Where Marx believed that social class is the most basic division in any society, Max Weber saw conflict as having many possible bases religion, race, ethnicity, and more including social class. Where Marx believed that class inequalities would ultimately be ended by revolution, Weber saw conflict as eternal, although it could take new forms. Group conflict theory derives from Weber’s vision. Johan Galtung has come up with more concrete and specific expression about conflict, which is in fact fitted in the case of Kashmir conflict. Galtung (1998) has showed how conflict arises, “…goals may be incompatible and mutually exclusive, like two states wanting the same land, or two nations wanting the same state when goals are incompatible, a contradiction, an issue, is born… frustration may lead to aggression, turning inwards as attitudes of hatred, or outwards as behaviour of verbal or physical violence…”. Thus Galtung has drawn a triangle of contradiction, attitude and behavior centering a conflict. India and Pakistan both claims Kashmir, which originated the conflict. The 55 years long conflict has not yet been resolved, on the other hand it has intensified hatred between Indian and Pakistanis that can be termed as Galtung’s ‘attitude of hatred’ transformed from long lasting frustration. The bilateral dialogues between leaders of both countries had failed numerous times to reach at peaceful decision and resolution. The leaders of both countries have encountered each other with words of threat and by act of violence as well as exercised military power, tested nuclear weapons and missiles. The arm race and the cross boarder conflict between India and Pakistan to threat each other can be compared as Galtung’s ‘behaviour of verbal or physical violence’. India and Pakistan has enemy image for each other. They exert enmity though the conflict behavior e.g. action, threat, cross boarder shelling, hatred speech etc.
Kashmir fell in trouble because of the two-nation theory that was stimulated by the divided Muslim and Hindu leaders during partition at 1947. Muslim leaders felt for an independent state for Muslims as they realized that they would not receive freedom under a Hindu headed state. The two-nation theory is reasonable as it helps us to know source of Kashmir conflict. Kashmir conflict can also be defined as cultural and political conflict. Singh (1998: 320) has emphasized on cultural identity as he says, “…the ways in which each state’s respective relationship to the institutions of the Indian central state has served as the focal point for the creation and maintenance of cultural identity…”. Government of India has dominated ethnic and religious minorities to sustain on one cultural identity though the state has secular image in the outer surface. But the word ‘cultural conflict’ needs deliberately further investigation to adjust at Kashmir conflict because the world ‘culture’ has a set of different elements, which may have complex relations among each other. In my opinion, the concept of religious conflict is acceptable as a reason of origin of the conflict. In addition, Kashmir is now interstate political issue between India and Pakistan; the conflict in Kashmir also falls under intrastate conflict category. Kashmir was an issue of international politics during decade long cold war era while the two nuclear power of today was supported by the two super power of cold war era.
Kashmir conflict is a long lasting issue between India and Pakistan. Historical, cultural and religious factors are involved here in the conflict. Under the scheme of partition provided by the Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. Its accession to India became a matter of dispute between the two countries and fighting broke out later that year. Indurthy (2003:1) has showed the frequency of Kashmir conflict, “since partition of British India into India and Pakistan in August, 1947, the Kashmir dispute between the two countries has become an intractable one. They fought wars in 1947-48, 1965, 1971, and 1999, but have not been able to resolve the issue…”. During Partition in India Hindus were about 66 percent and Muslims were about 24 percent of the population. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, and other Muslim leader feared that an independent government over all India would favor Hindus over Muslims. Indian Muslims, Jinnah argued, would have no more freedom under such a government than they had had under British rule. Thus during time of partition Muslim leaders feared that after the departure of British, majority Hindu will dominate India that would be worse for the minority Muslims that they had experienced under British ruled India. They main cause of Kashmir conflict was rooted by the decision of Maharaja Hari Singh. Under the partition plan provided by the Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. Maharaja decided to accede to India.
