riots and hundreds of deaths, which then lead to Russia’s support for Serbia. Kaiser Wilhelm II asked Tsar Nicolas II (his cousin) to suspend Russian mobilization to help Serbia – it was refused. Thus, Germany declared war on Russia, and then formed a Triple Alliance between Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire which was weak from the Italo-Turkish War (1911-1912) and the Balkan War. Italy also broke off its treaty with Germany (but would enter it again for WWII). In 1907, the Triple Entente was formed between the French Republic, the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the war, many other nations allied with the Triple Entente – now called the Allied Powers against the Central Powers (Triple Alliance). The U.S. did not enter until 1917. In great part, Nationalism was a cause of the war – Russia supporting Serbian nationalism. The War postponed Gandhi and the NIC’s cause in S. Africa but would lead to the independence of many nations. There were about 10 million military deaths in the war and more than that in civil deaths then came famine, disease, orphans and the homeless.

1918: A Spanish Influenza epidemic killed over 12 million in India.

1918: The Big Four Nations met in Paris: Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States.

1919: After WWI the Indians protested, claiming they fought for the British and deserve freedom in India. Sunday, April 13, Colonel banned all meeting in Amritsar, but the notice did not go out everywhere and it was their day of Baisakhi – a major Sikh festival. Dyer went with Sikh, Rajput and Gurkha troops and ordered them to fire machine guns on the crowd. Between 379 (British report) and a 1,000 (Indian estimates) were killed in the Jalianwala Bagh Amritsar Massacre. Dyer was forced to resign, yet this strengthened India’s independence movement.

1920: The League of Nations was formed out of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. This year the indentured servitude system was abolished in India (in part to Gandhi’s movement). M. Ali Jinnah resigned from the Indian National Congress.

1927: Indians were permitted to sit as jurors and magistrates.

1929: Jawaharial Nehru of Pandit, and graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, 48th president of the Indian National Congress called for complete independence from the British Raj. (below Gandhi and Nehru)

1931-34: Rajendra Prasad, a supporter of Gandhi, was arrested and jailed during the Salt Satyagraha. In 1934, he became the 52nd president of the Indian National Congress.

1933: PAKSTAN, an acronym was created by Rahmat Ali, an India Muslim student of Punjab, studying at Cambridge. It was published in the pamphlet ‘Now or Never Are We to Live or Perish Forever?’ The term PAKSTAN was submitted to the Third Round Table Conference on the status of India held by the British Government in 1933.

1934: Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected by the Muslims of Bombay to the Indian Legislative Assembly.

1935: Government of India Act by the British Parliament had about 321 sections. It offered a provision for the ‘Federation of India’ to be both British and ‘princely states.’ It separated Burma from India beginning 1937 Sindh was separated from Bombay and limited powers were given to elected Indian representatives and provincial Governors. The British still controls foreign affairs and trade, and reserved more rights and control.

1938: Muhammad Iqbal, called the ‘Spiritual Father of Pakistan,’ a former student of Cambridge and Munich, a writer and member of the All-India Muslim League at age 60 and the year of his death wrote: ‘There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah’s hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it, our demands are not going to be accepted. …These demands relate to the defense of our national existence…. The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah…”

1939-40: Mohammed Ali Jinnah called for a separate Muslim state partitioned from India. In 1940 he founded the newspaper Dawn – written in English. (Jinnah below)

1939-1945: World War II: In 1937 Japan invaded China in 1938 Germany annexed Austria and in 1939 invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia. September 3, 1939, Great Britain’s PM N. Chamberlain declared war with Nazi Germany. The next day, Viceroy Linlithgow declared that India entered the war with Britain. Protest broke out in India. September 14, the Indian National Congress called for complete independence. Gandhi and Jinnah did not obstruct the war efforts. December 1941, the United States entered the war after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. April 1942, Japan conquered Burma and other territories. May 1944, the D-Day invasion took place – allies taking back France. July 1944, the Japanese invaded the state of Manipur, India, but were defeated and withdrew to Burma. American B-29 bombers had a base in Calcutta. May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered and August 15, 1945 Japan surrendered.

1940: The Lahore Resolution by the All-India Muslim League: “…that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.”

1942: Declaration by United Nations of the Big Four (US, UK, USSR and China) was an agreement that none of the Allied nations would sign a separate peace with the Axis powers.

1942-1944: August: The All-India Congress Committee led by Mahatma Gandhi demanded the British ‘Quit India’ and end the British Rule with ‘an orderly British Withdrawal.’ Gandhi, Prasad, and Jinnah, with many others, were all imprisoned at this time and released in September 1944. Gandhi and Jinnah could not reach an agreement on a unified India.

