Indo-Pak rapprochement takes another stride as Prime Ministers of both states engaged in letter’s diplomacy. The fresh thaw in ties provides a sign of relief for the proponents of perpetual peace. Notwithstanding the fresh developments, the protracted Kashmir Crisis remains a litmus test for both the contending actors and it will remain the hotspot in defining the trajectory of ties in foreseeable future.
In the backdrop of the Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir conundrum, India directed Post-Pulwama political and security developments, created hurdles as the future of conflict, and now looks elusively grim whilst its extended hostile configuration eminently. From the Indian policy context, embolden by the radical Hindutva ideological mindset, imprudent political aspirations, and domestic constraint compulsions, Modi’s regime hastened offensive shortsighted zero-sum policies that could only bring fewer domestic accomplishments. For instance, earlier accusing Pakistan of the Pulwama incident, followed by the Balakot strike and aerial combat events, it somehow managed to ensure electoral victory through deviously driving anti-Pakistan rhetoric by the assistance of security establishment and media tools propaganda. However, its political forays scrapping of article 370 and introduction of new domicile rules under the shadow of brutal forces to maintain status-quo through structural marginalization of natives facing massive criticism and squandered, its claims of a profound secular democratic state. This unrealistic image is further tarnished by its egregious human rights violations and clamp fundamental freedom in the disputed territory. Likewise, the current policy caucus of military doctrine and the Iron Fist Approach—lockdown, illegal detentions of masses, controlling narratives, and communication blockade— imprints the fascist regime governance patterns. As far as the effectiveness of rigorous strategic imperatives in the attainment of end goals are concerned, it failed to contain the freedom of struggle which predominantly repowered through the indigenous International journal of Kashmir Studies, militancy provocation. It is unlikely to relinquish from given parameters of power resistance against the establishing order. Realistically so far, a staunch response from the Kashmiris left India with minimal options to draw a considerable outcome. The actual response from inside the valley yet has to come, once India decides to normalize things through lifting the lockdown and by allowing communication. However, the security cautious approach entails that it has already sensed the danger of retaliation which would be hard to contain.
From Pakistan’s perspective, domestic fault lines remained a major point of concern. After the Pulwama incident, its foremost challenge was to disassociate from accusing state-sponsored terrorism rhetoric that was handled through vivid, pragmatic diplomatic responses. Further, it managed post-Balakot and aerial combat crisis with a win-win equation. Nevertheless, the political developments regarding the
Kashmir conflict raised grave apprehensions that brought a major shift in its policy preferences with India from rapprochements to detachment. Its position over the crisis potentially necessitated serious considerations and it managed to reengage the international community by operationalizing coherent diplomatic imperatives. Albeit, responsive measures have partially drawn favorable outcomes but a sustainable roadmap for the future in terms of its reshaping domestic policies, dynamics of relations with India, and gaging level of negotiations over the crisis yet have to be established.
One of the dismaying factors is the dubious role of great powers due to divergent interests in the region. Similarly, the international community largely remained nominal during the Indo-Pak direct confrontation and inconclusive in convincing the adversaries to adhere to the UN declaration of conflict resolution pertaining to the settlement. Notably, with the recent global outbreak of Corona pandemic, their preferences would spotlight combating the economic woes and regional geopolitical intrigue, rather than dealing with the protracted conflicts.
With unfavorable external imperatives, ignorance of global stakeholders, persistency of Kashmir Freedom Movement, and zero-sum prepositions of the contending actors, the conflict is likely to intensify and the security of the region would further deteriorate. Conflict entrepreneurship seemingly takes center stage where engaging actors would attain divergent interests-seeking political mileages, deflecting the attention from the catastrophes of poor governance whereas the sufferings of native masses would prolong. Thus, there is a dire need to revamp the zero-sum prepositions to positive-sum gains, myopic approach to holistic view and biasedness with a prudent rationalization to ensure the peace restoration in larger benefit of preventing humanitarian crisis and averting the jeopardizing of already fragile regional security architecture.