Mehta (2003:1) has explained the link between partition of India with today’s conflict on the line of control, “by the time the British abandoned India in 1947, their politics of “divide and rule” had effectively polarized the Hindu and Muslim populations…more than a million people died in the greatest migration in history, as Muslims from India headed to Pakistan and Pakistan was emptied of its Hindus and Sikhs…but the Hindu maharaja, who ruled over the Muslim majority, vacillated until an invasion by Pakistani irregulars convinced him to join India….the average Kashmiri now lives like a tongue between teeth, in a balance of terror between the security forces and the Islamic militants…”.
India has never accepted U.N. resolution for the plebiscite. In fact, India is quite sure that the accepting plebiscite means loosing the territory, as the Kashmiris prefer Pakistan. But the majority Kashmiris desire independence. India does not feel it necessary to consider U.N. proposed plebiscite because Kashmiris have voted in national elections in India; there is no need for a plebiscite according to Indian government. Pakistan always says that a plebiscite should be held. Several of the militant groups in Kashmir have also called for a plebiscite but argue that an independent Kashmir should be an option. On July 2, 1972, India and Pakistan signed the Simla Accord, under which both countries agreed to respect the cease-fire line, known as the Line of Control.
Since 1996, Indian forces have got control over major towns and villages of the Kashmir valley, militant groups have occupied far northern and southern borders of Kashmir, including the districts of Rajouri, Punch, and Doda. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front was weakened later on by the continuous efforts of Indian government. The remaining groups, most of which have close ties to Pakistan, have been largely driven to the more remote mountain areas of Doda and other southern districts.
3. Map of Kashmir
Kashmir is a legendarily beautiful mountainous region that is located where the borders of India, Pakistan and China meet. Fig 1 shows the Schematic Map of conflicted Kashmir[i] The two countries went to war over the issue in 1947-49 and again in 1965. In those conflicts Pakistan and China gained control of territory claimed by India. In 1999 India fought a war with Pakistani-backed forces in the Kargil area.
Muslim-majority Valley of Kashmir is under Indian administration, along with Hindu majority Jammu and predominantly Buddhist Ladakh. Two other parts, both of them entirely Muslim, are under Pakistani administration, and some largely unpopulated areas are currently ruled by China.
3.1 Conflict parties
The Conflict parties are India, Pakistan and the Majority Kashmiri Muslims. In Kashmir All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is an umbrella organization. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has had developed political and militant movement for the independence of Kashmir. Major militant organizations include the Hizb-ul Mujahidin, Harakat-ul Ansar and Lashgar-i Toiba. Muslim United Front (MUF) attracted the support of a broad range of Kashmiris, including pro-independence activists, embittered Kashmiri youth and the pro-Pakistan Jama’at-i Islami, an Islamic political organization. In general there are there conflict parties,
c) Kashmiri Muslims
4. Conflict Mapping
Kamarulzaman Askandar (2004) has given a model of ‘conflict mapping’ and explained the steps of conflict mapping, which helps us to plot a specific conflict in to the structure for having clear picture about the conflict. Kashmir conflict can be better understood from needs and fear analysis of conflicting parties, issues, causes, effects and conflict relation which are the steps of Conflict Mapping.
Party A (India)
– India regards Kashmir as an integral part of the Indian nation. India needs to keep Kashmir for the sake of territorial integrity.
– India wants Pakistan to cease support for cross-border terrorism launched by groups that want to unite Kashmir with Pakistan.
– From losing the territory Kashmir
– UN resolution for plebiscite
– Any third party negotiation or mediation
– Kashmiris independence movement
– Kashmiris unity with Pakistan
– Loosing Kashmir may escalate separatist movement in other provinces of India
– Arm race and Nuclear tension with Pakistan
– Hindu-Muslim riot
Party B (Kashmiri Muslims)
– Majority Kashmir Muslim needs Independence
– Some militant Muslim groups wants to unite with Pakistan
– Death, rape, torture, arbitrary arrest, disappearance, summary execution, death in custody, Hindu-Muslim riot, suppression and ignorance, discrimination, unrest situation.
– Poverty, unemployment, lack of economic progress, political unrest, social and economic insecurity.
Party C (Pakistan)
– Pakistan favors a plebiscite, as called for in a 1949 U.N. resolution.