October 1945: The United Nations was founded by representatives from 50 countries (now 193). The main focused at this time was the elimination of atomic weapons, “an international organization to maintain peace and security” a means to settle territorial disputes and to set procedures for “territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government…”

May–June 1946: Cabinet Mission Plan: held talks with representatives from the Indian National Congress (Hindus) and the All-India Muslim League, by way of the Constituent Assembly of India. Britain proposed a transfer of independence to India along with a partition of a Muslim-majority India – later called Pakistan. Due to various differences the Muslim League did not support the original plan. Yet, elections for the Assembly were held and a Constitution drafted.

August 1946: Of the 296 seats of the British Indian provinces, 208 were won by members of the Indian Congress and 73 by the Muslim League. The Muslim League refused to work with the Hindu Congress.

August 1946: Direct Action Day or Calcutta Riots or the ‘Great Calcutta Killing:’ four days of Hindu-Muslim riots in Bengal resulted in as many as 10,000 deaths. ‘Direct Action’ was declared by the Muslim League Council. Amidst tensions between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress, and actions of the Chief Minister of Bengal (later East Pakistan and now Bangladesh), certain Muslims and Hindus rose up and killed each other. (Above the dead being eaten by vultures after Riots)

1947: The British Partition of India resulted in what is now the Republic of India and the Dominion of Pakistan or Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

1947: The All-India Muslim League dissolved August 14 as Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the 1st Governor-General of Pakistan and 1st President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and called the ‘Father of the Nation.’ August 15, became India’s Independence Day after all parties agreed at least in significant part to the Mountbatten Plan for partition. Immediately, millions of Muslims and Hindus were displaced during a mass migration. Punjab and Bengal were divided. The population of India before the partition was about 390 million after there were about 330 million in India, 30 million in West Pakistan and 30 million in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It is estimated that as many as 800,000 people were killed while migrating and thousands raped and tens of thousands orphaned and homeless. Multitudes lived in refugee camps.

1948: After decades of work for their causes, both Mahatma Gandhi (age 78) and Muhammad Jinnah (age 71) died in 1948 just after seeing the achievement of their goals for freedom for their people.

1 /17 India and Pakistan Independence Day 2017 - In pictures

Indian school children take selfie picture as they perform cultural dance during the Independence Day celebrations in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 15 August 2017. India celebrates 70 years of independence from British rule on 15 August 2017

Pakistani Rangers (black) and Indian Border Security Force personnel (brown) perform perform during the daily beating of the retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border Post, some 35kms west of Amritsar on August 14, 2017. Pakistan celebrates its independence on August 14, one day before India's independence day on August 15

A member of the daredevil team of Jammu and Kashmir Police displays skills during an Independence Day parade in Srinagar

Indian girls wear tri colour bangles practice prior to take part during Independence Day celebrations in Secunderabad,the twin city of Hyderabad

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the country's Independence Day from the ramparts of the historical Red Fort in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. India marks its independence in 1947 from British colonial rule. In the background, Indian children stand in formation to spell out the Hindi word "Bharat", which is the name of the country

Indians carry a huge Indian national flag on a bridge across river Sabarmati as they celebrate Independence Day in Ahmadabad, India

Indian students carry national flags as they perform in a cultural program during the India's Independence Day celebrations in Bangalore, India

Indian students perform in a cultural program during the India's Independence Day celebrations in Bangalore, India

Indian students perform in a cultural program during the India's Independence Day celebrations in Bangalore, India, 15 August 2017. India celebrates 70 years of independence from British rule on 15 August 2017

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects a guard of honour during the country's 71st Independence Day celebrations, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule, at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 2017

People attend a flag hoisting ceremony during India's Independence Day celebrations in Ahmedabad, India

National Cadet Corps (NCC) parade during India's Independence Day celebrations at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir

Indian Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti waves to crowd during India's Independence Day celebrations at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir

Pakistan airforce pilots demonstrate their skill during an air show to celebrate the 70th Independence Day in Islamabad, Pakistan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets school girls dressed as Hindu Lord Krishna, after addressing the nation from the historic Red Fort during Independence Day celebrations in Delhi, India

Attendees wave Pakistan's national flag while singing national songs at a ceremony to celebrate the country's 70th Independence Day at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan

People from Pakistani Sikh community celebrate the 70th Independence Day in Peshawar, Pakistan

The Indian National Congress, set up in 1885, is seen by many historians as the beginning of a new movement that led to the end of the British Raj.

It came about following a rise in the middle classes in India who were becoming increasingly discontent with the way the country was being ruled. The Congress, launched with 70 members, debated British policy towards India and pushed for more rights for Indians.

