The Similarities and Differences between Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir

The Similarities and Differences between Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir

Azerbaijan and Armenia (Nagorno-Karabakh Dispute)

The world is getting worst day by day. Some old and some new conflicts originate. Nagorno-Karabakh, one of the old conflicts, again took fire on 27th Sept 2020. An armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia: in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories. It is an unresolved conflict in the region that is an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan. The region is partially governed by Artsakh with an Armenian majority.

The escalation began on the line of contact, drawn in the aftermath of the first war (1988-1994). Armenia and Azerbaijan introduced martial law, total and partial mobilization of forces. Turkey was helping Azerbaijan with military aid. Turkey was increasing its sphere of influence and also helping stand Azerbaijan in the war. Furthermore, they want to marginalize Russia in the region. 

According to the analyst, escalation begins with the Azerbaijan offensive. They were trying to take the less mountainous area of the southern district of Nagorno-Karabakh because they were not fortified well. The war starts from the deployment of drones, long-range missiles, heavy artillery, and also using social media for online warfare. Casualties were in few thousands.

United nation and other countries condemn the escalation and tried to de-escalate the conflict by negotiations. Ceasefire broker by Russia, France, and United States failed to sort out some better results. Later, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia, ending all hostilities from November 2020. 


Nagorno-Karabakh is the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The conflict has its roots in World War 1. The region now is part of Azerbaijan and a large part is under the control of the internationally unrecognized republic of Artsakh, which is backed by Armenia. During the Soviet Union, the region was under the control of the Azerbaijan SSR. When the Soviets disintegrated in the late 1980s, Nagorno-Karabakh remains a big question.

In Feb 1988, the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament passed the resolution autonomously and merges the region in the Armenian SSR. Azerbaijan was not in favor of that and rejected the resolution many times. That resolution results in ethnic violence in a series between 1988 and 1990 in Ganja, Baku, and Sumgait against Armenia and Gugark and Stepanakert against Azerbaijan. On 10th December 1991, an independence referendum was held in the region which was rejected by the majority of the Azerbaijani population. After the Soviet collapse, in 1992 war broke out in the region.

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Besides, the Nagorno-Karabakh war was an ethnic and Territorial conflict from the 1980s to 1994. This resulted in the displacement of 725,000 and 300,000-500,000 people from both sides of Azerbaijan and Armenia respectively. In 1994, Bishkek Protocol, a cease-fire agreement between both parties brought the fighting to an end. This gives Armenia the upper hand in a territorial gain of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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The republic of Artsakh also takes control of the surrounding Azerbaijani districts of Fuzuli, Zangilan, Lachin, Agdam, and Kalbajar. This agreement produced Frozen Conflict and the OSCE Minsk Group tried to bring peace in the region in 1994. The UN Security Council in 1993 calling for the withdrawal of forces from the surrounding territories of Nagorno-Karabakh. General Assembly in 2008 published a resolution of immediate withdrawal of all Armenian Forces. 

To sum up, multiple violations of ceasefire occurred for three decades. The conflict of 2016 was one of the serious ones. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh do not want to be part of Azerbaijan. In 2020, the Prime Minister of Armenia announced that Shusha has political, cultural, and historical importance for both Azerbaijan and Armenia to be the capital of Artsakh.

In August, they also shifted the parliament to the capital. This act escalated the tensions between the countries. There were also tensions on the border. Azerbaijan performs a series of military exercises from 29th July to 10th August 2020. They also followed further encroachment with the involvement of Turkey. 

Pakistan and India (Kashmir Dispute)

Kashmir is yet another dispute between Pakistan and India that has been rooted back in history. The world’s big nations and councils have solved many such issues but the issue of Kashmir is left to be mutually resolved by Pakistan and India. Kashmir is sharing a border with Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and China. In the 18th century, Kashmir was under the control of the Pashtoon Empire. Then in 1819, Ranjit Singh takes control. Later in 1846, east India Company handed it over to Gulab Singh. Kashmir was under the control of Hindu Maharaja from 1846 to 1947.

After the partition of the sub-continent, Muslim majority areas are given the authority to be part of Pakistan or India and similarly for Hindus majority areas. Gurdaspur, Muslim majority area and the only way of Muslims to Kashmir valley was given to India that produces armed conflicts. Pakistani tribal people entered Kashmir through Dir to support Muslim brothers. Maharaja asked India to help and fled to Jammu Kashmir on 25th October 1947. Maharaja handover Kashmir to India on behalf of the military support. 

This was also accepted by Mount Batten. Mountbatten and the Indian government announced that the issue will be solved according to the wishes of the people after the restoration of law and order. But, that promise is still a promise. War broke out between Pakistan and India in 1947-48. India takes the issue to the UN council that passed a resolution on 21st April 1948 to withdraw all Pakistan’s military and minimum military presence by India. They further added that the issue will be resolved through dialogues conducted by the UN.

Both Pakistan and India were not following the resolution. The UN passed another resolution which was accepted by Pakistan but was rejected by India. Under the Simla agreement, the ceasefire line was renamed as the line of control in 1972. India claimed the line of control as the border and the conquered area as the state of India but Pakistan was not accepting. Kashmiri is on the bank of the war of Independence since 1989. In the 1999 Kargil War, Pakistan and India came face to face over the Kashmir dispute.

The similarities in Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir Dispute

Following are the similarities between Kashmir and Nagorno-Karabakh:

  1. Both the region is occupied by force by India and Armenia.
  2. Both issues have UN resolution for peaceful negotiations.
  3. Muslims are being targeted in both regions.
  4. Several wars have been fought over the disputes.
  5. Both disputes are flashpoints; South Asia and the Caucasus.
  6. Pakistan and Azerbaijan support each other stance over the disputes.
  7. Both disputes compel each other to build up their army. 
  8. Both the borders are called LoC, ‘line of control’ in Kashmir dispute, and ‘line of contact’ in Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
  9. Millions of people became homeless in both disputes.
  10. In both regions, the forces often violate the ceasefire over LoC.
  11. On any minute step, both the regions can fall into an all-out war.

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Differences in Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir Dispute

Following are the differences between Kashmir and Nagorno-Karabakh:

  1. Kashmir is the result of ending colonial rule, while Nagorno-Karabakh is the result of a decline of the USSR.
  2. In the case of Nagorno-Karabakh, the people of the region stand up against Azerbaijan after the decline of the USSR, and in Kashmir, the region was autonomously given to India by Maharaja Hari Singh against the well of the people.
  3. Armenia recognizes the region as a part of Azerbaijan, while both Pakistan and India claimed Kashmir to be their part.
  4. The well of the people is measured in Kashmir.
  5. Azerbaijan can claim the region to be their part and can take it to ICJ while India can’t justify the demographic changes by abrogating articles 370 and 35(A).
  6. According to Geneva Convention’s article 47, both the countries Pakistan and India have no right to unilaterally annex the region.

Final Thoughts

From the above discussions, it is clear that both disputes are different with some sort of similarities. The recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh by the UN as part of Azerbaijan makes it far different from that of the Kashmir dispute. To conclude, both Pakistan and India are Nuclear-armed countries that will have drastic endings as compared to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

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