Kashmir Conflict

Kashmir Conflict

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 deja 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 state to ensure its legitimacy and sovereignty. Kashmir is a contested area, whether disputed or not, for India, Pakistan and the inhabitants of India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir (IJK). Currently this region is an enclave between three powerful nations consisting of: Pakistan to the left, India on the right with China bordering the north.

This region is encompassed with various cultures and religions; those worth noting include the prevalent Muslim and Hindu populations of IJK who are key to this conflict. Buddhists of IJK play a nominal role since they did not express strong contention with respect to the partitioning of Pakistan and India. Thus, it is henceforth relevant to describe the hostile situation leading to and after the partitioning of Kashmir in order to propose a solution to the conundrum. In the early 19th century the Sikh Empire with regional princes took form under a warrior named Ranjit Singh in northern and western India.

It is believed that upon his passing the prince Gulab Singh from Jammu, an upper class Hindu (one would refer to this lineage as the Dogra regime), began to work closely with the British to get a stronghold on the Sikh empire (Bose 15). This Quiet Diplomacy carried out between the prince and the British allowed Gulab Singh to expand his territory who in return would reciprocate by providing funds, materials and the military upon British request. Land acquired by the prince, in order, includes: the Kashmir Valley, interior regions of Jammu, Ladakh, Baltistan and Gilgit, which became endorsed by the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846 (Bose 15).

With the signing of this treaty Kashmir was born, as did the new Maharajah of the land whose reign lasted about a century. Early to mid 1900s saw the Indian Independence movement take momentum with the British devising schemes to decolonize their crown colony. The Muslim League headed by Mohomed Ali Jinnah, which was a political party formed under British rule, indicated concerns of an all-united India and on this basis the Two-Nation Theory was initiated: Islam and Hinduism are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders… The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literatures… To yoke together two such nations under a single State, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and the final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a State (Jaffrelot 12). ”

By recognizing the concerns of the Muslim league the British considered to allow regions of Muslim majority to be included in a state independent of the Hindu-populated areas. That being the case the Two-Nation Theory envisioned a sovereign Muslim state of Pakistan and East Pakistan, a country born solely based on religious nationalism. We can now come to the partitioning process in 1946, whereby the princes of the Indian subcontinent were urged to sign ‘instruments of accession’ to join with either the newly formed Pakistan or India.

Official independence for India and Pakistan was given royal assent on July 18, 1947 and British forces began the partitioning the border. In August 15, 1947 the majority of princes signed their documents with the exception of the Maharajah of Kashmir, Hari Singh, who stalled the process so as to avoid joining either state (Birdwood 299). Upon the withdrawal of the British forces the Punjab region exploded with rioting, which continued into the Kashmir region targeting mainly the Muslim populations.

A movement that eventually became a political unit, Azad Kashmir also known as Free Kashmir, had been broiling for some time amongst the Western Muslims where once a revolt was even held against the Maharajah Gulab Singh as they felt systematically persecuted, particularly in taxation (Birdwood 302). Pathan tribes from the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), which is now the Pakistani-held area of Kashmir, were worried of being annexed with India and marched into Kashmir with Pakistani military assistance (Indurthy 3).

Battle between Indian forces and rebels during this time was the first of three Indo-Paki wars since partitioning of the border. Chaos in Kashmir forced the Hari Singh, the Maharajah of Kashmir at time of accession, to approach India for assistance, which he received, however on a conditional basis. In exchange for providing immediate protection along the border to subdue any rebel activity in the contested area the Maharajah had to join the Republic of India providing additional material and monetary compensation.

India also granted special powers in defense, foreign affairs and communications while also allowing the state the right to form a constitution for its government (Teng 19). Actors involved in this transaction include the already mentioned Hari Singh and V. P Menon (secretary of the Ministry of States of India – he played the diplomat role to amalgamate the princely states), who advised the Maharajah to protect the capital of Kashmir by joining with them (Birdwood 302). It would be of no surprise to understand the frustration Pakistan felt when a Muslim-dominated region had ended up on the other side of the border.

Pakistan automatically assumed this decision by the Maharajah was pre-planned, however looking at the facts one will accept that the revolt was not planned by the British, Indians, nor the Pakistani government since no one had control over the tribal masses. After learning of India’s agreement with the Maharajah Pakistan’s first Governor General, Mohomed Ali Jinnah, consented with the rioters even permitting the use of military supplies and encouragement of military personnel to volunteer for the cause (Birdwood 303).

