Kashmir Conflict

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South Asia has been plagued with several global-impact conflicts. A particular conflict still in stalemate today is the Kashmir conflict between the Republic of India and Pakistan. Since the British granted independence to India and Pakistan in 1947 there has been much contention as to where the partition should be in the Kashmir and Jammu region. The newborn states of India and Pakistan (East and West) were created along religious lines in fear of Hindu subjugation of the Muslim minority. Kashmir in this sense is a perplexing issue since it is a poly-ethnic region and the only state within India holding a Muslim majority. India’s legal claims to India have been ratified and accepted by the Kashmiri government, however conflict between the states has bred Islamic militants encouraging religious extremism. There have been three Indo-Paki wars, two of which are over Kashmir, which shows its significance to the citizens of India and Pakistan. Management of the conflict in Kashmir is pivotal since the parties involved possess nuclear capabilities. This paper aims to outline three conflict-management techniques employed in the Kashmiri conflict in the order of least effective, moderately useful to the most effective, which include: restructuring of the Indian military giving rise to the security dilemma, use of summitry by involved parties and its encouragement by mediating parties, and lastly is the mediation of the conflict using the integrative bargaining method, expand the pie, to maintain the current Line of Control as an international border between India and Pakistan while giving Kashmir a special status for self-autonomy.

This essay will begin by describing the importance of this conflict at the regional, national and international level followed by the early history of the region and how the hostility came to be. In doing so one can understand the backdrop of why the conflict is still in continuance today. Both nations on either side of the Kashmir and Jammu region have carried out actions that are provocative and aimed to achieve their ends. Pakistan wishes to free its Muslim counter-parts from Hindu domination, while India is using Kashmir as a base to promote Nation-building – something Indian Prime Minister Nehru hoped to embody with a poly-ethnic country. This will be exemplified using the events and actions carried out by actors throughout this conflict. An outline of some conflict-management techniques used in this conflict will show some techniques are better than others.

With regards to the importance of this situation, one can expect nothing less than a déjà vu of the Cold War since both nuclear states were at a brink of war. At the international level this is important since India and Pakistan have nuclear capabilities and were at the height of hostility in the summer of 1998. The author, Sumantra Bose (140) calls this period ‘South Asia’s nuclear summer’ when Pakistan and India conducted successive nuclear tests raising much concern in the international community. The United States concern resulted in the pressuring of India and Pakistan to sign international treaties; such as Test Ban Treaty and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (which did not occur), as well as sanctions that could hinder their economic prosperity (BBC). Another reason why this conflict is of importance, at the national level, is the complete disregard of democratic principles by the Indian democracy. The Kashmiri people have endured almost sixty years of uprisings and persecution from all ends. The citizens of Kashmir were not given the true freedoms of democracy and have been treated like property by ruling dominions since conception. A rising importance of the management of this conflict is how cross-border terrorism from above created an overarching militant Islamic ideology that gained popularity and numerically so quickly. One may notice then is the disintegration of human security in Kashmir, which should be guaranteed by the...
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