Two Sides to Every Story Kashmir Today Research Paper

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How Compellence by Indian and Pakistan has Prolonged the Kashmir Question


The partition of British India into the two independent nations in August 1947 was intended to create coexisting, peaceful homelands for the Hindus and Sikhs in India and Moslems in Pakistan. Since that time, however, India and Pakistan have waged three shooting wars over the hotly disputed territories of Kashmir where each nation claims ownership. Today, an uneasy ceasefire exists along the line of control established following the first such war in 1963, but each side accuses the other of inciting new hostilities through armed provocative incursions into disputed regions of Kashmir. With both India and Pakistan possessing a nuclear arsenal with inadequate and unpredictable command and control, it is reasonable to suggest that a conventional war that started between these two belligerents may not end that way. Against this backdrop, determining why Kashmir has remained a major source of contention between these ideologically and religiously different neighbors represents a timely and valuable enterprise for policymakers. To this end, this paper presents a review of the relevant literature concerning the historic and recent uses of compellence by these two belligerents and how these actions have only served to perpetuate the conflict unto the present rather than resolve it militarily or peacefully.

Review and Analysis

Background and overview

Today, while the Demilitarized Zone that separates South and North Korea along the 38th parallel continues to receive the majority of attention from policymakers in the United States, Kashmir remains the largest and most militarized region in the world with various sections of the territory under the respective control of India (which administers portions of Kashmir and Jammu) and Pakistan (which controls the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir) as well as the de facto administration of the Aksai Chin region by China[footnoteRef:2] (please see the regional map at Appendix A). This unwieldy and seemingly untenable situation has been continuously exacerbated due to armed hostilities prosecuted by both India and Pakistan over the years which resulted in the first and second Indo-Pakistan wars in 1947 and 1963, and more recently in December 1971 when India charged Pakistan with air strikes against one of its airfields in the Western sector.[footnoteRef:3] [2: “Pakistan transnational issues.” (2018). CIA World Factbook. [online] available: library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html.] [3: “A brief history of the Kashmir conflict.” (2018). The Telegraph. [online] available: https://www.]

In international disputes, it is axiomatic that every story has at least two sides, and that is certainly the case with the manner in which India and Pakistan have prosecuted their respective interests and claims over Kashmir for more than a half century. There are some profoundly varying viewpoints regarding Kashmir issue due to fundamental religious and ideological difference over Pakistan and India’s competing interests and claims over Kashmir.[footnoteRef:4] The fact that this heated dispute continues to mar relations between two nuclear powers and destabilize the entire Indian subcontinent region suggests that neither side may view an end to hostilities as being in their best interests. [4: Amjad Abbas Khan and Sardar Sajid Mehmood. (2018, January-June). “Kashmir and Global Powers.” South Asian Studies 33(1), 147.]

Indeed, a resolution adopted by the nascent United Nations (UN) Security Council in January 1948 specifically called upon “the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan to take immediately all measures within their power (including public appeals to their people) calculated to improve the situation, and to refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.”[footnoteRef:5] Notwithstanding this and subsequent UN resolutions concerning Kashmir that mirrored these requests for forbearance of compellence on the part of either belligerent, there have been hundreds of minor skirmishes, dozens of significant clashes and three outright shooting wars over the years due to incursions by both Indian and Pakistan over the Kashmir problem,[footnoteRef:6] and these issues are discussed further below [5: “Resolutions adopted and decisions taken by the Security Council in 1948.” United Nations. [online] available:] [6: Hau K. Sum and Ravichandran Moorthy. (2013, September). “The Genesis of Kashmir Dispute.” Asian Social Science. 9(11), 155.]

Compellence by India from Pakistan’s perspective

In many ways, the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir resembles a schoolyard fight between two young children with each side claiming the other struck first in an effort to justify their own subsequent compellence.