The fighting ensued until India approached the United Nations for assistance in the matter. The UN Security Council decided to set up a 3-member, later 5-member, UN commission on the conflict between India and Pakistan (UNCIP), which resulted in: (1) the creation of a ceasefire line on January 1, 1949 (2) the necessity of a plebiscite for the Kashmiri people in India using a zoning method while simultaneously (3) demilitarizing Kashmir from both states so a plebiscite is legally and peacefully carried out (Birdwood 303).

From the advice proposed by the UNCIP the only one that has been on the most part acknowledged is the ceasefire line separating Indian-controlled Kashmir from Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, which has two regions including the mentioned NWFP and Azad Kashmir (self autonomous state under Pakistani control). The plebiscite never occurred and India has since ignored this advice claiming it to be legally improbable unless demilitarization is verified, which they rejected to do. India has consistently refused initiatives in comparison to Pakistan, perhaps this is because India has no interest in handing its territory to Pakistan.

A UN peacekeeping force, (UNMGIP – UN Monitoring Group for India and Pakistan) was stationed at the ceasefire line to keep the peace. We now see the entrance of an external third party mediator, meanwhile the Kashmiri people directly involved in the conflict were not considered. The years between 1949-1965 showed signs of a growing rapprochement between India and Pakistan as well as the increasing use of mediation by the UN made possible by the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) using their position at the Security Council.

Both super powers arranged six rounds of mediation talks between Pakistan and India, however there was a realization at the final round that this issue could not be solved through bilateral negotiations seeing as the result was always ending in a deadlock (Ganguly 35). It was also a period marked by a brief confrontation with the Chinese in the Sino-Indo War resulting in the realization that India had to upgrade its military. India’s officials along with the Maharajah began erecting an interim government, whereby the National Conference led by Sheikh Mohammad

Abdullah was the major political party, discussing issues ranging from the accession to India to the role of the Dogras (Teng 73). However, Teng (101) argues that the Congress leaders began to conceptualize the Muslimisation of the state in such things like land reforms, something increasingly opposed by Hari Singh as well as the minorities of Kashmir. Nevertheless Kashmir was slowly being integrated with the Indian legislature.

Pakistan realizing their fate began meddling with the delicate Indo-Paki relationship by forming an alliance with the US, for example by joining the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), further angering India (Indurthy 6). Growing hostilities between the two nations sparked a brief confrontation marking the Second Indo-Paki War. Prime Minister Nehru of India had forewarned Pakistan, feeling content with the military armament, “… that if Pakistan by mistake invades Kashmir, we will not only meet them in Kashmir, but it will be a full scale war between India and Pakistan (Ganguly 38).

Since India had lost to China in the Sino-Indo War Pakistan believed it was their opportunity to use India’s military backtrack to achieve their ends. This war took place in the fall of 1965 where border police from either side clashed after India figured out Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar, which was the infiltration of Pakistani tribes into the IJK (Dixit 149). Pakistan leadership believed that the populations in Kashmir along with those apart of Operation Gibraltar would continue the resistance if they had given them a boost.

Without listing the many minute skirmishes during this time Hagerty (26) sums-up this war by indicating that, “The invading Indian forces out-fought their Pakistani counterparts and halted their attack on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. By the time the United Nations intervened on September 22 [calling for a ceasefire that took effect January 1966], Pakistan had suffered a clear defeat. ” Both countries did not make significant territorial advances, but regardless they withdrew from areas taken over and vouched to interact peacefully.

The Indo-Paki wars however were not over yet. In 1971 civil disarray in Eastern and Western Pakistan created a hostile environment for those in the East. Besides the geographic polarity there were cultural differences owing to the fact that the West was Punjab-populated, whereas the East was dominated by Bengali separatists (Hagerty 26). There was a massive exodus of Bengali’s to India to evade further persecution. India, like Pakistan in the previous war, probably sought this opportunity to weaken Pakistan’s power by pushing for the independence of Bangladesh.

The Government of India put substantial effort for the separation of Bangladesh here are a few of such examples: government-on-exile on Indian soil, training camps for Bengali guerrillas, providing military for the invasion and hence the backbone for the creation of Bangladesh (Hagerty 27). Pakistan now exhausted by India’s might realized its status militarily. This may in fact be the reason for the Simla Accord signed in 1972 between Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

This accord becomes the basis for all negotiations hereafter and states that: ‘(1) Negotiations be made bilaterally and peacefully (2) The ceasefire line of 1971 to be renamed the Line of Control and should be respected by both parties (3) Include the Kashmiri citizenry in the peace process (Asia Watch Committee 10). ’ With this apparatus Indo-Paki relations continued into a new diplomatic era. Relations may have improved between India and Pakistan, however India and Pakistan remained at a standoff with regards to Kashmir where India is maintaining its jurisdiction and autonomy over Kashmir, Pakistan continues to reject the legitimacy of IJK.