– Pakistan depends on rivers flowing out of Kashmir, the Jhelum, the Chenab, and the Indus, for irrigation and electricity generation.
– Unity of India ruled Kashmir with Pakistan
– Nuclear tension with India
– Terrorist network in Kashmir and its impact in Pakistan
– U.S. friendly relation with India
– Allocating high budget to sustain in the arm race against India
– Threat of combating war against India, if war outbreaks because of conflict.
4.2. Conflict trees
Conflict tree has three distinct parts. Causes are the roots of conflict, issue is the trunk of the tree and effects are the branches of it.
Conflict issues in Kashmir are,
– Self-determination: separatist movement against Indian government to free Kashmir.
– The LOC divides Kashmir: Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir to the east and south (population about nine million), and Pakistani-administered Azad (Free) Kashmir to the north and west (population about three million). China also controls a small portion of Kashmir.
– Nuclear tension between India and Pakistan
– Religion is an important aspect of the dispute. The population of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is over 60% Muslim. Indian government suppresses majority Muslims.
– Monitoring Line of Control
– Kashmiri militants are backed by Pakistan, they want to have unity of India ruled Kashmir with Pakistan.
Causes for the Kashmir conflict are,
– Accession signed in October 1947 by the Maharaja, Hari Singh that was not the choice of majority people in Kashmir
– Under India’s Public Safety Act, the border security forces have the ability to act at will without fear of retribution or justice.
– Kashmir problem is deeply rooted in the histories and national identities of India and Pakistan
– Cold War political tensions: India-Soviet ties against Pakistan-U.S. ties
– Post September 11 terrorism: India claims that some Muslim terrorist network has links with militants of Kashmir
– Hindu-Muslim riots escalate tension in Kashmir
The effects of conflicts are,
– Continuing turmoil in Kashmir
– Curbing religious extremism and militants
– Massive crackdown on the militants
– Shooting of unarmed demonstrators
– Civilian massacres
– Summary executions of detainees
– Militant groups continue their attacks
– Murdering and threatening Hindu residents
– Carrying out kidnappings and assassinations of government officials, civil servants, and suspected informers
– Sabotage and bombings
– 100,000 Hindu Kashmiris, known as “Pandits,” fled the valley
– Indiscriminate shootings, assaults, and rape committed by Indian army
– Detention and disappearances
– Human rights activists and lawyers have been killed or threatened
– Custodial killings
– Violent insurgency since 1989 that has claimed thousands of lives
Pakistan naturally sympathizes with Muslims across the Line of Control in India. Thus the Kashmiri militants receive arms and training from Pakistan even though Pakistan claims to have only moral support for them. India has had allies with Soviet Union in the cold war era. After the fall of communism India continued to have strong relationship with Russia.
Shuja (2004: 3) shows how India has built a close relation with Russia for developing its military capacity, “…it is interesting to note that India continues to develop its nuclear arms program with foreign assistance, mainly from Russia…India also continues to modernize its armed forces through ‘advanced conventional weapons’, mostly from Russia. New Delhi received its first two MiG-21-93 fighter aircraft, and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will now begin the licensed upgrading of 123 more aircraft”. On the other hand Pakistan was in close military ties with U.S. during the cold war, which kept balance of power between India-Pakistan in the South Asia.
Mr. Vajpayee’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is very much concerned about its popularity among the majority Hindus in India. Anti Muslim, fundamental image helped these political parties to win election in India. These political parties have different political ideologies but in case of Kashmir conflict they are united. Political leaders of India are waved by the strong nationalism, which does not permit separatism in Kashmir. BJP now relies more heavily on the support of fundamentalist and militant Hindus. The BJP leaders often mention at their statement and speeches that they will teach Pakistan a lesson on Kashmir issue. BJP wants to project itself as a true nationalist force. Any compromise or good decision for the future of Kashmiris is unthinkable for the sake of nationalism. Some Fundamental Hindu leaders and their followers in BJP exert enmity with Kashmiris as well as with Pakistanis.
