This paper explores how the contentious issue of Kashmir has been framed in the India-Pakistan composite dialogue which aims at building a peace process between the two nuclear armed countries locked in an adversarial relationship for over six decades. Through an item by item analysis of the eight heads of the composite dialogue, it demonstrates that barring one item, the script of Kashmir — its land, resources, livelihoods and security — runs through all of them in some form or another. Yet this top- down composite dialogue conducted by the political leadership of India and Pakistan has yielded no tangible results in resolving any of the issues around Kashmir. It is time for a new imaginative peace-building paradigm to be given a chance where the people of Kashmir, in all their diversity, are recognised as legitimate stakeholders in an inclusive dialogic process. The paper suggests that intra-Kashmir people-to-people dialogues, both within Indian-administered Kashmir and between Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir, be allowed to acquire a meaning and momentum of their own and advocates consultative mechanisms to allow community voices and narratives to percolate into and inform the official Indo-Pakistan composite dialogue. A more people centric peace process in Kashmir is an idea whose time has come.
About the Author
Sumona DasGupta is a Political Scientist by training and currently Senior Visiting Fellow with Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), New Delhi. She was the Lead Researcher for PRIA for an EU 7th framework project on Cultures of governance and Conflict Resolution in Europe and India from 2011-2013, and the field research in Kashmir was supported by this grant. From January-March 2014 she was a research fellow with the South Asia Programme at RSIS, NTU. Her research interests centre on critical security studies, peace-building, gender and governance issues in South Asia. She currently chairs the International Advisory Group (IAG) of the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), University of Ulster.
Conflict and Stability / Country and Region Studies / Non-Traditional Security / South Asia / Working Papers
Last updated on 16/06/2015