In 2002, nuclear-armed adversaries India and Pakistan mobilized for war over the long-disputed territory of Kashmir, sparking panic around the world. Drawing on extensive firsthand experience in the contested region, Sumantra Bose reveals how the conflict became a grave threat to South Asia and the world and suggests feasible steps toward peace.
Though the roots of conflict lie in the end of empire and the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, the contemporary problem owes more to subsequent developments, particularly the severe authoritarianism of Indian rule. Deadly dimensions have been added since 1990 with the rise of a Kashmiri independence movement and guerrilla war waged by Islamist groups. Bose explains the intricate mix of regional, ethnic, linguistic, religious, and caste communities that populate Kashmir, and emphasizes that a viable framework for peace must take into account the sovereignty concerns of India and Pakistan and popular aspirations to self-rule as well as conflicting loyalties within Kashmir. He calls for the establishment of inclusive, representative political structures in Indian Kashmir, and cross-border links between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir. Bose also invokes compelling comparisons to other cases, particularly the peace-building framework in Northern Ireland, which offers important lessons for a settlement in Kashmir.
The Western world has not fully appreciated the desperate tragedy of Kashmir: between 1989 and 2003 violence claimed up to 80,000 lives. Informative, balanced, and accessible, Kashmir is vital reading for anyone wishing to understand one of the world's most dangerous conflicts.
Sumantra Bose both captures the complexity of the Kashmir issue and explains it in ways nonspecialists can understand. It is essential that as many people as possible do understand this dispute, since it is surely one of the most dangerous on earth. Bose performs the additional service of providing guidelines for a bold, imaginative, yet feasible approach to resolving the problem of Kashmir based on lessons learned in other regional and sectarian conflicts.
Today more than ever the powder keg that is Kashmir demands attention. In this balanced, deeply informed, and compelling study, Sumantra Bose unravels the tangled strands that have made the dispute over Kashmir so daunting. Demonstrating conclusively that neither plebiscite nor partition will resolve this seemingly unresolvable conflict, he offers a bold and innovative framework for meaningful negotiations. Statesmen in Islamabad, New Delhi, and Washington should take heed.
Though Bose summarizes how Kashmir became a bone of contention in the blood-wracking partition of British India in 1947-48, he restrains himself from adjudicating the grievances in favor of exploring an exit from the impasse. His basic idea, as in Northern Ireland, is to put into abeyance the parties' most radical demands in the hope they will ameliorate under the influence of newly created negotiating institutions. Knowledgeable about Kashmir's religio-ethnic complexities, Bose can be profitably consulted by serious students of the conflict.
One of the many remarkable things about Sumantra Bose's book is that it demonstrates that the common 'solutions' offered on Kashmir are actually dangerous.
The conflict over Kashmir remains one of the most intractable and explosive disputes of the postcolonial era and the subject of numerous books. Bose has added a clearly focused, concise, and well-written study to this list and provides an innovative set of proposals designed to settle the dispute.
[In] an intelligent, thoughtful and accessible discussion of the conflict in Kashmir, Sumantra Bose examines how the conflict became a grave threat to South Asia and explains the roots of the conflict and seeks to proffer a solution for peace in the region.
Sumantra Bose's refreshingly readable, authoritative, and fair-minded account of the dispute goes far to illuminate both the reasons for its intractability and the requirements for its resolution.
- 320 pages
- 0-7/8 x 5-1/16 x 7-7/8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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