Conflict relation lines:
President Musharraf is also under pressure from fundamentalists and the fundamental political parties are not happy with Musharraf’s policies for the US-led war in Afghanistan. They do not support President Musharraf’s cooperation with U.S. to fight against terrorism. After the cold war U.S.-Pakistan tie was weakened. After assisting U.S. at the war against Taliban in Afghanistan and helping at the war against terrorism, Pakistan has regained moderately a good relation. On the other hand, India is good market for U.S. economy. Thus the trade and business relation between the two countries is promising. They have jointly arranged military exercises. India arranged joint exercises between the US and Indian forces. The US has also indicated it will supply modern military wares to India. U.S. does not want to have bitter relation with any of these two countries. Therefore, U.S. refused to play the role of mediator or negotiator in Kashmir conflict though President Musharraf requested U.S. to resolve the conflict. The United States is pressuring Pakistan to curb terrorism while discouraging India from attacking. Above all, the U.S. wants to avoid a war between two allies that could hinder the U.S. war on terrorism in Afghanistan and the search for al Qaeda leaders believed to be hiding in Pakistan.
India has a broken relation with China following the dispute, which led to a war between them in 1962 and is still officially unresolved. China had occupied a small part of the Kashmir during the war and till today they have full control over their occupied portion. India has bitter relation with both China and Pakistan but Pakistan has very good relation with China since partition.
Muslim United Front (MUF) attracted the support of a broad range of Kashmiris, including pro-independence activists, disenchanted Kashmiri youth and the pro-Pakistan Jama’at-i Islami (an Islamic political organization), militant groups who increasingly crossed over to Pakistan for arms and training, the JKLF and other groups. In late 1993, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an umbrella organization of the leaders of all the political and militant organizations, acted as the political voice of the independence movement. Major militant organizations fighting in Kashmir included the Hizb-ul Mujahidin, Harakat-ul Ansar and Lashgar-i Toiba receive moral support from Pakistan. Indian forces announced a unilateral ceasefire against militant groups in November 2000, but violence continued. Separatists demand that Pakistan should be included in any dialogue between them and the government. India disagrees with demand as Pakistan motivates cross boarder violence. Indian government had brutally and strategically destroyed the unity of all groups working for political voice for the independence in Kashmir. Insurgency is turned as the only path for independence when the political process failed.
Central government forces are operating Kashmir that includes the Indian Army and India’s federal security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and the Border Security Force (BSF). Rashtriya Rifles, an elite army unit created specifically for counterinsurgency operations in Kashmir. Indian security forces began training local auxiliary forces made up of surrendered or captured militants to assist in counterinsurgency operations. India is committed to destroy any kind of initiatives that may have the purpose of separation of Kashmir.
There has been massive international pressure on both Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the crisis, including US, the EU and others. The UN has maintained a presence in the disputed area since 1949. Currently, the LOC is monitored by the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). UN role is not much significant in mediating conflict in Kashmir as its success is not remarkable including its monitoring over the line of control.
5. Current events and behavior of the parties
On May 11 and 13, 1998, India tested five nuclear devices, and three weeks later in response, Pakistan tested too. One month later shooting and shelling between troops of both countries on LoC killed around one hundred civilians. On February 1999, the Prime ministers of both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in which they agreed to talks on Kashmir and to alert each other about arms tests. Despite the Lahore agreement India tested long-range Agni missile, and on April 14 and 15, following the event Pakistan tested long-range Gauri and medium-range Shaheenmissiles. India conducted another ballistic missile test on April 16; the situation turned into an arm race in the region. In May 1999 India deployed thousands of additional troops at Kargil region. Later on the cross-border shelling between India and Pakistan escalated, and fighting between Indian troops and militants have worsened the situation and ruined any possibility for bilateral talks.
The attack in the Indian parliament in New Delhi on December 13, 2001 has raised the conspiracy theory between the two nations. India said that Pakistan has a connection with the terrorists who attacked the Parliament. Pakistan denied any connection. India deployed more than a million troops, backed by heavy artillery and air power, along the 2880 kilometer Line of Control. As India threatened war, Pakistan declared its readiness to combat war situation.
