India and Pakistan's Kashmir dispute: What you need to know

U.S., UN urge calm after new Kashmir flareup
U.S., UN urge calm after new Kashmir flareup

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    U.S., UN urge calm after new Kashmir flareup

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U.S., UN urge calm after new Kashmir flareup 02:34

(CNN)It's a stunning region of snow-capped peaks nestled in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges favored by Bollywood directors.

It's also home to a 69-year conflict -- one of the world's longest running.
India and Pakistan have been fighting over Kashmir since both countries gained their independence in 1947.

    How did the trouble start?

    The conflict in Kashmir is rooted in the painful birth of India and Pakistan.
    Britain relinquished its control of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, splitting it into a predominantly Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan.
    According to the United Nations, "its accession to India became a matter of dispute between the two countries and fighting broke out later that year."

    Who controls what?

    India-controlled: One state, called Jammu and Kashmir, makes up the southern and eastern portions of the region, totaling about 45% of Kashmir.
    Pakistan-controlled: Three areas called Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan make up the northern and western portions of the region, totaling about 35% of Kashmir.
    China-controlled: One area called Aksai Chin in the northeastern part of the region, equaling 20% of Kashmir.
    India also alleges Pakistan has ceded 3,220 square miles in Kashmir to China.
    The Line of Control divides the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir is 435 miles (700 km) long.

    The tensions are at their worst in a decade

    India and Pakistan have fought three wars against each other since 1947 -- two over Kashmir in 1947 and 1965.
    Even after both countries became nuclear powers in 1998, they came close to war once again in 1999.
    The Council on Foreign Relations says both countries have maintained a fragile ceasefire since 2003, although the two rivals regularly exchange fire across the border.
    The recent tensions are perhaps the worst in a decade.
    On September 18, armed militants attacked a remote Indian Army base in Uri, near the Line of Control, killing 19 Indian soldiers in the deadliest attack on the Indian armed forces in decades.
    And on September 29, two Pakistani soldiers were killed after clashes with Indian troops on the de facto border between the two countries.

    The conflict comes at huge cost

    Visitors walk up the Thajiwas glacier in Sonamarg in Kashmir.
    The separatist violence has killed more than 47,000 people since 1989, although this toll doesn't include people who have disappeared due to the conflict.
    Some human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations put the death toll at twice that amount.
    It's also disrupted the region's economy.
    It was known as "paradise on Earth" and Indians flocked to Kashmir for vacations in its cooler climate.
    But the unrest has meant it has largely been off the tourist circuit for decades.