History Of India: We begin in the early 20th century when the vast Indian subcontinent is dominated by the British Empire for nearly 150 years.
The region is divided into provinces directly administered by the British Empire, and hundreds of princely states indirectly under the British crown, including Jammu and Kashmir to the north.
The colony of India enriches the British Empire,including by providing tea, coffee, cotton, and various tax receipts.
Portugal and France still control small areas although these are highly dependent on the British colony.
While in the 19th century anti-British revolts are quelled, from the early 20th century nationalist movements regain momentum.
During the First World War, about one and a half million Indians are drafted in to fight on European fronts and across the British Empire.
Despite their loyalty and sacrifice, Indians do not see their overall conditions improving after the end of the war, thus intensifying
protests against colonial rule.
Following increasingly violent and deadly repression by Britain, Mahatma Gandhi becomes a figure of resistance by promoting non-violence and civil disobedience,including the boycotting of British products.
The Indian National Congress spearheads the revolt,calling for the creation of an independent and secular India.
But India’s Muslim minority does not want a country dominated by Hindus.
Their political representatives, the Muslim League, calls for the creation of an independent Muslim state.
In Europe, the Second World War breaks out.
The British Empire focuses all its available resources on the war against Nazi Germany.
In total, over 2.5 million Indians would fight on different fronts around the world.
When the Congress Party calls on people not to participate in WWII efforts and demands the departure of the British, party leaders and tens of thousands of civilians are imprisoned.
The Muslim League, meanwhile, cooperates with Britain to remain in their good books.
Britain finds itself struggling against Japan, which is allied with Germany when it takes over Burma.
This cuts an important supply of rice in the region, which was a major factor in the Bengal famine of 1943 causing 2 to 4 million deaths.
To calm things down, Britain promises to discuss India’s independence after the end of WWII.
In 1947, Britain meets the Congress Party and the Muslim League to negotiate the country’s independence.
By now, the gap between Hindus and Muslims widens to the point that Britain, fearing a civil war supports the idea of carving
out two states.
Thus on August 14, 1947, the Muslim country Pakistan is born, divided into a western and an eastern part.
And on and August 15, 1947, the Indian Union is born, a secular country with a large Hindu majority.
Initially, some princely states refuse to join either of the new countries, while violence between Hindus and Muslims erupts along the new borders.
This results in the displacement of millions of people from one country to the other based on their religion.
In the south, Britain still retains Ceylon for a few months despite fighting between Hindus and Buddhists.
The Hindu maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has a majority Muslim population, doesn’t initially join either India or Pakistan.
When Pakistani troops infiltrate the border in an attempt to seize the state, the Maharaja asks India for military assistance in exchange for integration into the country.
This is the beginning of the first Indo-Pakistan war.
After two years of fighting, the United Nations negotiates a ceasefire and draws a temporary border.
This border isn’t completed because of the Siachen glacier in the north-east,uninhabited and almost inaccessible.
It would be claimed by both countries.
India becomes a federal parliamentary republic,and 171 million citizens are eligible to vote in the first elections in the country.
As the world is divided into two camps by the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United State.
India opts for neutrality by becoming non-aligned.
This brings it diplomatically closer to African and Asian countries.
But a visit by the Indian prime minister to the USSR marks a rapprochement between the two countries, which does not please its Chinese neighbor.
After China takes over Tibet and the Dalai Lama flees to India, tensions rise between the two countries.
Moreover, China refuses to recognize the 1914 McMahon line drawn by Britain in the east of India, and claims a territory of Kashmir.
In 1962, China attacks India and quickly captures the two territories.
China then declares a unilateral ceasefire, retains control of Aksai Chin, and withdraws from Arunachal Pradesh, although not recognizing the border.
Hereafter, China fosters closer diplomatic ties with Pakistan.
Pakistan tries to capitalize on India’s defeat to China.
Pakistani soldiers disguised as civilians infiltrate parts of Kashmir controlled by India and push the local Muslim population to revolt.
When Indian forces counter the infiltration, it sparks the second Indo-Pakistani war.
Both countries try and invade the other’s territory.
But seeing the Indian army come dangerously close to Lahore, China threatens to intervene on Pakistan’s behalf.
The UN steps in and obtains a ceasefire, followed by a return to pre-war boundaries.
In 1970, a separatist party in East Pakistan gains a landslide election victory.
In response, the Pakistani army takes over and violently suppresses independence movements.
Millions of civilians, mainly from the country’s Hindu minority, go and seek refuge in India.
India signs a treaty of military cooperation with the Soviet Union and, in response to Pakistani airstrikes in north India, intervenes to expel its troops from East Pakistan.
The United States then intervenes on Pakistan’s behalf to negotiate a ceasefire.
Bangladesh is recognized as a new independent state, while Pakistan finds itself weakened.
Three years later, India surprises the world by conducting its first nuclear tests, sparking international concern.
India increasingly faces separatist actions from Assamese, Sikh and Kashmiri groups demanding independence.
Sikhs are practitioners of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion dating from the fifteenth century.
The majority of Sikhs live in Punjab where a radical rebel group takes up arms to demand the independence of the region.
The group occupies the Golden Temple, the religion’s most sacred shrine.
After the failure of negotiations, the Indian army storms the temple and neutralizes the occupants.
In retaliation, Indian prime minister Indhira Gandhi is assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
This is followed by region-wide riots between Sikhs and Hindus.
Finally, moderate Sikhs coming into power in Punjab would calm the situation.
In Sri Lanka, civil war takes place between an armed separatist group from the Tamil minority who are Hindu, and the Sinhalese government who is majority Buddhist.
India, with its sizeable Tamil community, supports its brethren in the war and parachutes supplies to besieged cities.
Eventually, India and Sri Lanka negotiate a ceasefire, according to which the latter must accept some Tamil claims in exchange for India sending a Peacekeeping Force to help end the civil war.
Although large-scale military operations were not originally envisaged, the Indian army engages in a series of battles against the Tamil separatists.
To the point that the Sri Lankan government finally demands the departure of the Indian army from the country.
In 1992, right-wing Hindus destroy the Babri Masjid mosque dating from the sixteenth century, which they believe is built on a sacred site for the Hindu religion.
This angers Muslims and revives religious tensions in the country.
Deadly attacks erupt, and for the first time, the city of Mumbai is affected by terrorist bombings.
India accuses Pakistan of supporting the attack, which it denies.
Both countries conduct nuclear tests, drawing wide international condemnation and sanctions.
In Kashmir, Pakistani fighters infiltrate into the Indian side.
The Indian army counters and quickly regains control of the area.
After the September 11 attacks, the United States and India move closer to cooperate in the fight against Islamist terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
China meanwhile strengthens its relationship with Pakistan.
Several Indian cities suffer terror attacks, the most audacious of which is the Mumbai attacks of November 2008.
Despite some attempts at finding a breakthrough, Indo-Pakistani ties remain tense,mainly over the contested region of Kashmir.
Here is the map from Pakistan’s point of view,and here is the map according to India.
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