The impact of the Kashmir conflict on Indo-Pakistani relations and its security implications for the South Asian region.
This dissertation offers an explanation of contemporary bilateral relations of India and Pakistan in the context of the Kashmir conflict. Looking at the historical background of the conflict, it explains how the Kashmir conflict has become a thorn in the bilateral relations of India and Pakistan. Through an examination of the Indian-Pakistan peace process, I suggest why the Kashmir conflict still defies a solution. I analyse the self-help measures undertaken by both countries and assess the prospect for a future war in the region. By examining the regime types, institutional mistrust, and the economic co-operation and competition of both countries, I explore the nature of the bilateral relationship and its impact on the South Asian region. I specifically assess the possible negotiated solution to the Kashmir conflict. Finally I argue that as long as both India and Pakistan cling to their historically-entrenched positions, there is hardly any chance for permanent peace in Kashmir, thereby complicating their strategic stance in the region. I draw upon the theories of Neo-Realism and Neo-Liberalism to explain outcomes towards peace initiatives between India and Pakistan, and the implications for South Asia. I choose three specific concepts advanced by neo-realists and neo-liberal theorists to explore and explain the three principles of this study: the Balance of Power, Security and Economic Co-operation. Institutional mistrust, different regime types, competition in non-traditional areas, continuing insurgency, has delayed a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict. After the Mumbai attack, India has diverted more national resources into fighting terrorism. Continuing border clashes, the nuclear arms race, and terrorism have heightened the tension on the subcontinent, despite the talk of resuming the dialogue in 2011. It also affects the efforts of improving economic and trade relations between both countries that would have led to more co-operative postures between both countries and for South Asia. Of equal importance is the continuous rivalry with a much smaller power, Pakistan, and over Afganistan is a bane to peace initiative. However, this dissertation ultimately makes some policy recommendations.
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