KashmirKashmir has been a source of conflict between India and Pakistan for morethan 70 years. India and Pakistan have fought two wars and a limited conflictover Kashmir. Kashmir is an ethnically diverse Himalayan region, coveringaround 86,000 sq miles (138 sq km), and famed for the beauty of its lakes,meadows and snow-capped mountains. Kashmir is a region that both Indiaand Pakistan say is fully theirs. The area was once a princely state calledJammu and Kashmir, but it joined India in 1947 soon after the sub-continentwas divided up at the end of British rule. India and Pakistan subsequently went to war over it and each came tocontrol different parts of the territory with a ceasefire line agreed. There hasbeen violence in the Indian-administered side - the state of Jammu andKashmir - for 30 years due to a separatist insurgency against Indian rule.Even before India and Pakistan won their independence from Britain inAugust 1947, the area was hotly contested. Under the partition plan providedby the Indian Independence Act, Kashmir was free to accede to either Indiaor Pakistan. The maharaja (local ruler), Hari Singh, initially wanted Kashmir tobecome independent - but in October 1947 chose to join India, in return forits help against an invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan.A war erupted and India approached the United Nations asking it tointervene. The United Nations recommended holding a plebiscite to settlethe question of whether the state would join India or Pakistan. However thetwo countries could not agree to a deal to demilitarize the region before thereferendum could be held. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed anagreement to establish a ceasefire line as recommended by the UN and theregion became divided.