January 1:India lodges complaint with UN Security Council alleging that situation, continuance of which is likely to endanger peace and security, has developed between Pakistan and India owing invaders into the State of Jammu and Kashmir. India places their number at 19,000. The letter stresses that India is not using the “State’s immediate peril for her own political advantage” and repeats that once the State has been “cleared of the invader and normal conditions restored, its people would be free to decide their future by recognised democratic method of a plebiscite or referendum which, in order to ensure complete impartiality, might be held under international auspices”. The complaint requests the Security Council to ask Pakistan to desist from the course it has chosen.
January 15: Gopalaswamy Ayyangar , India’s representative, presenting his government’s case to the Council, states “the question … whether she (Kashmir) should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent with a right to claim admission as a Member of the United Nations – all this we have recognised to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir.” Following President’s consensus statement, Council members work on draft resolution contemplating simultaneous withdrawal of tribesmen and Indian troop, setting up a neutral administration and holding plebiscite under United Nations control.
February: In early February, at crucial stage of Security Council’s consideration of the dispute, India asks for suspension of proceedings expressing dissatisfaction with trend in the Council. Council members, notably Phillip Noel-Baker of Britain (later a Nobel Peace laureate) and Warren Austin of the United States protest. It seems, Austin says on February 10 that “what he (Indian representative) desired … was that the Council should take up a position which would amount to that of an ally in a war … and allow India to finish the job by force against the tribesmen. That is the very last position which the Council ought to take.” Mountbatten helps India bring pressure on Britain to help modify proposals under Council’s consideration.
April 21: Council adopts comprehensive resolution instructing UN Commission (membership raised to five) “to proceed at once” to subcontinent with mandate to bring about cessation of fighting and “necessary measures” for holding plebiscite. Resolution recommends demilitarisation of the State (except minimum forces required for law and order) “equitable” share of major political groups in government, establishment of Plebiscite Administrator headed by a nominee of Secretary General and return of all displaced persons.
April 30: Pakistan states that measures envisaged in Council’s resolution “are not adequate to ensure an impartial plebiscite”. On May 7, India voices objections to Council’s recommendations. Both parties, however, agree to confer with UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). With end of winter and roads no longer snow-bound, India poised on large-scale military offensive to capture Muzaffarabad. Gen Gracey, commander-in-chief of Pakistan Army, makes urgent request to his government to permit Pakistan’s regular forces, in limited strength, to enter Kashmir to prevent “an easy victory of the Indian army”. To forestall grave danger to Pakistan, Gen Gracey states, India cannot be “allowed to sit on the doorsteps of Pakistan” and “to advance beyond the general line Uri-Poonch-Naushehra”. Pakistan moves in three army brigades with strict instructions to take defensive positions behind Azad forces and not to take part in battle unless Indian troops break through. No air cover is provided to Pakistan forces, lest fighting escalate to Pak-India war.
May 18: Indian army launches offensive on Uri front, advancing half-way to Chakothi. “Our advance petered out on the Uri-Domel road,” says a senior Indian commander (Kaul). The halt on May 21 seems to be caused by strategic points being tightly held by Azad forces in the wooded, mountainous area and the risk of scattering Indian strength in assaulting different positions. Fighting, however, continues sporadically on this front (of principal political importance) but steadily elsewhere.
July 7: UNCIP arrives in subcontinent on July 7 after delay (never explained) of 76 days since passage of Security Council resolution instructing it “to proceed at once”. Enters into intensive negotiations with both governments at highest level towards formulating an agreement to a ceasefire and synchronises withdrawal of all regular Pakistani forces and bulk of Indian forces (constituting a truce between the two sides) and reaffirmation of their common wish that “future status of the State shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people”.
August 13: UNCIP adopts resolution, which is a draft agreement between Pakistan and India and submits it to both governments. It says, future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people.
August 20: Nehru addresses letter to UNCIP Chairman saying that his government “have decided to accept the resolution”. Acceptance is based on India’s understanding (stated in letter) of several key terms of resolution. Foreign Minister Zafrullah Khan of Pakistan seeks “elucidations” from UNCIP of its proposals and of explanations it has supplied to India and expresses reservations about ambiguity concerning specific nature of conducting plebiscite. UNCIP decides to return to Geneva to prepare interim report to Security Council.
December 11: UNCIP supplements its resolution with provisions regarding conduct and conditions of contemplated plebiscite. Both Pakistan and India accept the UNCIP proposals along with resolution of August 13. Acceptance is conveyed in communications dated December 23 (from India) and December 25 (from Pakistan). These proposals as agreed to by both governments are embodied later in UNCIP resolution of January 5, 1949. The peace plan contemplates three stages of settlement, first, ceasefire, second, truce (synchronised withdrawals of forces on the two sides), third, plebiscite. Joint acceptance of peace plan comes at time when after reverses suffered by Azad forces, Pakistan army has launched an operation at a vital point (Beri Pattan bridge) to sever India’s line of communications. Operation is halted on Gen. Glancey’s orders.Follow @kmsnewz