Conflicts and Peace Processes
Smruti S Pattanaik ·       

Thematically all these three policy studies focus on enhancing better understanding between India and Pakistan by introducing different variable to the ongoing peace process between the two nuclear rivals. This also attests to the fact of how Indo-Pak relations have become central to the stability of the region.

Amit Dholakia in his study diligently deals with the conceptual foundation and background of mediation in various international conflicts to examine whether such a framework can be applied in the case of India and Pakistan. It deals with theoretical aspects to provide a back ground how mediation is necessary. In a generic manner, mediation has been successful in certain cases depending on the nature of the problem. The study delves into the history of international mediation by the UN. In the case of Kashmir, it would not be correct to say that UN mediation was sought by India on the Kashmir issue. India had approached the UN under Chapter 7 of the UN charter which deals with the issue of aggression not under Chapter 6 that deals with arbitration and pacific settlement of disputes. Two of the successful mediatory roles played by the international community were the conclusion of Indus water treaty and the Tashkent declaration. It is not understandable why the author has not mentioned the Rann of Kutch dispute which was resolved through a tribunal. The author has examined the role of the US in facilitating Indo-Pak dialogue process. A critical examination of US limitation in playing a mediatory role needed to have been examined in this chapter. Chapter 5 deals with the position of India and Pakistan on the issue of third party intervention or mediation.

Though one tends to agree with author's assertion that introduction of nuclear weapons has introduced a new element to the security scenario in the subcontinent, one cannot agree with the contention that bilateralism has failed completely. Bilateralism as a method has not been given a chance to succeed because Pakistan as a weaker party has not let the dialogue process move forward. The author has not explained on what basis he asserts that the Simla agreement failed. After all it is the Simla Agreement that came handy during the Kargil conflict where Pakistan was asked to respect the line of Control. The author could have examined the limitation of world powers to enforce any settlement on India and Pakistan if they themselves do not agree to it.

The problem is that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute but an ideological dispute linked to the formation of nation state. The author justifies Pakistan's attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue and links this to the contradiction in India's effort to draw attention of the world community and seek a bilateral line. This linkage is not valid because India's stand to highlight Pakistan's complicacy in Kashmir is to underline Pakistan's role in instigating violence in the valley. However to highlight such a point at the international level does not undermine the bilateral channel. In any case Pakistan's decision to internationalise Kashmir has its own logic and justification in the context of the history of the Kashmir conflict. However after arguing a case for international mediation, the author talks of the inherent problem in such a framework of conflict resolution. The author concludes by saying that facilitation in the resolution of conflict is very important, and social, cultural, psychological and economic factors need to be invested in the process of conflict resolution which in turn would help in altering the perceptions and orientations of political actors and people.

Manjrika Sewak's study on "Multi-track Diplomacy between India and Pakistan: A conceptual Framework for Sustainable Security" attributes insecurity to "profound lack of contact between the two polities" and in this context places the multi-track diplomacy as a method to deal with the issue.

In the chapter, titled 'envisioning security' the author stresses that nuclearisation does not reduce the chances of conventional war. The author should have examined the new concept of strategy as envisaged in the much debated 'limited war' and how relevant that is to the concept of peace and security in the post nuclear South Asia. The author also needed to take into account the debate on nuclear security and its link to the global nuclear regime and the concept of security. The nuclearisation of South Asia has a greater global dimension and cannot be looked into in isolation. However, the chapter is interesting as it takes into account a comprehensive view of the conceptualization of security from the point of view of various groups.

One has a problem with this conception. That is in the context of India and Pakistan; the insecurity has a largely territorial and ideological dimension in which the state has emerged as a prime player. Multi-track diplomacy can be effective if the state looks at it as an important ingredient to further what the state considers beneficial to its interests because it is the state that negotiates peace. The author seems to prefer the Dartmouth process from the processes like Neemrana, Balusa, Soldiers peace initiative that exist between India and Pakistan on the basis that the conflicts between India and Pakistan are intractable and there is a "profound lack of contact and communication between two peoples". This may be true but nevertheless it is important to keep in mind that Indo-Pak conflict has an ideological dimension with a bloody history of partition where the people participated in the communal carnage in the aftermath of partition rather than the state. The debate therefore still revolves around the rights and wrongs of partition. The multi-track processes are more elite centric and need to be transformed to more people participation especially in the case of the subcontinent where cultural similarities can transform the ideological boundary and make it less visible. The problem between India and Pakistan is entrenched in the psyche of the people and it needs their involvement. This is one of the reasons why both the countries, especially Pakistan is reluctant to encourage people to people contact because that will force the states to get out of the national security mind set. As the study has rightly and forcefully suggested that multi-track diplomacy is the only way forward where the civil society along with various organization needs to move in to sustain peace. In the case of India and Pakistan this would be perhaps most significant since the governments cannot ignore civil society movements.

Saira Yamin's study on "stability through economic Cooperation in a Nuclear Environment" emphasizes as the title suggests economic aspects of relationship that can have a political impact on both the countries. It takes the Sino-Indian relations as a case to argue for a similar Indo-Pak model. The study argues for better Indo-Pak trade relations citing various studies that were undertaken by both the government and the World Bank to prove the profitability of such a move. It would have been important for the author to analyse why Pakistan is reluctant for improved trade ties and have linked it up to the resolution to the Kashmir issue. This could have been significant to understand Pakistan's apprehensions and perhaps to recommend steps to address the concerns. It is not that both the countries do not understand the economics of cooperation but Pakistan has different priority. Can South Asia Free trade Agreement be able to usher in closer economic cooperation since bilateral trading relations do not appear to have more chances? An examination of this would have put the options in perspective.

All the three studies have a thematic linkage and all of them focus on better understanding between Indian and Pakistan for greater stability of the region. All the three policy studies have argued for various measures to enhance bilateral understanding both by the means of civil society involvement to international facilitation and economic cooperation as a means for conflict prevention.