Over time the group expanded to have more than 15 million members and by the early 20th century it was the centre of the Indian independence movement.


From the end of the First World War onwards, Mahatma Gandhi became a prominent pro-independence figure - leading millions in his quest for a peaceful solution.

During the Second World War – in which 2.5 million Indian troops fought alongside British ones - and in response to the Congress’ “Quit India” movement, Britain promised to grant India independence.

And following the end of the war, a bruised Britain no longer had the resources or mandate to continue ruling the country.

As the violence between Muslims and Hindus continued, viceroy Louis Mountbatten advised the country should be partitioned to create a predominantly-Muslim territory and a separate country for the majority of Hindus.

Seventy years ago today, the British-ruled India was divided into two new independent countries India and Pakistan. There were two ceremonies, one in Pakistan on August 14 and one in India on August 15 to enable Mountbatten to attend both.

To mark the occasion, then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the newly-independent state at midnight.

He said: “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Immediately, millions of people rushed to switch sides of the border - fearing they would be discriminated against because of their religion – and the two countries began fighting over the territory of Kashmir.

The contested land – which both countries claim in full – has been divided since and central to the testy and violent relationship between the two states.

Since independence, three wars have been fought between them. Both countries have performed nuclear tests and have accused each other of funding and arming militants.

In 2015 the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited eastern Pakistani city of Lahore to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It was seen as a significant turning point in relations between the two countries but was followed by an attack on an Indian airbase by Pakistani militants in 2016.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the partition, Prime Minister Modi urged India to reject religious violence and, in his speech from the ramparts of Delhi's Red Fort, he made no mention of Pakistan and the continued conflict.

On Monday, a song uniting the national anthems of both countries went viral and was praised for promoting peace. The song, dubbed the “peace anthem”, features singers from India and Pakistan, recording in the studio and on location around both countries.

It opens with the words, "When we open our borders to art, peace comes along” and ends with “let’s stand together for peace”.

Have your say. Get involved in exciting, inspiring conversations. Get involved in exciting, inspiring conversations with other readers. VIEW COMMENTS

The divide-and-conquer paradigm is often used to find an optimal solution of a problem. Its basic idea is to decompose a given problem into two or more similar, but simpler, subproblems, to solve them in turn, and to compose their solutions to solve the given problem.

First, to divide a big task into multiple smaller tasks, tackle each job individually. Then, use either one or combine those smaller tasks to reach the desired result. Implementing Divide and Conquer Strategy in learning by stretching out study time over a month.

India/Pakistan Gain Independence - History

India and Pakistan - Nuclear States in Conflict

When the British withdrew from the Indian subcontinent after the second world war, it was divided, primarily on religious grounds, into the two states of India and Pakistan. At that time Kashmir was included in India, but the issue of which state it should belong to has been contested ever since, largely because Kashmir's population is predominantly Muslim.

In 1947 a United Nations resolution called for a referendum in Kashmir to settle the issue on the basis of what the people wanted. It was, however never carried out and it is generally assumed

that the reason for this is because the Indian government feared the popular vote would support unification with Pakistan on religious grounds. Many in Kashmir campaign for independence, a position that neither India nor Pakistan supports.

Around 30,000 people have died in Kashmir in the last 11 years. What happens in Kashmir is at the heart of the continuing tension between India and Pakistan. The possibility of the world's first direct war between two nuclear-armed states occurring is very real. The history of the conflict over Kashmir is well documented with three India/Pakistan wars taking place since 1947. But this time it would be with both sides having access to nuclear weapons.

Since the attack on the Indian Parliament building in December 2001, the tension and rhetoric have grown considerably. India accused Pakistan of supporting terrorist groups. Pakistan, in turn, pledges its support for Kashmiri freedom fighters. One state's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Since the attack in December, Pakistan has arrested around 1500 'militants' and banned five groups, two said to be sectarian, one pro-Taliban and two who have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. However, Gen Musharraf has pledged continued support for Kashmir.

Many people living along the border close to Kashmir have fled the area due to the large military presence being built up by both sides. From the end of 2001 there were clashes virtually every night in that border region, with sometimes one or two people being shot. There are claims that large numbers of military silos have been destroyed.

In an atmosphere of increased tension and sabre-rattling rhetoric on both sides, this led to the situation in May 2002 where upwards of a million troops were gathered near the border. Any mistake or small incident runs the risk of setting off something far, far worse.

Nuclear numbers
Estimates on actual warhead numbers vary wildly with reports that India has anywhere between 50-150 warheads and Pakistan 10-100. There is a bit more clarity, however, regarding the missile systems that would deliver them.

