By expanding tourism across Kashmir, India and Pakistan could strengthen the cross-border economic and personal interconnections that will pave the way for peacebuilding.

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Summary

  • India and Pakistan have initiated a number of confidence-building measures in Kashmir, including the creation of a bus service and the limited expansion of trade across the Line of Control (LoC).
  • The present cross-LoC confidence-building measures address primarily the divided families living on both sides of the LoC and thus are limited in scope and do not serve the entire region and all communities of Kashmir.
  • It is imperative for India and Pakistan to expand cross-LoC confidence-building measures and add new initiatives that would address the imbalances in the existing interactions.
  • Cross-LoC tourism will be an important initiative in further expanding the present confidence building and will allow members of the broader civil society of Kashmir to visit and interact with each other.
  • Cross-LoC tourism will expand the scope of interactions between the two sides, beyond the divided families, and include everyone in Kashmir.
  • Cross-LoC tourism will also create constituencies of peace beyond the select group of divided families and businessmen who already benefit from the cross-LoC bus services and truck traffic.
  • As a first step, India and Pakistan should develop a “package tourism” program that would include select destinations on both sides of the LoC.
  • More important, both India and Pakistan should seriously consider further relaxing travel restrictions for people to travel across the LoC.

About the Report

This report, which was commissioned by the United States Institute of Peace, examines tourism in Kashmir as a vehicle for promoting peace and security between India and Pakistan. It argues that tourism—by facilitating and strengthening cross-border movement, interactions, and economic cooperation—could soften the Line of Control that separates Indian-controlled and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and thus make it permeable and irrelevant. It concludes with a series of specific recommendations for both Pakistan and India, including the proposal that the two countries should work collaboratively on tourism packages.

About the Authors

D. Suba Chandran is the director at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi and Shaheen Akhtar is a research fellow at the Institute for Regional Studies in Islamabad. P. R. Chari is a visiting research professor at IPCS.

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