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Kashmir (Kashmiri: कॅशीर, کٔشِیر; Dogri: कश्मीर; Ladakhi: ཀཤམིར; Balti: کشمیر; Gojri: کشمیر; Poonchi/Chibhali: کشمیر; Shina: کشمیر; Uyghur: كەشمىر) is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. It is a disputed territory, claimed by both India and Pakistan, with some areas also claimed by China.

Currently, the name Kashmir is used for the area that includes the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir (Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh), the Pakistani administered Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. The United Nations[1] and other local entities use the designation Jammu and Kashmir for this area.

According to the Mahabharata,[2] the Iron Age tribe, the Kambojas ruled Kashmir during the epic period as a republic[3][4][5] In the first half of the first millennium, the Kashmir region became an important center of Hinduism and later of Buddhism; later still, in the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose.[6] In 1349, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir and inaugurated the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Swati dynasty.[7]

For the next five centuries monarchs ruled Kashmir, including the Mughals who ruled from 1526 until 1751, then the Afghan Durrani Empire that ruled from 1747 until 1820.[7] In that year, the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir.[7] In 1846, upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Dogras—under Gulab Singh—became the new rulers.

Dogra Rule, under the paramountcy, or tutelage of the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the princely state signed an accession treaty with India after raiders from Pakistan attacked it.[8] India accepted the accession, regarding it provisional[9] until such time as the will of the people could be ascertained by a plebiscite, since Kashmir was recognized as a disputed territory. India applied to the United Nations for a resolution of the issue and a temporary line of control was created. The plebiscite recommended by the UN and promised by India in the Indian White Paper on Kashmir was never conducted due to intransigence on the part of both Indian and Pakistani governments.[9] Pakistan maintained troops in Kashmir despite a U.N. resolution of August 13, 1948 requiring them to withdraw,[10] while the Indian government deemed the holding of a plebiscite as unnecessary because the 1952 elected Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir voted in favor of confirming the Kashmir region's accession to India.[10] Also, since 1947 demographic changes have occurred in the region, with waves of internal migrants from other areas of Pakistan taking residence in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.[10][11] In Indian-administered Kashmir, the demographics of the Kashmir Valley have also been altered after separatist militants coerced a quarter-million Kashmiri Hindus to leave the region.[12][13]

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