India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru has often been accused of being a pacifist, his Fabian Socialist training perhaps acting as a personal touch point. That he succumbed to Lord Mountbatten’s mistaken plea to needlessly internationalise the Kashmir dispute by referring the matter to the United Nations arguably helped create this misconceived notion. Of course, by predicating his foreign policy intent on non alignment and remaining equidistant from the new Cold World powers - US and USSR - he added to this mystique as a rallying point for a rapidly decolonising world. The end of the Second World War acted as a catalyst. Yet, there are times in the First Kashmir War where he could have easily gone after a scurrying Pakistan to reclaim its land, yet he chose not to; beholden to the moral position that since the matter had erroneously been referred to UN, let the august body take a view.
But over time, when faced with continuing Pakistan chicanery and perfidy, Nehru chose to display resolve and intent, stalling them at every twist and turn. Last week, I threw into stark relief how Nehru single handedly sank the construct of a Plebiscite Administrator, as also the candidature of Admiral Chester Nimitiz. Nehru’s pacificism is brought to the fore during the police action to round up Hyderabad State, known as Operation Polo, where Sardar Patel muscled his way to prise open the Nizam’s bastion. Goa provides a counterpoint to this narrative. The Indian Government under Jawaharlal Nehru attempted an economic blockade of Goa in 1955 so as to pressurize the Portuguese Government to leave Goan soil. But the blockade made little or no impact on the Portuguese Goan economy. His policy towards the Goa liberation movement came under severe attack from Afro-Asian countries at the Belgrade conference in early September 1961. One would have thought he would back off, but he didn’t for he believed in the ideal, idiom and idea of a united India and Goa was very much part of it.
Rachel Bridges writes - Nehru is credited as the sole figure of Goan independence, while ignoring the efforts made by the Goan working class, peasants and the elite. Nehru was certainly instrumental in negotiating and keeping the issue of Goa relevant in international politics, but the path paved to free Goa from colonial rule was ultimately created by the Goan and Indian people. From that path, Nehru helped guide the movement by organizing and finalizing the plans that would eventually result in Goa breaking free from Portugal. Perry Anderson in his book The Indian Ideology argued that Nehru was not the pacifist he portrayed himself to be. Anderson cited the examples of jailing opposition leaders from communist and military groups, the purging of communist leadership in states like Kerala, and heavy military spending as contradictory to Nehru’s image of a peaceful democrat. Anderson also cited the armed conflicts in Kashmir, Nagaland, and Aksai Chin as further proof that the Indian Government was often the aggressor in military conflicts. In the case of Goa however, military conflict was not Nehru’s first choice as he attempted to negotiate with the Portuguese government. Despite the attempts at negotiation, Nehru felt that his only option was the liberation of Goa by force. On December 18th, 1961, Operation Vijay began and ended a day later, successfully capturing Goa, Daman, and Diu with light causalities. Goa was free from Portugal’s 450 years of rule and a year later in 1962, Goa became a part of the Indian Union. Naturally the liberation of Goa was not received well in Salazar’s Portugal. Portugal was not about to let Goa go and so propaganda efforts only intensified. In 1962, the Portuguese National Secretariat for Information published a book titled, The Invasion and Occupation of Goa in the World Press. The book archived newspapers articles from around the world, condemning the Indian government’s actions in liberating Goa. It is obvious what stance the Portuguese took on the matter just by reading the introduction: “From it there stands out Portugal’s right and India’s wrong, the failure of responsible international organizations to keep the peace and the communist machinations against the west”.
“Nationalism,” Nehru himself writes in the seminal Toward Freedom, “is essentially an anti-feeling, and it feeds and fattens on hatred against other national groups, and especially against the foreign rulers of a subject country.” This remained his guiding principle and as he showed Pakistan, he simply couldn't be cajoled into doing anything once he had made up his mind. Once again I share sensitive and confidential government documentation to create a narrative which highlights Nehru’s focus on doing the right thing for India. Sadly while an obscurantist revision of Nehru is taking place, his contribution to modern Indian history can never be undermined. When push came to shove on UNCIP intervention in Kashmir, his core diplomatic understanding and subsequent manoeuvres stunned his adversary Pakistan. Nehru laid bare his case against Pakistan, a case of unwarranted aggression, first direct and then indirect which went against the grain of any peaceful resolution in the future. The boilerplate of a Plebiscite crushed under the weight of the same strategic invasion by Pakistani regular and irregular forces. He just put Pakistan and the UNCIP on notice for creating a false discourse:
20th August, 1948.
