The author deals in this study with several core questions of public international law namely historic title to a territory, the right of self-determination and the inviolability of national borders. As such this book – which being based upon a PhD thesis – qualifies as a basic dogmatic study on international law. The advantage of this study is, though, that it is quite concrete. As its title indicates correctly it applies its dogmatic findings to the situation of Kashmir. The crucial question the book identifies very clearly is what the status of Kashmir was at the moment of the establishment of India’s independence and when it integrated most of Kashmir into the Indian Union. The author analyses this critical situation carefully taking into account the actions taken by the United Kingdom, including the legal assessment by the latter of the Indian actions. The author also takes into account the actions of neighboring States as well as of the international community at large and the pronouncements of the United Nations, especially the Security Council. It goes without saying that the author considers the actions taken by India as contrary to international law. The study also provides a critical legal assessment of the decolonization policy of the United Kingdom. In spite of the very careful analysis of the archival material concerned this alone would not make the study exceptional. What does so is the that the author strikes a comparison with the status of the three Baltic States in the period when they were under the occupation of the USSR and the relevance of that status when they finally were able to exercise their sovereignty fully again.
The main thesis of the study is that Kashmir at the critical date had to be regarded as a sovereign State and that – in spite of the integration of most of its territory into the Indian Union – Kashmir had not lost its sovereignty. Why this is the case is being argued thoroughly.
Since the study is dealing with one of the most controversial territorial disputes it will be criticized. However, the ensuing discussion will certainly revive not only the discussion about Kashmir but also about how the international community should deal with illegal occupation. Already seen from this point of view the study constitutes an important enrichment and will contribute positively to the further development of international law.
Em. Professor Dr. Rüdiger Wolfrum