India and its neighbourhood- relations.
What to study?
For Prelims: Location of Gilgit- Baltistan, eigth thousanders.
For Mains: Controversy over the administration of the region, India’s concerns, viable solution.
Context: Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament has sufficiently amplified India’s broadened vision that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir including the so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) belong to India.
Where is Gilgit Baltistan located?
Located in the northern Pakistan. It borders China in the North, Afghanistan in the west, Tajikistan in the north west and Kashmir in the south east.
It shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it as part of the undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan sees it as a separate from PoK.
It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also passes through this region.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the “eight-thousanders” and to more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft).
Three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan.
How Pakistan took over it?
- The British sold it, along with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, to the Dogra ruler of Jammu, Gulab Singh, after defeating the Sikh army in 1846, but retained controlled over the area through a lease extracted from the Maharaja.
- This lease was last renewed in 1935. In 1947, a British army officer of the rank of Colonel imprisoned Maharaja Hari Singh’s governor in the region, and handed over the area for accession to Pakistan.
Pakistan, in 2017, proposed to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth Province.
- Gilgit- Baltistan is part of J&K and any such move would seriously damage Pakistan’s Kashmir case. Two UN resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 clearly established a link between GB and the Kashmir issue.
- Making the region its fifth province would thus violate the Karachi Agreement — perhaps the only instrument that provides doubtful legal authority to Pakistan’s administration of GB — as well as the UN resolutions that would damage its position on the Kashmir issue.
- Any such move would also be violative of the 1963 Pak-China Boundary Agreementthat calls for the sovereign authority to reopen negotiations with China “after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India” and of the 1972 Simla Agreement that mentions that “neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation”.
Sources: the hindu.