Pakistan wants Kashmir because at the point of the partition Kashmir was (and still is to this day) a predominantly Muslim region. Therefore, Pakistan is looking out for what it considers its people. Indeed, Pakistan was created with the intention of creating a country for all Muslims in British India.

  1. India wants Kashmir because... well, why exactly?

  2. Would the costs of going to war over Kashmir — casualties, resources, etc — really be worth it for India?

Note that this question is not a duplicate of the other question which asks for what claims each country has. I know India's official claim, which is that Kashmir used to be ruled by a Hindu person. But I do not feel that alone is reason enough for all the battles fought over Kashmir. Does India really value the opinions of one Hindu person over the opinions of all the Muslims in the region so much that they might be willing to go to multiple wars for it?

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    Majority of muslim population was not the legal method at that time, kindly correct it and once go through the document of instrument of accession . Also India have more muslim population than Pakistan as a whole, so on this basis India should be a part of Pakistan. Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 9:30
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    In general people/countries want to keep/have/get what they think should be theirs. And sometimes they can get very narrow-minded about it. I do not know Indians enough to give more specific motivation. Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 12:35
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    "But I do not feel that alone is reason enough for all the battles fought over Kashmir" But for the government of India, that is reason enough. India claims that this document is legal, hence all of Kashmir is Indian, and that is quite enough reason to go to war. Territorial integrity is plenty enough reason for a country to go to war: Think US civil war, for example
    – James K
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 15:02
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    Perhaps it is not so much that India wants Kashmir, but that it doesn't want Pakistan to have it? How would it react to an independent Kashmir? Like an independent Bangladesh?
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 20:00
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    Possible duplicate of Why do governments still assume that "the more land, the better"?
    – Bregalad
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 12:41

5 Answers 5


I will try to touch on all aspects here.


As you have rightly pointed out, Kashmir was ruled by a Hindu ruler during that time(Maharaja Hari Singh). Now, Hari Singh was a stupid ruler. The British had given the Princely states the choice between the two dominions at that time. Hari Singh intentionally delayed his decision. Obviously, the Pakistani Establishment got impatient as Hari Singh refused to give a concrete decision(Pakistan had assumed that Kashmir would be theirs due to it being Muslim-majority). So, when Pakistan occupied some regions of Kashmir, Hari Singh realized his own folly and signed the Instrument of Accession. Indian soldiers were air-lifted into Srinagar and they took back almost 2/3rd of the region before the UN became involved. Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, was a Kashmiri Pandit and he has been accused by modern-day "nationalists" to be too emotional with the Kashmir issue. In any case, India claims Kashmir because its then-ruler had signed the instrument of accession.


The natural terrain of Kashmir is hilly. The mountains act as natural barriers to any invading army. Keeping control of these peaks is essential for India's own safety. In the Kargil War, Pakistani soldiers took control of a very important strategic point, Tiger Hill. Indian soldiers went to the very extreme to capture Tiger Hill back from the Pakistanis because of its strategic importance. Similarly, in 1984, Operation Meghdoot was launched by the Indian army to capture a strategically important Siachen Glacier.


The three major rivers that flow through Jammu and Kashmir are Jhelum, Chenab and Indus. According to the Indus water treaty, these rivers are controlled by Pakistan. However, as these rivers originate in India, India can use them for irrigation,transport and hydro-power generation. Water is the most scarce resource in the whole of South-Asia. Thus, control over Kashmir gives India the control over its rivers and by extension gives them an edge in geopolitical issues facing the region.

  • This answer really answers the question IF you have solid political bias in one direction and no desire to weigh all facts. Otherwise it has minimal explanatory value. Just as an answer that was equally jingoistic in the other direction would be essentially valueless. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 0:29
  • Please vote down and comment rather than editing to change the intention of the author.
    – James K
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 19:40
  • @JamesK Now being discussed on meta Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 21:38
  • Please edit out the part where you insult people. Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 15:31

Kashmir was (and still is) a Muslim majority state of undivided India in 1947 ruled by a Hindu prince Maharaja Hari Singh. The Kashmir crisis started along with the signing of accession accord with the Republic of India by Hari Singh.

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There were Pakistani invasions and Chinese claim of Kashmir in 1947 which split Kashmir into three parts.

  1. Pakistani administered Kashmir is known as Azad Kashmir (plus, Gilgit-Baltistan and part of Siachen Glacier)
  2. Chinese part of Kashmir is known as Aksai Chin (plus, Shaksgam Valley)
  3. Indian administered Kashmir is known as Jammu and Kashmir (plus, part of Siachen Glacier).

Note that, Gilgit-Baltistan joined Pakistan voluntarily. Pakistan Army took control of this area later. Azad Kashmir was occupied by Pakistan by invasion.

Grabbing Kashmir is a part of a greater plan of rebuilding Akhand Bharat.

Akhand Bharat is the ideology of the Indian Hindu extremist group RSS with which BJP holds the common ground.

The main binding force of India is the Hindu nationalism or Hindutva which originated during the British rule at the start of 19th century. Note that, because of the Napoleonic wars, the Europe saw the rise of Nationalism. Indian people, as part of the citizens of the British empire, started to go to Europe for higher education. The Western education gave rise to Indian Nationalism.

Hinduism played a significant role in this regard. As Muslims were outsiders and invaders, it was convenient to find a hero, who is indigenous and can be taken as a symbol of Indian unity. That hero was Emperor Bharata who ruled Akhand Bharat during the Vedic era. There was also a historical analog of Bharata. Ashoka Maurya unified the entire India and expanded India to its greatest extent as well.

