Southern Asia 1947: First Kashmir War
When the British Indian Empire was partitioned, most of the numerous princely states quickly agreed to join either India or Pakistan. An important exception was Kashmir, whose Hindu Maharaja attempted to remain independent while his Muslim subjects favored union with Pakistan. The dispute soon led to war, with Pakistan invading Kashmir and the Maharaja acceding his state to India. After a year’s fighting, India and Pakistan concluded a ceasefire, effectively dividing Kashmir between them.
Changes to the map 15 August 1947–27 October 1947
Indo-Pakistani War: Pakistani tribal forces with support from Pakistani troops have occupied western Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir has acceded to India.
Partition of India: The Radcliffe Line has defined the India-Pakistan border in Punjab and Bengal. Bhopal has acceded to India and Bahawalpur to Pakistan.
Iraq: The British have ended their occupation of Iraq.
17 Aug 1947 Radcliffe Line▲
The so-called Radcliffe Line - the official border between India and Pakistan - was published, two days after the Partition of India. The line’s creator, Sir Cyril Radcliffe - a lawyer deliberately chosen because he had never visited India or knew anyone there and was therefore considered unbiased - had been given five weeks to decide on a border from his arrival in India on 8 July 1947. As chair of both the Bengal and Punjab Boundary Commissions, Radcliffe had completed the job with the aid of four delegates from the Indian National Congress and four from the Muslim League.
22 Oct 1947 Invasion of Kashmir▲
After initial clashes in Poonch and Thorar, tribal forces from Pakistan launched an attack around Muzaffarabad and Domel, in the west of the de facto independent state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri state troops in the region were quickly defeated, prompting the Maharaja to request Indian support.
27 Oct 1947 Accession of Kashmir▲
On 26 October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, signed the Instrument of Accession - thereby agreeing to accede to the Dominion of India. The accession was accepted by Lord Mountbatten, Governor-General of India, the following day, who also suggested a referendum could be held once the country was stable. On the same day, Indian troops were airlifted into Kashmir to face the Pakistani invasion.