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In fact, and perhaps not surprisingly, even the modern scholarship concerning these issues is based on each country’s respective claims to the Kashmir territory. For example, two Pakistani researchers, Majid and Hussain (2016), argue that the Kashmiri people initially elected to become part of Pakistan as part of their right of self determination, and cite India’s recalcitrance as the source of today’s conflict. In this regard, Majid and Hussain emphasize that, “India's efforts to integrate Kashmir into Indian Union did not succeed because the major Kashmiri leaders and parties resisted these efforts. The Kashmiris want that they should themselves decide about their political future, as committed to them by the UN Resolutions of 1948-49. Indian leadership uses force to crush this demand [which] has caused a perpetual conflict between the Indian authorities and the people of Kashmir.”[footnoteRef:7] From this perspective, then, it is the continuing acts of compellence on the part of the Indian government that are responsible for the Kashmir problem. [7: Abdul Majid and Mahboob Hussain. (2016, January-June). “Kashmir: A Conflict between India and Pakistan.” South Asian Studies 31(1), 149-]

Moreover, Majid and Hussain go on to specifically charge the Indian government with ongoing acts of compellence that have been carefully intended to provoke an armed response by Pakistan. For instance, according to Majid and Hussain, “India has been using its security establishment to control Kashmir which often resulted in human rights violations in Kashmir. Indian actions are driven by the consideration of keeping Kashmir under its control irrespective of the human rights or other cost. The excessive use of security forces and state power by India has transformed the Kashmir Valley into a ‘Human Tragedy.’”[footnoteRef:8] Likewise, other Arab scholars have also weighed in on the Kashmir issue by placing the blame squarely on the actions by the Indian government over the years. For example, a study by other Pakistani researchers even charges India with repeatedly misguiding and misinforming the international community about its relentless compellence in Kashmir in ways that have prevented the implementation of the UN’s resolutions for self-determination for the Kashmiri people.[footnoteRef:9] [8: Majid and Hussain (2016), 150.] [9: Amjad Abbas Khan and Sardar Sajid Mehmood. (2018, January-June). “Kashmir and Global Powers.” South Asian Studies 33(1): 147 ]

While these charges may appear hyperbolic at first blush, Khan and Mehmood (2018) point out that the UN is heavily influenced by Western powers in general and the United States and its allies in particular and these powerbrokers have been lied to by the Indian government concerning their interests in Kashmir. In this regard, Khan and Mehmood recently claimed that the, “[The] international community has been miss-briefed [sic] by India that Kashmir is her internal problem [but it is] Pakistan's point of view that it is a matter of right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir.”[footnoteRef:10] Furthermore, Kkan and Mehmood allege that the Indian government has consistently and hypocritically contradicted its position with respect to Kashmir being an “internal problem” for Indian policymakers to resolve unilaterally. As Khan and Mehmood argue that Kashmir “is a dispute between both countries as admitted by Indian leaders themselves in various commitments made by them on different occasions.” [footnoteRef:11] [10: Khan andMehmood (2018), 147.] [11: Khan and Mehmood (2018), 148.]

As noted above, however, China exercises direct influence on regions of Kashmir and the territory’s geographic proximity to the Russian Federation and other regional countries suggests that the Kashmir problem is far more than a bipolar issue. Notwithstanding this consideration, though, Khan and Mehmood conclude that, “Unfortunately, because of unsupportive and irresponsible policy of world powers, Kashmir is longest unresolved issue on the agenda of UN. But after the murder of Burhan Wani, mass human rights violations and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [which passes through disputed Kashmir territory], the conflict has come to a limelight again.”[footnoteRef:12] [12: Khan and Mehmood (2018), 148.]

By characterizing the death of Burhan Wani as a “murder,” though, Khan and Memood are also engaging in the….....

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“A brief history of the Kashmir conflict.” (2018). The Telegraph. [online] available: https://www.

Khan, Amjad Abbas and Mehmood, Sardar Sajid. (2018, January-June). “Kashmir and Global Powers.” South Asian Studies 33(1), 147-152.

“Kashmir: Nuclear flashpoint.” (2018). Kashmir Library. [online] available: http://www. kashmir

Majid, Abdul and Hussain, Mahboob. (2016, January-June). “Kashmir: A Conflict between India and Pakistan.” South Asian Studies 31(1), 149-151-

“Pakistan transnational issues.” (2018). CIA World Factbook. [online] available: library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html

“Resolutions adopted and decisions taken by the Security Council in 1948.” United Nations. [online] available:

Sum, Hau K. and Moorthy, Ravichandran (2013, September). “The Genesis of Kashmir Dispute.” Asian Social Science. 9(11), 155-159.

Wani, Riwaz. (2016, August 19). “Kashmir's Viral Militant: How a Rebel's Death Fuelled New Conflict.” New Statesman 145(5328), 13-14.

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