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Demystifying Kashmir

Demystifying Kashmir

Navnita Chadha Behera
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 359
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  • Book Info
    Demystifying Kashmir
    Book Description:

    The Kashmir issue is typically cast as a "territorial dispute" between two belligerent neighbors in South Asia. But there is much more to the story than that. The Jammu and Kashmir state, home to an extraordinary medley of races, tribal groups, languages, and religions, makes up one of the most diverse regions in the subcontinent. Demystifying Kashmir argues that recognizing the rich, complex, and multi-faceted character of Kashmir is important not only for understanding the structural causes of this conflict but also for providing opportunities to establish a just, viable, and lasting solution. In this remarkable book, Navnita Chadha Behera traces the history of Kashmir from the pre-partition India to the current-day situation. She provides a comprehensive analysis of the philosophical underpinnings and the local, bilateral, and international dynamics of the key players involved in this flashpoint of conflict, including New Delhi, Islamabad, political groups and militant outfits on both sides of the Line of Control, and international powers. The book explores the political and military components of India's and Pakistan's Kashmir strategy, the self-determination debate, and the insurgent movement that began in 1989. The conclusion focuses on what Behera terms the four P's: parameters, players, politics, and prognosis of the ongoing peace process in Kashmir. Behera also reflects on the devastation of the October 2005 earthquake and its implications for the future of the area. Based on extensive field research and primary sources, Demystifying Kashmir breaks new ground by framing the conflict as a political battle of state-making between India and Pakistan rather than as a rigid and ideological Hindu-Muslim conflict. Behera's work will be an essential guide for journalists, scholars, activists, policymakers, and anyone interested in how to avert a war between these nuclear powers.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0859-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Strobe Talbott

    I remember, as a child in the 1950s, hearing my parents talk about the Vale of Kashmir as a place of great beauty, halfway around the globe, where World War III might begin. That was during the cold war, of course, when Pakistan had military links to the United States while India, through its policy of nonalignment, was on the wrong side of John Foster Dulles’s version of the principle:if you’re not with us, you’re against us. While the cold war is history, the Kashmir conflict is still with us. It could very well have erupted into a nuclear...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Jammu and Kashmir Reference Map
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-3)

    This book is an attempt to redefine the Kashmir conflict by breaking away from conventional assumptions about the basic issues and underlining their many facets. The book questions various stereotypes arising from a skewed Hindu-Muslim understanding of the region’s antagonisms and history, which suggests the dispute is rooted solely in the idea that a Muslim-majority state had its fate determined by a Hindu maharaja, that Pakistan—the “homeland” of the subcontinent’s Muslims—is incomplete without Kashmir’s inclusion, or that India’s secular credentials depend on Kashmir’s continued accession. By turning a blind eye to the local dynamics of Kashmiri politics in...

  7. CHAPTER ONE Redefining the Parameters
    (pp. 4-29)

    In the Hindu-Muslim paradigm usually applied to the Kashmir dispute, India’s secular credentials are at stake on one side and Pakistan’s founding two-nation principle on the other. Thus if India must prevail as a secular entity,what is the point of Pakistan’s existence? Alternatively, if the two-nation principle holds, how should India engage with its Muslim population, which more than fifty years after partition is approximately the same as that of post-1971 Pakistan. In other words, if conceived in communal terms, the dispute becomes a zero-sum game. This is not to say that ideological (religious), economic, military, and strategic factors played...

  8. CHAPTER TWO India’s Political Gambit
    (pp. 30-72)

    India’s Kashmir strategy is deeply political in its character. As explained in the following sections, it has been formulated and institutionalized largely within a constitutional framework. Although New Delhi has now and then strayed from its democratic, federal, and secular commitments to the people in Jammu and Kashmir, over the years the Indian polity has developed a democratic resilience to learn from its mistakes. At the same time, two and a half wars on Kashmir’s soil have failed to produce an effective military strategy in the region, owing to a deep-seated defensive outlook and the lack ofoffensivemilitary objectives...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Pakistan: War-Gaming Kashmir
    (pp. 73-103)

    Where India’s political strategy in Kashmir is risk-averse and practically void of military inputs, Pakistan’s is quite the opposite. Not yet reconciled to Kashmir’s accession to India, Pakistan has war-gamed many scenarios of annexing Kashmir, has experimented with some, and has failed in every single attempt. Yet until recently, its predilection for forcibly changing the status quo in Kashmir does not appear to have diminished or provided space for thinking through a political strategy. Notwithstanding its smaller size and military strength, Pakistan is the revisionist power in South Asia and has, at times, pursued what might be characterized as “rational...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Multiple Notions of Self-Determination: Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh
    (pp. 104-144)

    The Kashmiris’ right to self-determination has been debated largely within the framework of the 1949 UN resolutions on holding a plebiscite, which limited the people’s choice to joining India or Pakistan. This entailed a singular notion of their right to self-determination that ruled out independence, framed the Kashmir issue as an India-Pakistan conflict, and played down the question of people’s “political” rights.

    This chapter questions these and other “given” parameters of conventional analyses of the Kashmir dispute that overlook its complex local dynamics. As already mentioned, the Kashmir issue tends to be viewed as an intractable “territorial dispute” between two...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Azadi to Jihad: The Doomed Insurgency
    (pp. 145-169)

    The Kashmiri insurgency of 1989–90 transformed the dynamics of the Kashmir conflict, infusing it with a greater degree of militancy and compounding its complexity. Initially, the insurgency was an indigenous underground movement of young people calling themselves the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) before developing into a mass movement for azadi (independence). In its second phase, the uprising split along two lines, one pressing for secession and the other for accession to Pakistan. It was then appropriated by a much smaller, well-armed, well-trained, and committed group of militants—mostly non-Kashmiri—who added a new dimension to the Kashmir...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas: The Forgotten Frontiers
    (pp. 170-207)

    Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas—the Pakistani part of Kashmir—are conspicuously absent from the debates on Kashmir. These mountainous regions are enveloped in multiple and overwhelmingsilences—“intellectual silence” reflected in a striking absence of literature; the international community’s “silence” in selectively focusing its attention on the Kashmir Valley; “silence” of the Pakistani polity, which in its yearning for Kashmir has cared little about the region’s people; and the “silence” of India,which seems to have completely turned its back on these areas since 1947–48.¹ Discovering the “other” Kashmir is clearly not easy, though a persistent attempt may...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN The International Arena
    (pp. 208-235)

    Despite being in the international limelight since 1948, Kashmir has been of little urgent and directmaterialconcern to the major global powers. Their Kashmir policy has consistently been embedded in their overall South Asia policy, which in turn has been shaped by their global strategic interests. During the cold war, Kashmir did become embroiled in the East-West conflict for a time and continued to figure on the international agenda afterward from the standpoint of averting a fourth war on the subcontinent. After 1998 the specter of a nuclear war loomed large as well. With the devastating 9/11 terrorist strikes...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT The Peace Puzzle
    (pp. 236-278)

    The current peace process between India and Pakistan, formally known as the “composite dialogue,” has begun a new chapter in Kashmir’s conflictridden history. The meeting between India’s prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan’s president General Pervez Musharraf at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Islamabad in January 2004 restarted the process. With Vajpayee’s successor Manmohan Singh carrying it forward and President Musharraf coming up with some new (for Pakistan) proposals, the debate on the dynamics and future prospects of the peace process is expanding in its policy parameters and the set of players with a stake...

  15. Glossary
    (pp. 279-280)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 281-340)
  17. Index
    (pp. 341-360)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 361-362)