Shuja (2004: 2) has shown how intolerant the leaders of these two countries that fuels conflict, “On a recent visit to Indian troops deployed a few miles from the Line of Control, the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, said: ‘Our goal is victory. It is time to wage a decisive battle. India is forced to fight a war thrust on it and we will emerge victorious. Let there be no doubt about it: a challenge has been thrown to India, and we accept it.’ In reply, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf vowed to use ‘full force’ if it were attacked by India…”. Most agreements between India and Pakistan have failed in deed. No agreement has provided a peaceful solution at all in this area.
About one million troops have been employed. These forces on both sides of the line are engaged in firing and shelling against each other in a regular fashion. Both countries are now powered by nuclear weapon, which is a big threat for spreading violence and power imbalance in South Asia. Even tough some critics assume there is no chance of nuclear devastation by any of these countries; 55 years Kashmir conflict insisted these nations to develop nuclear weapon for encountering threat from each other. Pakistan’s intention to have nuclear power is to ensure sovereignty and insecurity from the imbalance of power comparing with India.
6. Conflict management/resolution strategies and outcomes
All most all conflict management strategies and resolution did not work properly to bring peace and solution in Kashmir. Both countries have reached aggressive levels of conflict on the issue. Level of human development of Kashmiris is poor; on the other hand, scale of political repression is high. India and Pakistan have followed the method of withdrawal again and again from bilateral talks. Galtung (1998) has explained about the nature of meta-conflicts that is applicable in the Kashmir issue, “…the meta-conflict can be fought with physical means, violence, war and usually leads to victory for one and defeat for the…”. Among India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, none of them want to be defeated. All three parties want to win the situation. Top leaders’ high level negotiation between two countries has never been succeeded. Grass root leaders of Kashmir, who have had a desire to initiate political dialogue with government of India, were beaten and suppressed.
In January 1948, the Security Council adopted resolution 39 (1948), establishing the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate and mediate the dispute. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi Agreement establishing a ceasefire line to be supervised by the observers. On 30 March 1951, following the termination of UNCIP, the Security Council decided that The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should continue to supervise the ceasefire in Kashmir. UNMOGIP’s functions were to observe and report, investigate complaints of ceasefire violations and submit its finding to each party and to the Secretary-General.
Following the 1972 India-Pakistan agreement defining a Line of Control in Kashmir, India took the position that the mandate of UNMOGIP had lapsed. Pakistan, however, did not accept this position. Given that disagreement, the Secretary-General’s position has been that UNMOGIP can be terminated only by a decision of the Security Council. In the absence of such a decision, UNMOGIP has been maintained with the same mandate and functions.[i]
United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) decided to determine the future of Jammu and Kashmir by the democratic method of the free and impartial plebiscite, which was not respected by Indian government because such a plebiscite means losing the territory. In 1948 and again in 1949, the United Nations passed two resolutions in which the Kashmir people were promised the right to determine their own future through a free and impartial plebiscite. These resolutions were never implemented. Hence the resolution made by UN has proved itself ineffective in the perspective of Kashmir conflict. Askandar (2003: 29) has explained why resolution is not always effective, “…resolution is sometimes not enough to ultimately end a conflict…using the techniques of conflicts resolution merely perpetuates the conflict due to its inadequacies…”. Couple of UN resolution in Kashmir conflict has left the issue unresolved though temporarily it reduced the intensity of violence.
The United States urged India and Pakistan to stop their armed conflict in Kashmir but made no offer to mediate. Asian Political News (1998: 1) has reported, “Rubin said the U.S. has no immediate plan to mediate between the two countries…”. India strongly oppose for involving third party mediation. Though Pakistan is enthusiastic about third party engagement, India refuses any chance of third party’s role in Kashmir. U.S. encourages both parties to keep themselves away from war but does not want to play an active role. European Union does not have any strong involvement in mediating the Kashmir conflict.
