On Indo-Pakistan Relations (1951)
CPI and CPSU (b)
The following documents are part of the correspondence between the CPI and the CPSU (b) on the relations between India and Pakistan in 1951 which turned on the question of Kashmir. We also include here (Documents VI and VII) materials which directly pertain to the theme of Kashmir: viz. the text of the telegram from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, addressed to A. Ya. Vyshinsky and also to Ya. A. Malik in Paris. Vyshinsky at this time was the representative of the Soviet Union in the United Nations Security Council.
The documents reveal the commitment which both Communist Parties placed at that time on the question of the right of the people of Kashmir to self-determination. They also show the different nuances within the leadership of the CPI on the approach to be adopted on the Kashmir question. The CPSU (b) while noting that both the states of India and Pakistan were collaborating with imperialism recognised the latter state as being more reactionary as indicated by its willingness to allow the US and Britain the use of its soil to establish military bases. As indicated elsewhere in this issue of this journal the democratic right of the peoples to self-determination confirmed by Marx and Engels was repudiated by the bulk of the communist movement in the post-Stalin period and upheld only by the Marxist-Leninists. It must be hoped that the publication of these materials will help to bring about more clarity in the democratic movement on the Kashmir question in India and elsewhere. This is of especial importance as the CPI and CPI (M) have long ago passed over to political positions which are little different from national-chauvinism.
To Comrade Stalin
I am forwarding the translation from English of the letter received on the 5th of October of this year from India from A.K. Ghosh about India-Pakistan relations, as well as additions to it from Dange and the comments of Rajeshwara Rao regarding this letter.
A.K. Ghosh, spelling out in his letter the divergent opinions of the members of the Politbureau and the CC CP India on the policy of the Communist Party on Kashmir, requests the CC AUCP (b) to convey its opinion on this question.
Suggestions regarding the letter will be forwarded additionally.
Chairman, Foreign Policy Commission CC AUCP(b) (V. Grigorian)
5th October 1951
Copies sent to:
On Indo-Pakistan Relations
Tensions in the relations between India and Pakistan have recently greatly intensified and at present pose a serious threat.
The conflict is escalating around the Kashmir question. There is no necessity to go into the history of the dispute and show how the imperialists have pitted India and Pakistan against one another and have deliberately stoked the conflict with the aim of controlling Kashmir and using it as their military base against the USSR and China.
As it is well known, in February of this year India rejected the UN proposal regarding arbitrage and the Kashmir government of Sheikh Abdullah declared a few months ago that the question of the form of the future government of Kashmir, as also the question of its accession to India or to Pakistan will be decided by the Constituent Assembly after the general elections involving all of the adult population of the territory under the control of the Abdullah’s government.
Immediately after this a declaration was made by the rulers of Pakistan that such a Constituent Assembly will be nothing but window dressing and an instrument of the government of India and all its decisions will be considered illegal. The leaders of the ‘Independent Pakistani’ government and the ‘government’ of the part of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan have declared that the convening of the Constituent Assembly by Sheikh Abdullah will be viewed by them as an act of aggression against the ‘Kashmiri people’ and will be resisted through all means.
Despite all these threats, the government of Sheikh Abdullah has continued with the preparations for convening the Constituent Assembly, the election to which have been set to take place in September.
In such a situation the government of India has welcomed as ‘guests’ Dr. Graham and the generals and advisors accompanying him.
Graham has been to Delhi, Karachi and Singapore and has taken an active part in the building up of the military tension between India and Pakistan. With the arrival of Dr. Graham the pronouncements of the Pakistani rulers have become more and more hostile. In the print and on the radio open calls for ‘Jihad’ (holy war) are being made and war hysteria is being deliberately stoked by the digging of trenches and by conducting night blackouts in the towns and cities of Pakistan. A section of the Indian press and the reactionary nationalist organisation Hindu Mahasabha have also started issuing threats to Pakistan. However, the Indian government has not yet made any attempts to deliberately stir up war hysteria.
