Why is Kashmir so important to India and Pakistan?


Quick Answer

Kashmir is important to India and Pakistan because finding a peaceful solution to the long-standing territorial dispute may improve relationships between the two nations and create more stability in the region. Kashmir itself has water resources and strategic value for military conflicts.

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Full Answer

Kashmir's water resources are the primary resource value in the region. As of 2014, Pakistan is facing water scarcity. Kashmir has rich rivers, glaciers and other water resources. India is building hydroelectric plants on some of the rivers in areas it controls, which provide valuable electricity. Due to its mountainous nature, Kashmir also provides high ground for military conflicts, and some important supply routes run through it.

The dispute over Kashmir has been dividing India and Pakistan since the nations were first freed from British rule. Jammu and Kashmir state, the India-controlled portion of the region, has a majority Muslim population like Pakistan. India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers and have been in conflict since they gained independence in 1947. They have come dangerously close to nuclear warfare at times, and their inability to work together as allies contributes to the instability of the region. Finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Kashmir could significantly repair relations between the two countries, which may have positive implications for peace in South Asia and the Middle East.

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