On the 17th of August, my colleague, the Minister without Portfolio, and I discussed with you and your colleagues of the Commission now in Delhi the resolution which you had presented to us on the 14th instant. On the 18th, I had another discussion with you, in the course of which I tried to explain to you the doubts and difficulties which members of my Government, and representatives of the Government of Kashmir whom we consulted, had felt as the result of a preliminary but careful examination of the Commission’s proposals.
2. During the several conferences that we had with the Commission when it first came to Delhi, we placed before it what we considered the basic fact of the situation which had led to the conflict in Kashmir. This fact was the unwarranted aggression, at first indirect and subsequently direct, of the Pakistan government on Indian Dominion territory in Kashmir. The Pakistan Government denied this although it was common knowledge. In recent months, very large forces of the Pakistan regular army have further entered Indian Union territory in Kashmir and opposed the Indian Army which was sent there for the defence of the State. This, we understand now, is admitted by the Pakistan Government, and yet there has been at no time any intimation to the Government of India by the Pakistan Government of this invasion. Indeed, there has been a continual denial and the Pakistan Government has evaded answering repeated inquiries from the Government of India.
In accordance with the resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations adopted on the 17th January, 1948, the Pakistan Government should have informed the Council immediately of any material change in the situation while the matter continued to be under the consideration of the Council. The invasion of the State by large forces of the regular Pakistan army was a very material change in the situation, and yet no information of this was given, so far as we know, to the Security Council.
The Commission will appreciate that this conduct of the Pakistan Government is not only opposed to all moral codes as well as international law and usage, but has also created a very grave situation. It is only the earnest desire of my Government to avoid any extension of the field of conflict and to restore peace, that has led us to refrain from taking any action to meet the new situation that was created by this further intrusion of Pakistan armies into Jammu & Kashmir State. The presence of the Commission in India has naturally led us to hope that any arrangement sponsored by it would deal effectively with the present situation and prevent any recurrence of aggression.
3. Since our meeting of the 18th August, we have given the Commission’s resolution our most earnest thought. There are many parts of it, which we should have preferred to be otherwise and more in keeping with the fundamental facts of the situation, especially the flagrant aggression of the Pakistan Government on Indian Union territory. We recognize, however, that, if a successful effort is to be made to create satisfactory conditions for a solution of the Kashmir problem without further bloodshed, we should concentrate on certain essentials only at present and seek safeguards in regard to them. It was in this spirit that I placed the following considerations before Your Excellency:
(1) That paragraph A.3 of Part II of the resolution should not be interpreted, or applied in practice, so as
(a) to bring into question the sovereignty of the Jammu and Kashmir Government over the portion of their territory evacuated by Pakistan troops;
(b) to afford any recognition of the so-called “Azad Kashmir Government”, or
(c) to enable this territory to be consolidated in any way during the period of truce to the disadvantage of the State.
(2) That from our point of view the effective insurance of the security of the State against external aggression, from which Kashmir has suffered so much during the last ten months, was of the most vital significance and no less important than the observance of internal law and order, and that, therefore, the withdrawal of Indian troops and the strength of Indian forces maintained in Kashmir should be conditioned by this overriding factor. Thus at any time the strength of the Indian forces maintained in Kashmir should be sufficient to ensure security against any form of external aggression as well as internal disorder.
(3) That as regard Part III, should it be decided to seek a solution of the future of the State by means of a plebiscite, Pakistan should have no part in the organization and conduct of the plebiscite or in any other matter of internal administration in the State.
4. If I understood you correctly, A.3 of Part II of the resolution does not envisage the creation of any of the conditions to which we have objected in paragraph 3(1) of this letter. In fact, you made it clear that the Commission was not competent to recognize the sovereignty of any authority over the evacuated areas other than that of the Jammu & Kashmir Government.