It is absolutely clear that the Pakistani policy of threats is aimed at forcing the Indian government to agree to UN mediation. Pakistan is being pushed to take this step by the Anglo-American imperialists. India and Pakistan have concentrated their armed forces along the temporary line of demarcation as well as along the western and eastern borders. A large part of the armed forces of both the countries is now facing each other eye to eye. The greatest concentration of the forces is along the western border.
From the correspondence between Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan that has been published the following becomes clear:
1. The Pakistani government is ready to give the assurance that it will not attack Indian territory. However, very significantly, it has refused to include any part of Kashmir under the term ‘Indian territory’.
2. India considers this as Pakistan’s intention to seize Kashmir forcibly. The Indian government has declared that if any part of Kashmir presently under the control of the Indian armed forces will be subjected to an attack, then India will consider such an act as an attack on its own territory and war would commence all along the Indo-Pakistan border.
Practically, it can be said with certainty that there will be no war. But still the party must be ready for all surprises so as to shape its policy in any such eventuality.
There is full agreement in the party on the following questions:
1. The imperialists are deliberately creating military tension as it is a part of their policy to force Pakistan and India to turn to them for help and this will bolster their influence in these countries.
2. The party must fight for diffusion of military tension created by the imperialists with the aim of forcing India to accept UN mediation.
3. The party’s task is to oppose all propaganda aimed at starting a war. It is necessary to explain to our people that it is only the imperialists that are provoking a war and only they are going to benefit in the end. The war will be a disaster for the peoples of both the countries.
4. The Kashmir question must be resolved democratically by the people of Kashmir. India and Pakistan must agree to put an end to the military division of Kashmir and give a chance to the whole of the people of the princely state to freely resolve the question of accession to India or to Pakistan.
Despite the unity of opinions on these fundamental questions differences still exist that must be immediately removed. The differences have cropped up on the following questions: what should our slogan be in case armed hostilities break out on the Kashmir question? The majority of the comrades in the Politbureau think that according to the Berlin declaration we should name as aggressor that country which is the first to use force. According to these comrades we must declare that India has the full right to repel any attack which is conducted by any country at any place (including Kashmir) but India should under no circumstances occupy Pakistani territory.
One member of the Politbureau and two from the Central Committee have expressed the opinion that such a slogan of self defence of India in case of an attack will play into the hands of the reactionary forces of India and will amount to supporting the government of Nehru. These comrades assert that it is never possible to establish whose armed forces were the first and therefore we must expose the policies of both the governments as an imperialist contest and limit ourselves to this. The differences in the party emerge from the differing evaluation of the policies of the governments of Pakistan and India.
The majority of the comrades in the Politbureau are of the opinion that though essentially both governments are collaborationists, Pakistan is under the much greater influence of the American and English imperialists and it would be a mistake to equate the policies of the Pakistani and the Indian governments. The comrades in the Politbureau say that taking into account the strategic location of Kashmir the imperialists are making every effort to unite Kashmir with Pakistan by means of mediation with the view that in this case they can control it more effectively than if Kashmir accedes to India. The war hysteria, these comrades state, is meant to force India to reassess its refusal to accept the UN proposals. According to these comrades the Indian government has the right to repel any attack by Pakistan on Kashmir, though it should not occupy Pakistani territory.
We would like to know your opinion on this question if possible in the very near future.
There is not enough clarity and unity of opinion regarding the Kashmir question itself. There are the following questions:
1. Should Kashmir unite with India or remain an independent state?
2. Should the party demand removal of the Indian and the Pakistani armed forces as a preliminary step towards convening of the freely elected Constituent Assembly of the united princely state?
3. Should we just declare that the Kashmir question must be resolved by India and Pakistan through mutual agreement and through peaceful means, by ascertaining the will of the Kashmiri people or should we put forward a proposal for conducting a plebiscite under observation of the 5 great powers?
A section of the members are of the view that Kashmir must become an independent state and its sovereignty be guaranteed by its neighbour states: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, USSR and China. The majority of the members of the Politbureau have objections to this view as they think that an independent Kashmir will fall under the domination of the American imperialists.
The majority of the members of the Politbureau express the opinion that the demand to withdraw the armed forces of India and Pakistan from Kashmir at present will not be appropriate.