India has never accepted third party negotiator and Pakistan has never been trusted by India. Thus the Conflict management strategy has consisted of numerous dialogues between the two countries along with distrust. There is no significant outcome in the Kashmir conflict because India and Pakistan has always been there as enemy of each other with disbelief and hatred. They blamed each other and ended the dialogues without some concrete agreement and decisions. None of them has taken initiatives to transform the conflict in innovative way or to find strategy for ending violence. They made cease-fire numerous times and broke it in the same fashion. Violence in Kashmir has intensified over the decades because of the lack of initiatives. Dialogue, peace process and cease-fire had gone in vain and tension across the LoC fueled the conflict again and again. Even though India has secular democracy, in Kashmir India plays authoritarian role to dominate self-determination by any means.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has already proved itself an ineffective regional body to resolve conflict as well as to strengthen economy. The failure of SAARC for not emerging as a good mediator is the lack of consensus among the members because of India’s reluctance to allow SAARC. As a super power India holds enough control over the decisions of such a regional body. Indian government has shut downed windows for non-formal sector, non-government groups and individuals, religious leaders and academicians in Kashmir. Anybody talking about independence or separation of Kashmir is considered as the traitor of the state. Civil society in India is divided, a small part of it has courage to be critical about government policy but the large part is moved by nationalism that does not allow speaking on behalf of Kashmiris who are separatists. If India would have agreed for plebiscite, as called for in a 1949 U.N. resolution, the conflict could be resolved in a peaceful manner but the reality is cruel as the formula of resolution does not work because India wants to have win situation rather than losing Kashmir.
7. Success and Failure of conflict management
India and Pakistan have been engaging in violence for last couple of decades in Kashmir. Galtung (1998) has shown how violence affects, “…Direct, structural and cultural violence that hurts both directly and indirectly, and the culture that justifies it…”. Similarly India and Pakistan chose the path of violence from the very beginning of the conflict. Nevertheless, Indian government has continued domination over Kashmiris to suppress their desire for independence. Though UN made several resolutions, it had never shown any sign of ending conflict in Kashmir. The main disadvantage to imply any peaceful settlement could be the absence of communication channel and nobody is there to relieve anger of each conflicting party. The lack of approaches of peace building and lack of good will of actors are other reasons for continuous conflict in this region.
There is no remarkable success story in managing the conflict in Kashmir. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi Agreement establishing a cease fire line that would be supervised by the observers, which was the first noticeable success in stopping cross boarder tension. Security Council, by its resolution 91 (1951) decided that UNMOGIP should continue to supervise the ceasefire in Kashmir, which indicated UN’s initiatives regarding the conflict. In July1972, India and Pakistan signed an agreement defining a Line of Control in Kashmir that can be considered as a temporary step to stop violence. 1949 U.N. resolution was a good try to denote the future of Kashmir in a democratic way that suggested the residents of Jammu and Kashmir would vote for deciding. In my opinion, the resolution was good enough to resolve the conflict. India was the obstacle against the resolution and dismissed the chance to resolve conflict. It is also reasonable why India does not agree for plebiscite, as it may lead Kashmiris to separate from India. Hence UN has failed over the last fifty years to resolve or transform conflict of Kashmir.
Asian Political News (2002:1) has reported that, “A Pakistani special envoy voiced expectations that Japan will make further efforts to alleviate the current tension between…”. Pakistan has always welcomed third party negotiators as the bilateral dialogue with India.
United States can bring success as a negotiator but the lack of will is barrier. Over the fifty years, US relationships with India and Pakistan have experienced ups and downs, as one goes up, the other goes down. The United States has rejected President Pervez Musharraf’s call to mediate on the Kashmir issue as part of his roadmap for normalization of Indo-Pak ties.[ii] Already India denies Musharraf’s suggestion to involve any third party including U.S. to resolve Kashmir Conflict. Thus it is essential to have Indian government’s good will for engaging third party negotiator to mediate the peace process. Third party intervention, mediation or facilitation is impossible unless India accepts it.
