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Just Say No: Explaining the Lack of International Mediation in Kashmir

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The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is one of the world’s most protracted and potentially dangerous conflicts. While the international community has strong interest in limiting violent conflagration between the two states, third party action aimed at amelioration has been very limited. This contrasts with overall global mediation efforts, which have increased in the post-Cold War period. Using archival research, this study explores the reasons for the Government of India’s implacable opposition to any external intervention in the conflict. We argue that both strategic and ideational motivations have influenced its decisions. In particular, India’s strict adherence to the principle of strategic autonomy precludes the possibility of accepting external mediation. By exploring how and why strategic and ideational motivations intersect to become a formidable barrier to third party intervention, this article contributes to our understanding of why certain countries develop resistance to mediation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, Western Washington University 516 High Street, Bellingham, wa 98225USA

1 Bidisha Biswas is Professor of Political Science at Western Washington University. She has published extensively on international security issues, particularly as pertaining to South Asia. Her book, Managing Conflicts in India: Policies of Coercion and Accommodation (2014), explored the Indian government’s responses to political violence in Punjab, Kashmir and Maoist-affected areas.

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