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In this report, a duo of experts from India and Pakistan explore the prospect of "making borders irrelevant" in Kashmir through increased movement of people, goods and services across the "Line of Control." The findings draw on the results of a survey of stakeholders and public opinion on both sides.
- The picturesque Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, for centuries a model of harmony and coexistence, has been ravaged by conflict for sixty years, caught in a tug-of-war between historical rivals India and Pakistan. Now that both nations are nuclear powers, some see the Kashmir issue as a flash point for what could become a nuclear war. In My Kashmir, Wajahat Habibullah lays out the intricate web of issues at the root of the conflict: ethnicity, religion, national identity, friction between national and local government, and territory.
Latest from USIP on Kashmir
- April 6, 2012 | Publication
USIP briefed Air Force Lieutenant General Richard Y. Newton III. The briefing outlined USIP’s efforts to promote dialogue between India and Pakistan and ease tensions in the volatile Kashmir region; to harness the power of technology for crisis mapping, humanitarian response, and interagency coordination; and USIP’s training programs.
- August 2, 2011 | Publication
USIP is engaged in research and dialogue on India-Pakistan relations. This brief applies a problemsolving lens and draws upon the lessons provided by the Track II dialogue process.
- July 18, 2011 | Event
As the world seeks to shrink global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, uneasy neighbors India and Pakistan continue to modernize their arsenals. On July 18, USIP hosted a discussion on South Asia's nuclear dangers, and the ways in which the U.S. can support confidence building measures to decrease the threat of nuclear conflict.
- July 8, 2011 | Publication
By expanding tourism across Kashmir, India and Pakistan could strengthen the cross-border economic and personal interconnections that will pave the way for peacebuilding.
The Kashmir conflict pits two nuclear powers (India and Pakistan) against each other along with the multiple political agendas of the Kashmiri population. Following independence from British rule in 1948, competing claims over the region led to war between India and Pakistan. The war ended when a cease-fire was declared and a Line of Control (LOC) was drawn separating the two sides into the India administered areas of Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, and the Pakistan administered areas of Azad Kashmir and the Northern areas. Since then the issue has been directly and indirectly linked to subsequent wars and crisis that have had a devestating human toll and a damaging effect on the economic and geopolitical potential of both India and Pakistan. USIP has been working to develop the practicality of cross LOC interaction and trade through research and dialogue.
With neither side able to impose its preferred solution to the conflict, the impasse of this six-decade-old war has gradually pushed leaders on both sides to show more flexibility in their traditional positions on Kashmir, without officially abandoning them. This development has encouraged the consideration of new, creative approaches to the management of the conflict. One approach that holds promise is a pragmatic one that would “make borders irrelevant”—softening borders to allow movement of people, goods, and services—instead of redefining or removing them. The governments of India and Pakistan have both repeatedly endorsed the concept, although steps to implement it are limited.
USIP has been working to develop the practicality of cross LOC interaction and trade through research and dialogue.