Diplomacy and Propaganda in the Kashmir War

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  • Topic: Kashmir, Pakistan, Kashmir conflict
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  • Published : January 7, 2013
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Diplomacy and propaganda in the Kashmir War

Abstract: The conflict between Hindu and Muslims over the Kashmir region is one of the bloodiest religious wars in history, exceeding in violence the Crusades or the “Thirty years war’’. As long as the Indian colony was under British rule, the tensions were kept under control, but during the decolonization movement , the two religions who hatred and feared each other more than they feared the colonial masters, developed in the first phase separate national movements ; the Hindu under Ghandi and the Muslims under Mohammed Ali Jinnah . And after the power transfer in 1947, two states emerged from the ex colony, Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan who have engaged from that moment on in a bloody conflict which lasts until today. The essay presents, using a conflict resolution model, an analysis of the indo – Pakistani war and the interplay between propaganda and diplomacy. I will describe the four major conflicts in the area: the 1947 war, 1965, 1971 the Karghil War from 1999, and the post 2000 situation. While the propaganda had a crucial role in escalating the conflict, the diplomacy of joint Indo – Pakistani efforts or third parties implication succeeded in mitigate it. But the conflict was never settled, resulting in Johan Galtung’s terms a “negative peace’’. There were of course specialized institutions in launching the propaganda machine such as the Pakistani “ISI’’ (Inter Service Intelligence). A crucial aspect of the problem is that both Pakistani and Indian propaganda is empowered by a cultural violence, deeply rooted in the social aspect of life. A significant part of the article will focus on the so called “bus diplomacy’’ and the 2001 “road map’’ for the implementation of a stable peace in the region of Kashmir. Also, we will see that third parties peace initiatives were less successful than those which came direct from the combatants. Key terms: conflict escalation – de escalation, structural violence, cultural violence, propaganda, positive peace, negative peace, bus diplomacy

Introduction

The article tries to present the Indo – Pakistani conflict trough the conflict resolution perspective using the “conflict escalation and de escalation model’’ On the other hand it presents the issue of propaganda and diplomacy. Speaking about propaganda, the article does not focus on a material aspect of propaganda such as a specialized institution, or a political discourse but rather on non material aspects; it explains why propaganda is possible taking into considerations aspects such as different historical evolution, religion, culture, nationalism and territorial claims. Diplomacy was in the beginning, especially in the Cold War context the product of third party mediators, and later in the post 1990 period the pacifist impulses came from the combatants. It will be showed that third party initiatives were less effective than the direct Indo – Pakistani talks. I have chosen a specified conflict resolution model to easily show how propaganda escalated the conflict and how the peace initiatives helped to de escalate the conflict. The article has three sections: the first section presents the conflict resolution methodology and the and the social aspects of propaganda, the second section presents the first three major wars in the area 1947, 1965, 1971 and the role of propaganda and diplomacy, the third section presents the post 1990 evolutions and finally it draws the conclusions about the propaganda, diplomacy and their role in waging the wars. The Indo – Pakistani conflict is much publicized. We can find literature on this issue in both the discipline of history but also in social sciences. Several important works dedicated to this issue are John Stoessinger’s “Why nations go to war”, Victoria Schoefield’s “Kashmir in conflict” describe the conflict from a historical perspective. On the other hand Galtung’s famous writing in the field of conflict resolution...
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