From left, Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, vice president of India's interim government; Earl Mountbatten, viceroy of India; and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, president of the Muslim League, discuss Britain's plan for the future of its colony at the historic India Conference in New Delhi, June 2, 1947.
The Kashmir conflict: How did it start?
The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir was sparked by a fateful decision in 1947, and has resulted in decades of violence, including two wars.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have been locked in conflict over Kashmir, a majority-Muslim region in the northernmost part of India. The mountainous, 86,000-square-mile territory was once a princely state. Now, it is claimed by both India and Pakistan.
The roots of the conflict lie in the countries’ shared colonial past. From the 17th to the 20th century, Britain ruled most of the Indian subcontinent, first indirectly through the British East India Company, then from 1858 directly through the British crown. Over time, Britain’s power over its colony weakened, and a growing nationalist movement threatened the crown’s slipping rule.
Though it feared civil war between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority, Britain faced increasing pressure to grant independence to its colony.