Kashmir Conflict Not Just a Border Dispute Between India and Pak
The Kashmir issue has caused tension and conflict in the Indian subcontinent since 1947.
But Kashmir is not simply a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.
Pakistani Kashmir consists of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, jurisdictions that want to become formal provinces of Pakistan to gain more political autonomy over their internal affairs.
A Many-Sided Conflict
The desire for autonomy in different areas of Kashmir has led to repeated uprisings and independence movements.
The most prominent is a violent insurgency against Indian rule in the Kashmir Valley that began in 1989 and has continued, in ebbs and flows, over the past three decades. Thousands have been killed.
The Kashmir Valley has become a militarized zone, effectively occupied by Indian security forces. According to the United Nations, Indian soldiers have committed numerous , including firing on protesters and denying due process to people arrested.
The UN also cites Pakistan’s . Its government supports the movement for Kashmir’s independence from India by providing – allegations the Pakistani government . Pakistan also the operations in Kashmir of non-Kashmiri extremist groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad.
As a result, consecutive Indian governments have managed to write off unrest in the Kashmir Valley as a byproduct of its territorial dispute with Pakistan.
In doing so, India has avoided addressing the actual political grievances of Indian Kashmiris.
An entire generation of young Kashmiris have been raised during the 30-year insurgency. They are deeply alienated from India, research shows, and view it as an occupying power.
Ending the Conflict
Tensions in Kashmir may have subsided, but the root causes of the violence there have not.
In my assessment, the Kashmir dispute cannot be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan alone – even if the two countries were willing to work together to resolve their differences.
This is because the conflict has many sides: India, Pakistan, the five regions of Kashmir and numerous political organisations.
Establishing peace in the region would require both India and Pakistan to reconcile the multiple – and sometimes conflicting – aspirations of the diverse peoples of this region.
Only when local aspirations are recognized, addressed and debated alongside India and Pakistan’s nationalist and strategic goals will a durable solution emerge to one of the world’s longest-running conflicts.
(The author is Professor of History, College of William & Mary. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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