As regards paragraph 3(2), the paramount need for security is recognized by the Commission, and the time when the withdrawal of Indian forces from the State is to begin, the stages in which it is to be carried out and the strength of Indian forces to be retained in the State, are matters for settlement between the Commission and the Government of India.
Finally, you agreed that Part III, as formulated, does not in any way recognize the right of Pakistan to have any part in a plebiscite.
5. In view of this clarification, my Government, animated by a sincere desire to promote the cause of peace and thus to uphold the principles and prestige of the United Nation, have decided to accept the resolution.
Accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.
Prime Minister, India
His Excellency M.Josef Korbel,
United Nations Commission for India & Pakistan
Dr Lozano and his Alternate, Mr. Samper, called on me at 12 noon today. They limited their comments to paragraph 3 and 5 of our reply. Their points were:
(1) That the statement at the end of para.3 of our letter, namely that “Further withdrawal will depend and will have to be regulated according to the actual disbandment and disarming of the “Azad Kashmir” forces,” goes beyond Part II of Resolution of 13th August.
(2) That a schedule of withdrawal, which is limited to publication of the fact that we withdraw only 12 battalions, will not give effect to B.1 of Part II of the Resolution of the 13th August, which says that “when the commission shall have notified the government of India…..that government of India agree to begin to withdraw the bulk of their forces.”
2. I said that I had no authority to modify the letter which had been approved at the highest level and that its contents must be regarded as representing the government of India’s attitude towards the proposals made by the Commission. On the merits, it seemed to me that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir could not be regarded as having stood still since the 13th August Resolution was adopted. What we had to reckon with was (a) the presence, after the 7 weeks during which the Pakistan forces are to withdraw, of 32 so-called “Azad Kashmir” battalions, and (b) the presence outside the borders of the State, but within easy reach of the “truce line”, of the regular forces of Pakistan. For us to agree not to link the withdrawal of the bulk of our forces with the disbanding and disarming of the so-called “Azad Kashmir” forces would be incompatible with our responsibility to maintain the security of the State, a point which had been made clear to the Commission in the Prime Minister’s letter of the 20th August to Mr. Korbel, and in all our subsequent discussions. Dr. Lozano said that, although he could not commit his colleagues, his own idea was that the schedule of withdrawals of our forces to be published as suggested in paragraph 5 of our letter should cover the bulk of our forces to be withdrawn, but the period may be 3 or 4 months, and the actual progress to be made with the withdrawal after the first 7 or 8 weeks, should be subject to review in the light of the progress made with plans for the disbanding and disarming of “Azad Kashmir” forces. I replied that since the Commission had made their proposals to us in writing we had no option but to give our reply in writing also. It was now for the commission to make such proposals as it considered to be conducive to settlement, with due regard to our point of view. When such proposals were received, I felt sure that they would be most carefully considered. Although the Prime Minister and I, I continued, would be leaving tomorrow, Shri Gopalaswami Ayyanger, who was fully familiar with the negotiations, would be available, so would Shri Vishnu Sahay.
3. Since the American Ambassador had already been waiting for some time, Dr. Lozano and Mr.Samper took leave, but indicated that they might come back in the afternoon to discuss the problem of the sparsely populated and mountainous regions of the north. I said that I should be ready to receive them any time after 4-30.
4. Before Dr. Lozano and Mr. Samper left I handed to them our reply duly signed.
CONFIDENTIAL 23rd December, 1948
I have already forwarded to you, authentic copies of two Aides Memoire embodying the substance of your discussions with the Prime Minister of India. On the basis of the explanation given by you of the Commission’s Plebiscite proposals and the understanding arrived at in the course of the conversations between you and the Prime Minister, the Government of India, animated by a sincerely desire for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute and by their willingness to assist the U.N. Commission in achieving this objective, have decided to accept the proposals.
2. As you yourself said, the appointment of a Plebiscite Administrator will take some time. The Government of India have no objection to be preliminaries of choosing a person of high international standing and commanding general confidence being started, but they would prefer the proceedings to be kept confidential for the time being. No public announcement of the name of the person selected should be made without prior consultation with them.
