Right from its birth in August 1947, Pakistan has cast covetous glances on Jammu and Kashmir. On August 12, 1947 its leaders entered into a Standstill Agreement with the Princely State ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. Under this agreement, Pakistan was to maintain supplies to the state as before till the question of its accession was decided by the ruler. India had no such agreement with J&K of the day and had little connectivity with the state then. A short railway network reached Jammu from Sialkot via Suchetgarh, R S Pura, Miran Sahib and culminating at point where Kala Kendra is located at the Bikram Chowk of today. This was very vital as goods used to reach Jammu for distribution throughout J&K from this link. This was the route of main imports for fuel, cotton clothes, kerosene oil and other essential goods also. Ravi river flowing 80 km east of Jammu city formed a natural boundary with neighbouring Punjab (then British India). No bridge existed on Ravi, Ujh, Basantar or any other river between Pathankot and Jammu at that time. Main road connectivity was via Jhelum road passing through Rawalpindi, Muree, Kohala, Muzaffarabad and reaching Srinagar. For all practical purposes, J&K was heavily dependent on the goodwill of Pakistan to import goods and fuel into the erstwhile state. Other than harbouring ill-will towards the Maharaja, Muslim League leaders largely believed that he had no choice but to join Pakistan though accession. However, the Maharaja had a substantial population of Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists also in his territories. As such, it was not easy thing for him to decide between India or Pakistan. He had declared as early as in 1930-31 that he was an Indian first and foremost. At that time, he could not have conceived that India will get divided when the British will depart from the country. The Maharaja thought, wrongly, that he had gained time by postponing accession of his state. He believed that his subjects were safe for the time being and he could negotiate better terms for himself and them by postponing accession. Unaware of the Pakistan conspiracy to annex his state by force, the Maharaja had pinned hopes on Muslim League leadership. A Sikh officer, Major O S Kalkat, had learnt about Operation Gulmarg plan as early as on August 20, 1947, at Bannu. He was then working under Brigadier C P Murray who was given details of impending Pakistan attack by Pakistan Army’s Commander in Chief, General Sir Frank Messervy. Kalkat met Defence Minister Baldev Singh in Delhi on October 19 and gave details of Operation Gulmarg plan of Pakistan for attack on J&K starting on October 22. He said that tribal lashkars commanded by Pakistani officers were to be headed by Major General Akbar Khan (code name Tariq). The invaluable information that Major Kalkat had provided was rendered in fructuous because of indifference of defence ministry. Till date, we err in terming the attacks on territory of J&K in October 1947 as tribal attacks. They were, in reality, the result of outright Pakistani conspiracy and we need to understand that clearly.
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