Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 September 2019
The dispute between India and Pakistan over the State of Jammu and Kashmir is the United Nations’ longest running and among its most intractable problems, beginning in 1947 and still continuing more than 70 years later. Australia was involved in trying to resolve this dispute for almost half this time. As a fellow member of the Commonwealth, Australia had an early interest in contributing to diplomatic negotiations, and an Australian, Owen Dixon, was the first UN mediator. Another Australian, Major General Robert Nimmo, was appointed Chief Military Observer in 1950 and remained in the job for a further 15 years. Meanwhile, Australian military observers served in Kashmir (as Jammu and Kashmir were often described) for some 35 years until the Australian Government withdrew them in 1985. Also, between 1975 and 1979, Australia provided an aircraft with crew to support the UN observer mission. This chapter describes the early diplomatic efforts; later chapters are devoted to the observer mission and the Air Force contribution.