As the Wikipedia suggests,

India has been unified under many emperors and governments in history. Ancient texts mention India under emperor Bharata and Akhand Bharat, these regions roughly form the entities of modern-day greater India. The Mauryan Empire was the first to unite all of India and South Asia (including much of Afghanistan).

Grabbing Kashmir will humiliate and debilitate India's last enemy in South Asia and the only arch-enemy in the world Pakistan, and hopefully, begin the start of a new foundation of Akhand Bharat.

Now, the relevant question is: What about the other parts of Akhand Bharat?

Well, India almost at the control of the Akhand Bharat except for its arch-enemy Pakistan. Grabbing landmasses is not the only way to build empires. Creating hegemony is another tool.

We can take the examples of Russia's Putin and Turkey's Erdogan. Putin and Erdogan are reportedly obsessed with the revival of their respective empires (e.g. Russian/Soviet Empire and Ottoman Empire).

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    This so-called answer has nothing factual but only rants and political agenda.
    – Rolen Koh
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 11:46
  • 2
    I can understand this answer in context about today when nationalist ( or ultra-nationalist ) party in power in india, But previous governments also show same love to keep kashmir into india and they are far from admire Akhand Bharat ( India ) concept. Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 5:26
  • @RolenKoh, prove that.
    – user17569
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 19:22
  • @kuldeep.kamboj, kindly, check the RSS's history.
    – user17569
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 19:22
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    Grabbing Kashmir is a part of a greater plan of rebuilding Akhand Bharat., grabbing, I don't agree, include and inclusive is a better word
    – Up-In-Air
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:57

enter image description here

Well, this is a endless debate but still I clear your doubt, India does not want Kashmir, but it is the integral part of Republic of India. At the time of dual theory was being implemented it was said that any province can choose any of the nation i.e India and Pakistan as well as they can maintain the neutral status and can run their state as independent under their own rule so somewhere around 1948 Raja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession and become a part of India. Before that the Pakistan military (Kabilai) attacked the State of Kashmir and try to annex that forcefully and in counter attack Indian forces attack the Pakistani troops.

Also, states were not divided on the basis of the majority population, they were came under the rule only after the letter of annexation being signed by the princely states.

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    @sparrowTrajan: As I understand it, the princely states had a choice whether to join India, join Pakistan or remain independent (which I think Hyderabad chose). However other directly-ruled provinces, notably Punjab and Bengal, were each divided according to religious majority. Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 9:43
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    Yeah, it is true. but what they have done with the Bangladesh and Ballochistan everybody knows Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 9:46
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    Actually Pakistan was a term coined by Chaudhray rhemat ali and that refers to mainly, Punjab, kashmir, Afganistan, sindh and balloch but division didnt happen accordingly en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 9:49
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    "India Does not want Kashmir, but it is the integral part of Republic of India" Effectively it is not all part of India, isn't it? The question is probably why India wants the part it does not currently control. Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 12:42
  • @Trilarion if you with the facts and proper history background almost kashimr is part of India, but in today's scenario you are right there some disputed area India claims to be its own territory. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 10:57

You got half the information right. Pakistan was created solely to tend to the Muslims in British India. That does not mean that India was made for the Hindus. In fact, India was open to anyone who wanted to be Indian irrespective of their religion. That explains why a lot of Muslims did not move to Pakistan when they had the choice. India today has more Muslims than Pakistan. Coming to the question, the Mountbatten Plan clearly had left the choice to the rulers of the land. The ruler of Kashmir wanted to join India, and he did. It was left to the Muslim population of Kashmir to go to Pakistan if they so desired.


If India wanted Kashmir so much then what stopped it from taking back Gilgit Baltistan and POK area of Kashmir, which are still under illegal control of the Pakistan Government. When ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh signed instrument of accession Kashmir became integral part of Republic of India. Entire Kashmir not just the present day Kashmir on the Indian side.

On the contrary, the desperation of Pakistan to occupy Kashmir is quite evident, be it from the regular state sponsored terrorism or going to war with India. India has only defended its terroritory from external aggression and it will continue to do so. For Pakistan, Kashmir is an obsession and a bait for the radical elements it harbours. This is an ongoing process, ever since it's inception.

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    What stops India? Pakistan is a nuclear country.
    – user4514
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 19:58
  • If India does not want Kashmir and Pakistan is obsessed with Kashmir, why doesn't India give Pakistan IOK and improve security and political situation in the region and in return reduce the chances of a nuclear conflict. Secondly if India has nothing to hide in Kashmir why does India refuse to speak about Kashmir in International forums. Last but not the least, do all provinces in India have 0.7 million armed forces deployed to their regions with night curfews imposed, if not then why in Kashmir? What could possibly be the reason?
    – ITguy
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 11:39
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    First of all there's no such thing as IOK. But I do agree this conflict has many dimensions to it. Pakistan's open support to disturbance in the area is undeniable but yes GOI too has had its shortcomings in effectively dealing with this issue. Personal opinion: This would persists simply because it help weapon lobbies rake billions of dollars, then there is the help and motivation in lieu, it provides to jihadi factions. Needless to mention, Kashmiri's particularly in the disturbed area will suffer & Indian and Pakistani populace will be riled up on nationalistic rants and jingoism. Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 12:25
  • 'First of all there's no such thing as IOK' doch, ask the people living in kashmir either side of the LOC. I suppose it is the case of one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. The Kashmiri struggle against India can also be compared to the collective Indian struggle against the British. The British called the Indian freedom fighters 'terrorists' and 'mutineers'. The Indians call the Kashmiris 'militants' and 'terrorists'. I coming from the sub-continent want to see peace and prosperity in the region rather than war and bloodshed. We need to grow up.
    – ITguy
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:11

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