Kashmir was born on March 16, 1846, when the British East India Company sold Muslim-majority Kashmir to a Hindu, Gulab Singh, for $179,000. Sheikh Abdulla's National Conference launched a "Quit Kashmir" movement in 1946, asking the Hindu Maharaja, Hari Singh, to free Kashmir. At the time of India's independence from Great Britain, in August 1947, Kashmir was one of 565 princely states that were free to join either India or Pakistan. Hari Singh decided to join neither. He changed his mind in favor of India after Pakistani tribesmen invaded Kashmir on Oct. 22, 1947. On Oct. 27, the Indian army was moved into Kashmir to drive out Pakistani intruders.
India took the Kashmir conflict to the United Nations and offered to hold a plebiscite, under UN supervision, after the raiders were moved back. A UN commission proposed that the state's future be decided in accordance with the will of the people. After Pakistan accepted that resolution, a ceasefire became operational between India and Pakistan, leaving one-third of Kashmir under Pakistan's control and the rest under Indian authority. Since then India and Pakistan have fought two wars in Kashmir, in 1965 and 1971. Pakistan lost both wars; thus began its "proxy war," a perennial campaign to gain control by indoctrinating, training, and financing terrorists.
The subcontinent's nuclearization in 1998 triggered the conflict of 1999. More lives were lost this time than in the previous two wars; in all, more than 20,000 people have been killed in the battle to control Kashmir.