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Gilgit-Baltistan

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Gilgit-Baltistan:


Context:

Pakistan has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan’s status to that of a full-fledged province.

  • However, India has clearly conveyed to Pakistan that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of the country by virtue of its fully legal and irrevocable accession.

What’s the issue?

Gilgit-Baltistan has functioned as a “provincial autonomous region” since 2009.

It is controlled by Pakistan.

Besides, in a recent order, the Pakistan Supreme Court also allowed the amendment to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 to conduct the general elections in the region.

Where is Gilgit Baltistan located?

It borders China in the North, Afghanistan in the 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.

Key points:

  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through this region.
  • The region 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.

Impediments ahead:

  • 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 Agreement that 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”.

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InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Gilgit- Baltistan- Location, neighbours and important rivers flowing through.
  2. What is Karachi Agreement related to?
  3. The 1963 Pak- China Boundary Agreement.
  4. 1972 Simla Agreement.
  5. About PoK and CPEC.

Mains Link:

Where is Gilgit- Baltistan? How it came under the control of Pakistan? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.