According to the view of the majority of the members of the Politbureau the Kashmir question must be resolved by India and Pakistan without the mediation of the UN in any form.
Addition to the letter from Ghosh
In the discussion of the Kashmir question we must proceed from the Anglo-American contradictions in the Middle East and also from the desire of the English and the American imperialists to set up strategic bases against the USSR and China. In connection with this the question of contrast between the ‘war slogans’ of Pakistan and the ‘peace slogan’ of India comes up. Why is it and on what basis is Nehru at present ‘playing the game of war and peace’, as it was noted in the section on the foreign policy of our programme? Without clarification of these questions it is not possible to establish to what extent the foreign policy of both these states is pro-imperialist and dependent.
Just the Kashmir question alone does not explain the significance of the ‘peace slogan’ and the illusions that have been created by the Nehru government with the help of this slogan. It is necessary to take into account our draft of the resolution along with the proposed corrections, both the ones that were accepted and the ones rejected. It should be noted that some comrades see the policy of the Nehru government on the Kashmir issue only as an electioneering trick. I would like to know to what extent all the members of the Politbureau would show consent for narrowing the differences in their opinions.
Sh. A. Dange
Additional observations of Rajeshwara Rao
The Kashmir question which is the central element of the Indo-Pakistan contradictions, in the note by comrade A.K. Ghosh, has not been sufficiently illuminated.
We consider that Kashmir should join India in the interests of the Kashmiri people and peace in the whole world. This should be done in accordance with the will of the Kashmiri people. The abolition of the rule of the Maharaja and carrying out of agrarian and other reforms of democratic nature must be made, both by the government of India and the government of Pakistan, the basis for the resolution of the problem of accession. If we attempt to resolve the question of accession by-passing these problems we risk falling into a trap set up by both these reactionary governments. Consequently, as a priority, we must put forward the questions of abolition of the rule of the Maharaja and the carrying out of agrarian and other democratic reforms.
In connection with this we will have to participate in the elections to the Constituent Assembly with additional demands apart from the demands of protection against attacks from Pakistan on the part of Kashmir that is under the control of the Indian government. Its necessary to do so because the very idea of convening the Constituent Assembly has been put forward by the government of Sheikh Abdullah and the Indian government, and both Abdullah and the Indian government still enjoy popular influence in Kashmir, at least in the part of its territory that is under their control, though discontentment with the governments of Abdullah and the Indians is on the rise as they have not fulfilled the promises they made to the people of Kashmir.
Our demands are:
1. No talks with the UN.
2. The governments of the Indian Union and Pakistan must find methods for a peaceful and democratic resolution of the question.
3. The Constituent Assembly should immediately end the rule of the Maharaja and carry out agrarian and other democratic reforms.
We will defend our demands both during the elections and inside the Constituent Assembly. If the Constituent Assembly ends the rule of the Maharaja and carries out agrarian and other democratic reforms our task will become easier. We will openly ask the Kashmiri people to join the Indian Union. If the Constituent Assembly does not accept our demands then in the Constituent Assembly on the question of accession of Kashmir to India or to Pakistan we will take a neutral stand and subsequently chalk out our policy for the future. In this case we cannot ask the Kashmiri people to join India. Different groups of people are living in Kashmir, there are Muslims and Hindus. We may ask the Kashmiri people to join either India on Pakistan depending on their nationality. But at present we must concentrate our attention on the elections to the Constituent Assembly and put up our demands.
RGASPI, Fond 558, Opis 11, Delo 312, Listy 32-39.
RESOLUTION OF THE POLITBUREAU CC AUCP (b)
Regarding the Letter of Comrade A.K. Ghosh (CC CP India)
To confirm the reply to comrade A.K. Ghosh (CC CP India) (Attached)
Adopted 17. X. 51.
17. X. 51.
RGASPI Fond 558, Opis 11, Delo 312, List 39.
From Protocol no. 84
Decisions of the Politbureau CC AUCP (b) from 8 October to 10 December.
