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Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost part of India. The main ethnic groups of the territory are the Kashmiris, predominantly Muslims; the Dogras, largely Hindus; the Ladakhi Tibetans, largely Buddhists but with a substantial Muslim minority; Baltit Tibetans, predominantly Muslims; and Hindko, predominantly Muslims. However, overall the Muslim population of the Kashmir ethnic group is so large that it makes the entire territory predominantly Muslim.

The Shinaki are a small ethnic group, predominantly Muslim. There exist other minorities, some Muslim, others Buddhist, yet others Bon, the oldest Indian religion.

Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state with a Muslim majority ruled by a Hindu Maharaja, the Dogra dynasty. Since 1947, India and Pakistan have disputed control over Jammu and Kashmir, with both countries claiming the entire territory.

The de facto situation is that the territory has been partitioned: Pakistan controls just under half, China a small part, and India just over half. India and Pakistan have been to war three times in Kashmir (1947-48, 1965, 1971) and clashed there again during the Kargil Crisis (1999). In 2001 and 2002 there were crises between the two countries, prompted by covert Pakistani support of separatist militant groups fighting against Indian rule.

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