Direct attacks between nations have decreased, but there is more to worry about – like the fear of nuclear attack and the increase in cross-border terrorism. In 1989 India encountered a growing number of militant Islamic groups entering Kashmir from Pakistan, Afghanistan and with some groups originating in Kashmir itself. India has routinely accused Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency (ISI) for breeding cross-border terrorism (BBC). Key insurgents supporting independence for Kashmir include: Pakistani Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), Hizbollah, Harkat-ul-Ansar, and Ikhwanul Muslimeen (Mtholyoke).

These militant insurgents have infiltrated and rocked the region of Kashmir for almost twenty years, yet the Indian military have not budged from the border and it seems its strategic military planning is carrying out its duties in preventing possible hostilities. Besides the militant groups there are non-violent Islamic groups like the Kashmiri JFLK and the 23 members of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference in favor of independence (Global Security). These political units use peaceful administration to negotiate possible solutions with the Indian government, uch as, and not limited to Kashmir autonomy or independence and freedom of the Kashmiri citizenry to join Pakistan. The second part of this essay begins here and will show the effectiveness or the ineffectiveness of conflict management techniques employed in Kashmir. For the purposes of this paper the three techniques will be organized into (a) what techniques were employed (b) which actors are involved and at what level (c) how the conflict will be facilitated.

So it is now relevant to assert the management technique that was least effective and even detrimental to the Indo-Paki relationship, which is the militarization and restructuring of the armed forces in the Kashmiri conflict. Illustration of India’s newfound military strategy began with “… the increase in defense allocation during this period, [post Sino-Indo war] and increased military co-operation with the West saw the beginning of a greater security consciousness (Reiter 82). Increased spending in the military paired with an intra-state conflict is bound to result in a security dilemma. Kinsella and Chima (355) explains that a states’ military industrialization is performed, “… in order to improve its immediate security vis-a-vis rival states or more generally to enhance its position in a regional security complex. Domestically produced arms have the added benefit of guarding against the manipulation of weapons supplies. ” Defeated India became aggressive in the years post-1970s believing that deterrence is the way to deal with Pakistani-supported insurgents.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when in power reflected realist principles such as hard-nose diplomacy to protect its vital interests (in this case, Kashmir) at all costs (increase in military spending). This conflict management technique was carried out by India to develop its strength so it could become one of the hegemonic powers of South Asia and retain its dignity after the loss against China. The Indo-Soviet relationship is also worth noting since it provides a basis that in some cases military armament may be effective when countering cross-border terrorists.

When the Soviet Union fell India had to make substantial budget cuts, which affected its military and may be the underlying factor for Pakistan beginning its military campaign against India (Reiter 82). As previously mentioned, India had also improved terms with the US to gain military advantages. However, the question remains how effective this technique is in this conflict? One can view this technique as effective in that it aroused regional actors (Kashmiri), but national (India and Pakistan) and international actors as well.

This military build-up altered the balance of power, militarily, between India and Pakistan even though Pakistan has never been on par. However, after looking at the Indo-Paki clashes there are instances where one nation decides to attack another with a perceived sense that the military is suffering. In this situation, even after the ratification of Kashmir by its assembly, Pakistan is unwilling to accept and continues to show resistance. As a nation India must show its sovereignty and autonomy by defending its borders as well as its citizenry.

If India had not taken a strong stance in its military policy the already disaster-struck region would be in turmoil under the siege of the Pakistani military. Minorities of the Kashmir region, particularly the Jammu and Ladakh regions, would suffer if India had not protected them. This technique is a realist approach, which was a strategy that India has used through different approaches when dealing with Pakistan. The harboring and training of insurgents in Pakistan is the drawback to India’s strategic military approach.

Bose (Mtholyoke) proclaims this conflict management technique as an Ethnic Security Dilemma: “In an anarchic international milieu lacking a paramount authority, states are the ultimate guarantors of their own security. Consequently, they must acquire the necessary military strength to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity. The acquisition of such military capabilities, however, can be seen as threatening by other neighboring states. Neighbors unable to discern or trust the ‘defensive’ quality of the state’s weapons acquisitions also seek to arm themselves (Mtholyoke). ”