3. My government would be glad to be informed if necessary confidentially, through their High Commissioner in Karachi, of the reply of the Government of Pakistan the Commission’s proposals. That Government should not be informed of the Government of India’s acceptance until after it has communicated its reply to Your Excellency.
Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration
His Excellency Dr. Alfredo Lozano, United Nations Commission
MINISTRY OF STATES.
Dated the 19th April 1949.
Forwarded with the compliments of Shri Vishnu Sahay, Secretary for Kashmir Affairs.
(with 1 s.c. for Bakshi Ghulam Mohd.)
Shri D.N Kachru,
Private Secretary to the Hon’ble Prime Minister
Dated the 17th April 1949.
The Government of India have asked me to convey the following views on
(a) your letter dated the 15th April, 1949 and
(b) the proposal of the Commission on the implementation of Part II of its Resolution of 13th August, 1948, which you left with me on the 15th.
2. Neither in the letter nor in the proposals is there any reference to the disbandment and disarming of the so called “Azad Kashmir” forces to which, as the Government of India have repeatedly informed you, they attach the utmost importance. The omission, if I understood you correctly, is due to the fact that, in Part II of the Commission’s Resolution of the 13th August, which the “truce agreement” is designed to implement, there is no reference to the disbanding and disarming of these forces. Since the disbanding and disarming of these forces has been repeatedly challenged, the Government of India would have preferred this matter to be dealt with in the “truce agreement”. In any case, they desire that the assurance regarding the disbanding and disarming of these forces contained in the aide memoire of the conversation of 22nd December, 1948, between the Prime Minister on the one hand and Ambassador Colban and you on the other should be made clear beyond any doubt. Discussions to implement this assurance should begin as soon as possible and decisions should be taken not later than the completion of the withdrawal of Pakistan troops (seven weeks) mentioned in A of the Commission’s proposals communicated to the Government of India on the 15th.
3. In the Prime Minister’s letter of acceptance of the Commission’s Resolution of the 13th August, it was stated that the strength of the Indian forces maintained in Kashmir should be conditioned by the over-riding factor of the effective insurance of the security of the State against external aggression. The presence, in the so called “Azad Kashmir” territory, of 32 battalions of “Azad Kashmir” forces constitutes a factor which the Government of India must take into account in determining the phasing of the withdrawal of their own forces. During the period of withdrawal of Pakistan troops (seven weeks) mentioned in Part A of the Commission’s latest proposals, the Government of India cannot, with due regard to the Security of the State, the maintenance of law and order and the sealing off of the border against unwarranted infiltration, withdraw more than 12 battalions. Further withdrawals will depend upon and will have to be regulated according to the actual disbandment and disarming of the “Azad Kashmir” forces.
4. As regards A of the Commission’s proposals – withdrawal of Pakistan forces – the Government of India assume that all irregular forces are included in the programme with withdrawal; also that no arms, equipment or military stores will be left behind by the Pakistan forces.
5. B. This has already been dealt with in paragraph 3 of this letter. The Government of India will have no objection to the publication by the Commission of the schedule of withdrawal of Indian forces that may be agreed upon between them and the Commission, but the programme of withdrawal of Pakistan forces should be published at the same time.
6.C. The Government of India agree.
7. D.1&2. The Government of India agree to the procedure outlined in these proposals, except as regards the territory from Cheswan to the north of Dras, which, in the opinion of the Government of India, forms part of the sparsely populated mountainous region referred to in the Prime Minister’s letter of 20th August to Mr Korbel.
8. D.3. although Pakistan forces, both regular and irregular, may be withdrawn from the sparsely populated and mountainous areas in the north, a large number of the local population, which Pakistan has armed, will remain and will constitute a threat and a menace both to the trade with Central Asia of the Jammu and Kashmir State and to the security of the valley of Kashmir. The Government of India, therefore, reaffirm their request that they be allowed to maintain garrisons at the strategic points mentioned in the memorandum which accompanied my letter No.248-PASG/49, dated the 13th April, 1949. As stated in that letter, the question of the administration of this area can be discussed separately.
