Volume III — Number 2

Pritam T. Merani and Jimmie Lee Sterling

Abstract: This article examines the legality of the Instrument of Accession from Kashmir to India and argues that the use of force by Pakistan in the conflict is illegal under international law. Following WWII, the partitioning of Kashmir became a point of contention between India and Pakistan as both states wanted control of the region given Kashmir’s contiguous borders with both countries. In 1947, thousands of Pakistani tribesmen, equipped and supported by the Pakistani state, invaded Kashmir. The Kashmiri government requested Indian intervention to fend off the Pakistani invasion. India agreed to do so only if Kashmir formally acceded to its dominion. Kashmiri officials obliged in a letter detailing their state’s accession. However, the following day, Kashmiri officials sent an additional letter stating that the accession was temporary and needed to be ratified by the People following the expulsion of Pakistani forces. Both India and Pakistan continue to operate forces in Kashmir. Islamabad claims that the second letter is officially part of the Instrument of Accession, thus making the Indian presence in Kashmir illegal. Kashmir’s accession to India is legal under international law as a state may cede part, or all of its territory to another state. All resolutions pertaining to the conflict in Kashmir call upon Pakistan to withdraw its forces. The Instrument of Accession is the first letter, exclusively, and does not include the second letter indicating the temporary nature of the maneuver. Pakistan’s use of force in Kashmir is illegal because it was not carried out by at the consent of Kashmir, in the name of self-defense, or in pursuance of a United Nations recommendation.


Keywords: Pakistan, India, Kashmir, International Law, Accession, British, United Nations


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