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[ 192 ] asia policy any group for self-determination. Second, in calling upon India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir by remaking themselves into local player-centric, multilayered , and essentially confederal political constructs, Behera places herself well outside the domain of practical politics and political realism. Remaking Kashmir from the Inside Out A third and closely related limitation in Behera’s approach is tied to her strong emphasis on what might be called the internalities of the Kashmir dispute—the political aspirations and maneuverings of local actors. Neglected in this approach are the dispute’s externalities—the numerous international forces and circumstances that have always played a huge role in shaping the dispute and that continue to be powerful drivers. Behera, unquestionably aware of these drivers, in the concluding chapter on the peace process outlines their significance. But in chapter seven, where the “international arena” is specifically addressed, the discussion focuses almost exclusively on the major global powers’ lack of material interest in Kashmir and sharply limited ability to influence related outcomes. Largely missing or under emphasized is the huge influence on Kashmir exercised by the dispute’s external or strategic context. What always has borne heavily upon Kashmir’s political evolution is the stuff of international politics—patterns of alliance, deployment of military forces and weapons acquisitions, resource rivalry, international norms of intervention, covert actions, and so on. Thus Kashmir’s future is bound to be shaped at least as much from the outside in as from the inside out. Teresita C. Schaffer is Director of the South Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She is a retired U.S. ambassador with long experience in South Asia. She can be reached at . Putting the Kashmiris Into the Kashmir Issue Teresita C. Schaffer Kashmir is the best-known dispute between India and Pakistan, yet Kashmir itself—its people, history, and problems—is remarkably little known outside a small group of specialists. Navnita Chadha Behera’s book, [ 193 ] book review roundtable • demystifying kashmir along with an earlier work, State, Identity and Violence: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, is a most welcome remedy to this gap. In both books, Behera describes a region that was brought together through a series of historical accidents, but where for centuries the central areas at least have had a strong sense of separate identity. She describes the pull of competing identities and the decades-long ebb and flow of secular and Islam-centereddefinitionsofnationalismamongKashmiris.State,Identityand Violence focuses more on the internal picture, whereas Demystifying Kashmir puts this Kashmir-centric analysis into a broader regional and international context. The most compelling part of Behera’s story is the interplay between Kashmir, on the one hand, and Indian and Pakistani policy and attitudes, on the other. The Kashmir problem began as a dispute over territory; what has made it toxic has been incompatible national identities. India saw itself as a secular, multi-religious state. Behera characterizes Indian strategy as primarily political, having roots in India’s drive to fit Kashmir into the mosaic of India’s multi-ethnic, multicultural democracy. In theory, given the large number of other distinct local identities in the Indian union, the Indian model should have provided a comfortable home for Kashmiri particularism. In practice, however, Kashmir’s circumstances made it hard to apply the model. Kashmiris were from the start divided about whether they wanted to be part of India, and India’s tactics by turns invoked the people’s will and played fast and loose with it during long periods when Delhi manipulated the leadership in the Kashmir valley. Behera puts it well: “Kashmiri nationalism had been stifled by Indian nationalism.” Pakistan’s chosen identity was as the homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent,butthefactthattheKashmirValleywasinIndianhandsdeprived Pakistan of a major Muslim-majority region. Behera sees Pakistan’s strategy as chiefly military. Having long been Pakistan’s major political actor, the army saw the task of gaining Kashmir for Pakistan as the ultimate vindication of its statusasguardianofthenation.Tothisend,themilitaryusedashiftingblendof conventional and sub-conventional tactics, with “irregulars” leading Pakistan’s military efforts in 1949, a regular army operation in 1965, and irregulars back in the forefront after 1989. I agree with Behera’s...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2960
Print ISSN
1559-0968
Pages
pp. 192-195
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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