From 25.X. 1951
149. – On the Letter of Comrade A.K. Ghosh (CC CP India).
Secretary CC I. Stalin
REPLY TO THE QUESTIONS OF COMRADE A.K. GHOSH ON KASHMIR
Central to the resolution of the Kashmir problem, in our view, is providing the people of Kashmir the possibility to resolve the question of their State’s status, of preventing any UN intervention or that of American-English imperialists behind it in the resolution of the Kashmir question.
The CC CP India in its election manifesto correctly poses the question of peaceful resolution of the Kashmir question by proposing the signing of a no-war pact between India and Pakistan, withdrawal of the Kashmir question from the UN, departure of the UN representative from the country and resolution of the Kashmir question in a peaceful and democratic manner.
To support a plebiscite under the observation of 5 great powers would be incorrect, as it would give the American and the English imperialists the ground to intervene in the resolution of the Kashmir question.
The Communist Party of India may further declare officially that the question whether Kashmir joins India or becomes an independent state must be decided by the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir taking into account the interests and the striving of the Kashmiri people. Along with this, the Communist Party should take all steps so that the people of Kashmir and their Constituent Assembly make the decision favouring accession to India.
For the present, the demand for the withdrawal of the Indian and Pakistani troops from Kashmir should not be put as the condition for the convening of the Constituent Assembly.
While deciding the line of the Communist Party on the Kashmir question it must be taken into account that at present the positions of the government of Sheikh Abdullah and the Indian government supporting it are more acceptable to the democratic camp than the positions of the ruling class of Pakistan. The accession of Kashmir to Pakistan would lead to the enslavement of Kashmir and strengthening of the influence of the American imperialists in Kashmir.
If Pakistan attempts to incorporate Kashmir to itself by force the Communist Party must come out in support of a military reply to Pakistan by India, declaring such a reply as military aid to Kashmir in its liberation struggle against Pakistan.
RGASPI, Fond 17, Opis 102, Delo 47, LL 88-89.
From Protocol no. 84
Decisions of the Politbureau CC AUCP (b) from 8 October to 10 December
From 5. XII. 51
651. On the Position of the Representative of the USSR in the Security Council on the Kashmir problem.
To confirm the draft of the directives to the representative of the USSR in the Security Council (attached)
Notes sent to: Comrades Malenkov, Molotov, Gromyko.
Secretary CC I. Stalin
To Vishinsky, Malik
In the discussions of the Kashmir question in the Security Council the representative of the USSR till now has not been taking an active part and has abstained during voting on various proposals relating to this issue. Such a position of the Soviet representative was necessitated by the need to clarify above all the positions of India and Pakistan. This was also justified by the need to ascertain the plans of the USA and England in relation to Kashmir and to lay bare for all the futility of these plans from the point of view of regulation of the Kashmir problem, and their invasive imperialist nature in relation to Kashmir, which has been revealed, for example, by their support against India to a more reactionary Pakistan that has, as it is well known, openly demonstrated its willingness to provide military bases on its territory for the American and English imperialists.
Since the aforementioned objectives have been largely accomplished presently, and the Kashmir problem is increasingly attracting the attention of the public of the Asian countries, it would be erroneous to carry on taking a passive position on the Kashmir question.
In this connection during the discussion of the Kashmir question in the Security Council the representative must participate in the debate and be guided by the following:
In his interventions the Soviet representative must declare, that, in the opinion of the Soviet government, the Kashmir question can be successfully resolved only by providing the Kashmiri people the possibility to solve the issue of the status of Kashmir on their own without any external interference. This can be done by means of the status of Kashmir being decided by the Constituent Assembly that has been democratically elected by the people of Kashmir. Such a resolution of the Kashmir question would also be congruent with the Charter of the UNO, in particular, article which establishes that one of the goals of the organisation is to ‘develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples…’, i.e. the right of the peoples to determine their own destiny.
RGASPI, F. 17, Op. 162, D.47, LL. l206-7.
Published by the kind permission of the authorities of the Russian State Archive of Social-Political History.
Translated from the Russian by Tahir Asghar.
This translation © Revolutionary Democracy.