Agni (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile), nuclear capable and tested.
Range: 1,500 miles.
Could reach Karachi in about 14 minutes.

Prithvi (Surface to Surface Missile), nuclear capable and deployed.
Range: 90-220 miles.
Could reach Islamabad or Lahore within three minutes.

Trishul (Surface to Surface Missile), nuclear capable.
Range: 6 miles.

Ghauri (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile), nuclear capable in production.
Range: 930 miles
Could reach Bombay in 10 minutes.

One medium-range and one short-range missile, both nuclear capable, were tested in May 2002.

The current situation
All this, of course, is fuelled by the continuing rhetoric on both sides. Officials in both countries claimed that they would not use nuclear weapons first, but they seem remarkably keen to use them second. Given the proximity of the two states, it is clear that millions of their own people would die along with millions of their nearest neighbours. India has said that it would not use nuclear weapons first, while Pakistan has clearly stated that it would.

Whilst a 'no first use' policy is an important step towards disarmament, it is all too often used as an excuse to build a large 'second use' capacity. Eventually, of course, the 'second use' becomes indistinguishable from the 'first use'. As the tension mounts, the temptation grows to get your retaliation in first.

But what are the immediate reasons for the current increasing tension and the risk of war? India appears to be escalating events but its argument is that it is following the lead of the US and the west by zero tolerance of terrorist attacks. It has identified what it sees as terrorists being harboured by another state so it threatens military retaliation.

Both sides have had internal problems as well. In Pakistan, Musharraf has been promising a democratic election ever since the army took control, but there has been only a referendum. Though it was boycotted by many political parties, Musharraf claimed it as a mandate for him to continue. Meanwhile in India, the ruling BJP has lost every state election for over a year, so now uses the well-known tactic of uniting the country against an outside 'threat'. Whatever the reasons for the tensions, the crucial aim is to avoid the devastation of nuclear war.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, visited the region in January 2002 to try to persuade both sides that a war was not a good idea. This took place against the background of the bombing in Afghanistan, in which Britain was an enthusiastic participant. His approach raised concerns about Western hypocrisy, as if war is fine for some countries but not others. The sincerity of Blair's mission was also in question after it transpired that his plea for peace preceded two British trade missions to Delhi in February, both designed to sell weapons to India. Defexpo is an arms fair whose promotional material pushes the weaponry on sale, with everything from small arms to missile systems. India and Pakistan have long been valuable markets for British arms manufacturers. So this arms fair, combined with the resumption of arms sales to Pakistan, as a result of its support for the war in Afghanistan, means that Britain will be arming both sides in any future war. This is, of course, not unique. A similar thing happened during the Iraq-Iran war.

So, what's the answer? The situation in south Asia shows the importance of nuclear disarmament. A war even with conventional weapons would be an appalling waste of life. But this would be turned into a complete disaster on an unimaginable scale if nuclear weapons were used. In the short term there must be more diplomatic language and there must be proper international negotiations at the UN to resolve the problem of Kashmir. Our own politicians could do more to help. How can the British Government's attempts to calm the situation be taken seriously when the Defence Minister, Geoff Hoon, appears on television saying that he would use nuclear weapons against any state if necessary?

In the long term, the declared nuclear weapon states (NWS) - US, UK, France, Russia and China - must carry out their obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and get rid of their nuclear weapons. The NPT was drawn up in 1968, giving the definition of a NWS as one that tested nuclear weapons before then. Because India was preparing its nuclear programme at that time, it would not sign. Because India would not sign, neither would Pakistan. Therefore, they cannot sign the NPT as NWS and, since the nuclear testing by both sides in 1998, they cannot sign as non-nuclear weapon states. The NWS made statements at the time of the tests saying how appalled they were at this development. But after 11 September, the US lifted sanctions imposed on both sides, in order to boost its coalition in the 'War on Terrorism'.

If the NWS put the words of the NPT into action, they would be in a position to push India and Pakistan to sign the NPT themselves. After all, part of the excuse given by India and Pakistan for the 1998 nuclear tests was that those nuclear weapon states had done nothing about their NPT commitments, so if nuclear weapons were good enough for them.

Both sides need to be persuaded that nuclear weapons make the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place and to take a step back and realise that peaceful resolutions to conflict are the best way forward. This should happen through the UN. But the UN also needs to look at the continuing nuclear policies of the NWS.

There are peace activists in both India and Pakistan working hard to get their views across. Their work has been particularly difficult since the nuclear tests carried out by both countries in 1998. They have the entire might of the government and military propaganda machine ranged against them. We should do all we can to support them.