8. The Government of India agree to E.1 and E.3 As regards e.2, they cannot agree to the unrestricted use of roads and waterways in the State of Jammu and Kashmir for refugee movement and for all other non-military purposes. Such freedom will make it impossible to check the infiltration into the State of persons who have no right to the there and will greatly aggravate the administrative difficulties which already confront both the State and the Military authorities on account of the infiltration which is already in progress and which, considering the long border between the territory under the control of the Government of India and that of Pakistan, it is impossible effectively to control. I may point out that Part II of the Commission’s Resolution, there is no reference to the subject matter of this proposal of the Commission. The freedom of return to the State of persons who have left it on account of the disturbances is referred to in 6(a) of the Commission’s Resolution of 5th January, 1949, only, and can be discussed only as part of the arrangements connected with the plebiscite. On purely humanitarian grounds, however, the Government of India are prepared to discuss arrangements for the movement of food convoys by both India and Pakistan under the supervision of the International Red Cross.
10. E.4. It is not clear under which provision of the Resolution of the 13th August, this proposal has been made. This matter falls under (7) of the Commission’s Resolution of the 5th January, 1949, and cannot be regarded by the government of India as legitimately connected with the truce agreement now proposed.
11. F.1 and 2. The Government of India agrees.
Please accept, Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.
Dr. Aflredo Lozano,
New Delhi, the 18th April, 1949.
Dear Mr. Gopalaswami,
I attach a note of a conversation which I had with Dr. Lozano, now Chairman of the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan. Our reply, which was handed over to him this morning, is as in the draft that was sent to you on Saturday. On reconsideration, the Prime Minister decided not to make any addition to paragraph 8. We felt that to say that the maintenance by us of garrisons at certain strategic points should not be contingent upon the recommendation of the Commission’s Observers would undoubtedly add to the emphasis of our reply but might unnecessarily hurt the susceptibilities of the Commission. If we can make our meaning clear without treading too heavily upon their toes, the latter might be avoided. I hope you agree that nothing has been lost by sending the letter in the form in which it has gone. I think that you will receive fresh proposals from the Commission.
In case I do not see you before I leave tomorrow morning, this is to say au revoir.
Hon’be Shri N.Gopalaswami Ayyangar,
Minister of Transport,
P.S. No member of the Commission called in the afternoon.
15th April, 1949
The Commission has considered the developments which have taken place since it last addressed itself formally to both Government with regard to the implementation of Part II of its Resolution of 13th August. It has considered the view points of both Governments and it has been studying the steps which have been and might be taken in connection with the further implementation of the Resolutions of the Commission.
In the light of all the above factors, and in order to facilitate the restoration of peace in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the holding of an early plebiscite, the Commission has decided to urge formally upon both Governments agreement upon the proposals contained in the enclosed document.
The Commission considers that these proposals represent an adjustment of view points within the framework of and consistent with the spirit of the commitments already entered into. It is also convinced that in accepting these proposals, both Governments will have taken a further important forward step towards the attainment of the objective which animates both of them, as well as the Commission – the prompt and peaceful solution of the problem of the State of Jammu and Kashmir through a free and impartial plebiscite.
With reference to point B.1 of the enclosed proposals, the Commission submits the following plan for the withdrawal of the bulk of the Indian troops from the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir:
(a) During the first month, sixteen Infantry Battalions, plus the corresponding proportion of Artillery and supporting Units, will be withdrawn.
(b) During the second month, eight additional Infantry Battalions will be withdrawn.
(c) During the third month, further withdrawal will be effected, at the end of which time the Indian Government will maintain, within the lines existing at the moment of the cease-fire, 24 Infantry Battalions, which the Commission considers at present necessary to assist the authority in the territory under the effective control of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Commission requests that the Government of India signify their agreement on these proposals as soon as possible and it hopes to be in possession of the agreement within three days, so that the Commission may then determine its future course of action.
Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Sd/- Alfredo Lozano
Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai,
Ministry of External Affairs,
Government of India
PROPOSALS PRESENTED TO THE
GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PART II OF THE COMMISSION’S RESOLUTION OF
13TH AUGUST 1948.
The Government of Pakistan agrees with the Commission that:
A.1. The Pakistan troops will immediately begin to withdraw from the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir as follows:
(a) During the first three weeks twenty Infantry Battalions, plus the corresponding proportion of Artillery and Supporting nits, will be withdrawn.
(b) During the following fortnight the remainder of the Pakistan troops will be withdrawn, with the exception of eight Infantry Battalions.
(C) By the end of the seventh week, the total of the Pakistan troops, including their ammunition, stories, and material will have left the territory of the State.
2. The Government of Pakistan, having secured the withdrawal from the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir of the tribesmen, shall secure the withdrawal of any of the Pakistan nationals still in the territory of the State and not normally resident therein, who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.
3. The territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission and without prejudice to the sovereignty of the State
The Government of India agrees with the Commission that:
B.1. As soon as the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the Tribesmen and the Pakistan nationals not normally resident in Jammu and Kashmir territory, who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting, have withdrawn, and that the Pakistan troops are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army will begin to withdraw the bulk of its forces in stages submitted to the Indian Government by the Commission. The schedule of the withdrawal of Indian forces will be published by the Commission immediately after the acceptance of these proposals by both Governments.
C.1. the operations mentioned in the above paragraphs A and B will be carried out under the surveillance of the Commission’s Military Adviser.
D.1. A cease-fire line based upon the factual positions occupied by th respective armies on 1 January 1949, has been fixed by the Commission, and is traced in yellow on the map annexed. Between CHAKHOTI and TITHWAL and from CHORWAN to the north of DRAS, the line shall be demarcated as soon as possible by the Military Adviser of the Commission. The cease-fire line shall eliminate all no-Man’s land and shall be demarcated on the ground by agreement between the respective local Commanders, assisted by the Commission’s Military Observers. That line shall, to the greatest extent possible, follow easily recognizable features on the ground.
2. The Commission authorizes its Military Adviser to decide, without appeal, local adjustments of the cease-fire line.
3. The Commission will have observers stationed where it deems necessary. In the sparsely populated and mountainous region of the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Observers will be stationed who, in the event that the defence of this territory becomes necessary, will so advise the Commission. The Commission, in this case, or at the request of the Government of India, may agree that the Government of India post garrisons at specified points of this area.
E.1. All land mines will be immediately lifted by the side which sowed them.
2. There will be free use of the roads throughout the State for refugees movement, refugee maintenance, and for all other non-military purposes. There will also be free use of all the waterways for all non-military purposes.
3. All prisoners of war will be released within one month.
4. All emergency laws promulgated as a consequence of hostilities will be repealed within one month, and all political prisoners arrested or prosecuted under these laws, whether condemned or not, will be released during the same period.
F.1. These provisions are without prejudice to the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
2. These provisions do not affect in any way the functions and powers of the Plebiscite Administrator.
210-Pasg/49. 28th March, 1949.
I am desired to forward herewith, for the Commission’s consideration, a memorandum embodying the views of the Government of India on the following points:
1. The Truce line in the North and North-East of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, beyond Keran, up to which point agreement has already been reached in principle between the Representatives of India and Pakistan.
2. Formation of a civil armed force for the maintenance of law and order in Azad Kashmir territory.
3. The withdrawal of Indian forces from Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant provisions of Part II of the Commission’s Resolution, dated the 13th August, 1948.
A map showing the truce-line which the Government of India seeks to establish is also enclosed.
2. The Government of India will be happy to send representatives to discuss the memorandum with the Commission at the Commission’s convenience.
Mons. Robert Van de Kherchove.
Chairman, United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan
Copy forwarded for information to:
1. The Hon’ble Mr Goapalaswami Ayyangar, Minister for Transport.
2. Mr.A.V.Pai, Piincipal Private Secretary to Hon’ble Prime Minister,
3. Mr.V.Shankar, Private Secretary to Hon’ble Minister for States,
4. Mr.V.P.Menon, Adviser, Ministry of States.