The Muslim population of Kashmir has organized an umbrella organization consisting of 33 political parties. It is called the All Parties (Hurriyat) Freedom Conference. It was formed to conduct dialogue with Indian government. The government behaved worse with the organization. They have refused all dialogs with the organization and have beaten and imprisoned its leaders. Hence a democratic initiative to resolve conflict has resulted in harassment, insulation and ill judgment committed by Indian government against the political parties in Kashmir. It is comparable to structural violence done by Indian governments against Kashmiris, which is explained by Galtung (1998), “…structural violence may be as bad as, or worse than, direct violence. People die or lead miserable lives because they are politically repressed, or economically exploited, or deprived of the freedom…” It can be simply assumed from this analysis how difficult it is to resolve the Kashmir conflict as any peace process initiated inside the state can be brutally suppressed and third party intervention can be colored as interference in to sovereign state like India.
India had been and still is rigid at considering Kashmir as an internal problem. India has disobeyed the UN resolution of Plebiscite. During the long struggle of claiming Kashmir, India has changed the strategy from accession to bilateralism of Simla Agreement. India does not want to have any third party mediation because of fear from loosing the territory. If Kashmir is separated, insurgencies at other provinces may escalate. Hindu-Muslim riot in any part of India may trigger the communal black lash in Kashmir. Therefore, Kashmir is vulnerable to conflict. Though India believes in bilateralism, Indian government does not trust Pakistan. At the edge of around fifty years of conflict at Kashmir, both governments blame each other. Kargil war, nuclear test and missile race between the two countries centering Kashmir proves that there is no advancement in conflict resolution. The government of two countries have arranges bilateral talks many times to resolve the issue and but those dialogues could not bring any good result or decision. This means bilateral dialogues is not at all a fruitful strategy to manage conflict in Kashmir unless they trust each other.
Muslim leaders and militants of Kashmir have already lost their faith at Indian government after being suppressed, beaten and jailed when they came up with democratic and political approach to resolve conflict. Hence the Kashmiris do not have voice to raise the issue that may threat territorial integrity of India. Kashmiris desire for Pakistani involvement in resolving the conflict has intensified after the Indian government has undermined them. Another mistake of Indian government is that, they have employed fanatic Hindu leaders especially L.K. Advani in the bilateral talks, who is never trusted by the Muslims in India. Even these leaders spread hatred against Muslims and show their prejudices through their speeches and statements. They also play stimulating role in spreading communal violence in India. India blames that Pakistan encourages cross boarder terrorism in Kashmir. Pakistan officially denies all the blames of India except their moral support for the militants. Militants in Kashmir are mostly driven by the economic and political frustration. They are not the fanatic Muslims or holy warrior. They are fighting for the independence from oppression of Indian government. Though Indian government claims few terrorist network might have been active in Kashmir, Kashmiris have been fighting for political freedom. Pakistan is still holding long standing points of plebiscite that allows Kashmiris to choose either Pakistan or India. Many Kashmiri Muslims would prefer to be independent of both India and Pakistan. As the bilateral dialogue does not work, third party negotiation is not accepted by India, and Kashmiris does not have voice and political freedom, conflict management strategies are precisely helpless within the rigid conspiracy political structure of India and Pakistan
Long term or generational vision for peace building can be a fruitful approach to resolve conflict in Kashmir. The first recommendation for resolving conflict in Kashmir should to stop violence and war. As bilateral negotiation has made significant failure during last couple of decades, third party negotiator could be a fruitful way. U.S. can be a good choice as third party negotiator because U.S. has good foreign relation with both the countries. Following the background of the systematic distrust between the leaders of India and Pakistan, the United States may be able to help the two countries to bridge the gap. India’s reluctance for third party negotiation can be dealt by International community. U.N. can play a role for convincing India to accept U.S. as the negotiator. India and Pakistan have strong military capacity and nuclear weapons. It is relevant to choose a super power as negotiator otherwise both countries may undermine negotiator. European Union (EU) can also play the role of mediator but definitely not better than U.S.
It is also recommended to reduce the distrust between leaders of India and Pakistan. Especially the Elite Hindu leaders of India do not have respect for leaders of Kashmir. The elite leaders have negligence against Muslims of Kashmir besides disbelief for Pakistani leaders. In such a distrustful situation, training programs or workshops can be organized to boost up faith for each party towards another party. Education, training, and advocacy program for leaders of both countries can be an alternate way to improve tolerance and trust. Improve or bring changes in the behavior of the political leaders can be effective means for conflict management in Kashmir.
