The disputed region of Kashmir has been a longstanding bone of contention between India and Pakistan. The two nations have fought several wars over the control of this strategically important territory. However, apart from India and Pakistan, there are other actors that have de facto control over different parts of Kashmir. This article aims to shed light on these actors and their influence in the region.

The Indian Perspective

Indian Control over Jammu and Ladakh

India has always maintained that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of its territory. It exercises de facto control over the regions of Jammu and Ladakh, which have a predominantly Hindu population. These areas are governed by the Indian Constitution, and the Indian government has a strong presence in terms of security forces and administrative infrastructure.

The Role of China

China’s role in the Kashmir conflict cannot be ignored. It occupies a significant portion of the region known as Aksai Chin, which it considers a part of its Xinjiang province. Aksai Chin is located in the eastern part of Kashmir, bordering Tibet. China’s de facto control over this area is primarily due to its military presence and infrastructure development, including the construction of roads and military installations.

Pakistan’s Control over Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan

Pakistan controls a substantial portion of Kashmir, commonly referred to as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Azad Kashmir, meaning “Free Kashmir,” is a self-governing administrative territory under Pakistani control. Gilgit-Baltistan, on the other hand, is a region that was previously part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and is now governed by Pakistan.

Other Stakeholders in Kashmir

The Role of Militant Groups

Various militant groups have a significant presence in Kashmir and exert their de facto control over certain areas. These groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, operate from both sides of the Line of Control, which separates Indian-controlled Kashmir from Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. They challenge the authority of India and Pakistan and seek an independent Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

The Local Population

The people of Kashmir, particularly those residing in the Kashmir Valley, have played a crucial role in shaping the dynamics of the region. They have expressed their aspirations through widespread protests, strikes, and civil disobedience movements. While they may not have formal de facto control, their collective voice and actions have influenced the course of events in Kashmir.

The United Nations

The United Nations also holds a stake in the Kashmir conflict. It has passed several resolutions calling for a plebiscite to determine the future of the region. However, these resolutions have not been implemented, and the UN’s influence in the region has been limited. Nevertheless, the UN continues to monitor the situation and encourages dialogue between India and Pakistan to find a peaceful resolution to the dispute.


In conclusion, while India and Pakistan are the primary players in the Kashmir conflict, other actors also have de facto control over different parts of the region. China’s presence in Aksai Chin, Pakistan’s control over Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, militant groups operating in the region, the local population’s aspirations, and the involvement of the United Nations all contribute to the complex dynamics of the Kashmir dispute.

Country/GroupDe Facto Control Over KashmirDetails
IndiaPartial controlIndia administers the majority of the region, which is known as Jammu and Kashmir, as its union territory.
PakistanPartial controlPakistan administers a smaller portion of the region, called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, as its territory.
ChinaPartial controlChina controls a small part of the region, known as Aksai Chin, which it considers a part of its Xinjiang region.
Local InsurgentsRestricted controlVarious local insurgent groups, primarily in Indian-controlled Kashmir, have limited control over specific areas.
United NationsNo direct controlThe United Nations has been involved in mediating talks and resolutions, but does not have direct control over Kashmir.


Who Else Has De Facto Control Over Kashmir?

1. What is de facto control in the context of Kashmir?
De facto control refers to the actual control or authority that a particular entity possesses over a territory, regardless of whether it is officially recognized by others.

2. Who currently exercises de facto control over Kashmir?
Currently, India and Pakistan both claim de facto control over different parts of the disputed region of Kashmir. India administers the majority of the region, while Pakistan controls a smaller portion.

3. Is there any other entity that exercises de facto control over Kashmir?
Besides India and Pakistan, China also holds de facto control over a small portion of the region known as Aksai Chin, which it gained during the Sino-Indian War in 1962.

4. What is the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir?
The Line of Control is a de facto border that separates the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is not an internationally recognized border but is treated as such by both India and Pakistan.

5. How did the division of de facto control in Kashmir come about?
The division of de facto control in Kashmir resulted from the Indo-Pakistani conflicts and the subsequent ceasefire agreements. The first conflict in 1947-48 led to the establishment of the Line of Control, and subsequent conflicts further solidified the division.

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