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The Kashmir conflict : A case study in ethno-nationalism and its ramifications for India’s national security Shungur, Shantarene


In this dissertation I am concerned with 3 objectives: (1) To determine the nature of India's security dilemma in Kashmir. (2) To show that the Indo-Pakistan commitment to the nuclear weapons option makes it imperative that conflict management is augmented by mechanisms of conflict resolution. (3) To proffer a solution to the crisis that will address the structural constraints of the Indo-Pakistan "insecurity complex" and account for the internal and external causes of the present imbroglio. First, I shall argue that Kashmir poses a dual internal-external security problem for India. The internal component of threat which involves the rising tide of militant Kashmiri ethno-nationalism, and its cries for separation from the Indian union, has been caused by two factors: the steady erosion of the nation's democratic, federal, and secular edifice, and New Delhi's continued neglect of the state's socio-economic needs. I contend that as Indian security forces become mired in a counter-insurgency war against Kashmiri militants, it appears that New Delhi is unwittingly aiding and abetting the very process of fragmentation that she so desperately wants to prevent These internal security problems have been compounded by Pakistan's irredentist claims and actions in Kashmir. The external component of threat involving Pakistan's covert support of disaffected elements in the troubled state has thus sustained the conflict Second, I shall determine the prospects for a fourth Indo-Pakistan war involving Kashmir as the bone of contention. I maintain that the risks of nuclear war between India and Pakistan are greater than deterrence advocates suggest because of the political dynamics which obtain and the weaknesses of the command, control, communication and information systems in both countries. To illustrate this point, I shall examine the causes of the May 1990 confrontation between India and Pakistan in which escalation to a nuclear level was quite possible. Finally, I shall argue that a window of opportunity has been created in the international context of the 1990s in which the conditions for dispute resolution depend upon the reformation of the Indian and Pakistani systems of domestic governance. The most effective way to check centrifugal tendencies unleashed by the assertion of sub-national loyalties is to rejuvenate Indian democracy, federalism and secularism. In order to reverse the pattern of enmity that has historically structured Indo-Pakistan relations, Pakistan must endeavor to restructure and rethink its political institutions and political practises. Pakistan must keep the psychology of the military out of civilian governance, develop a polity that is more "federal" in character, and improve the standard of living for the masses. In short, once both countries put their domestic houses in order, one can envisage an end to the crisis in Kashmir.

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