A regional body can play important role to mitigate conflicts. European Union could be a role model to develop a regional mechanism that can open up windows of opportunities in South Asia. ASEAN has proved itself as a useful body for escalating trade, business and economic activities in the South East Asia. A regional body’s success depends on the principle of consensus among its members. Principle of non-interference was equally important for the development of ASEAN. From the light of these regional bodies, strengthening SAARC or developing the similar kind with deferent mission could be an approach in South Asia to deal with the regional conflicts. Being nuclear power, India and Pakistan have developed huge power gap with other countries in South Asia, which has left the SAARC as a useless body. There is a doubt whether the concept of regional body fits within a regional structure where imbalance of power, economy and lack of consensus exist.
I agree with Galtung’s idea of creating a new reality, an ‘empirical reality’ that may lead a possibility to transform conflict in to a peaceful solution, Galtung (1998) says, “…the conflict between two countries over a disputed territory may end by one winning in a military or court battle, by a compromise dividing the territory, by both of them withdrawing their claims, leaving the territory to somebody else (such as the inhabitants!), or by the two owning the territory together. Clearly only the last outcome transcends empirical reality; the others conform to the formula that each square kilometre is owned by one state alone…”. Galtung’s idea of transcending empirical reality can be experimented on Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.
It could be more effective to motivate the leaders of all three parties to sit at the table to have some prospective discussion over the issues. Leaders of the Indian government should show respect to the leaders of Kashmiri Muslims. Pakistani leaders have to be more considerate about what is good for Kashmiri people rather than their own benefit. Indian leaders should have the mentality for not wining at all situations. These leaders should understand that violence culture results more violence, catastrophe and loss of lives. In addition, the leaders should have the acceptance for new creative approaches and ideas to transform conflict for the better future of South Asia.
Askandar, Kamarulzaman (2003) ‘Management and Resolution of Inter-state Conflicts in Southeast Asia’, Malaysia: Southeast Asian Conflict Studies Network (SEACSN).
Asian Political News (August 10, 1998) ‘U.S. urges India, Pakistan to stop Kashmir conflict’, available at, http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m0WDQ/1998_August_10/53000374/p1/article.jhtml, accessed on February 23, 2004
Asian Political News (June 24, 2002) ‘Pakistan hopes for Japan’s role to settle Kashmir conflict’, available at , accessed on February 23, 2004
Galtung, Johan (1998) ‘Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means (the Transcend Method)’, A Manual Prepared by the Crisis Environments Training Initiative and the Disaster Management Training Programme of the United Nations, UN Crisis Environments Training Initiative (CETI) and the Disaster Management Training Programme (DMTP), available at http://www.transcend.org/CONFLENG.HTM, accessed on April 05, 2004.
Indurthy, Rathnam (July, 2003) ‘Seeking an end to the Kashmir Quagmire: can India and Pakistan be brought to the table to resolve the conflict that has been ongoing for more than half a century? (Worldview)’, USA Today (Magazine), available at, http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m1272/2698_132/104971297/p1/article.jhtml, accessed on February 23, 2004.
Kashmir Map, The University of Texas at Austin, General Libraries, available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/kashmir_disputed_2003.jpg, accessed on March 02, 2004.
Mehta, Suketu (July-August, 2003) ‘Too beautiful for death: vital to two nuclear powers, Kashmir is the epicenter of the world’s most dangerous conflict’, Mother Jones, available at , accessed on February 23, 2004
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[i] UNMOGIP’s presence was nothing but witnessing the disputes and massacres in Kashmir, see the background of UNMOGIP, accessed on March 02, 2004.
[ii] US denies to play the role of a mediator that indicates US’s reluctance to engage in Kashmir conflict to resolve it. For detail see, http://ushome.rediff.com/news/2003/jun/28pak1.htm, accessed on March 02, 2004.