Moeed Yusuf and Adil Najam, both of the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, have published the findings of their research on the long-standing Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan in the December 2009 issue of the highly-regarded journal Third World Quarterly.
Moeed Yusuf is a Research Fellow at the Pardee Center and a doctoral candidate at the Boston University Department of Political Science, Prof. Adil Najam is the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and a Professor of International Relations and also of Geography and Environment at Boston University.
The research paper, titled “Kashmir: Ripe for Resolution?” (Third World Quarterly, Vol. 30, Issue 8, December 2009, pages 1503-1528) documents and analyses 46 proposals made between 1947 and 2008 for resolving the India-Pakistan dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.
Yusuf and Najam conduct a content analysis of all these proposals to identify the patterns that emerge from these formulations and identify the key elements that recur over time. Their analysis suggests that the dispute may be more ‘ripe’ for resolution today than it has ever been in the past. For the first time in the dispute’s history, there is growing convergence over a core element of the solution, i.e. granting autonomy to Kashmiris. This is matched by a virtual consensus on the ‘catalysts’, namely soft borders to allow relatively free human and economic exchange within Jammu and Kashmir, the notion of Kashmiri involvement in any negotiations on the issue and demilitarisation of the state. Ripeness alone, however, does not lead to resolution. Over the years various dynamic proposals have been made, which means that this particular convergence could also dissipate, as some of the prior ones have.
The Pardee Center researchers argue that there is a potential window of opportunity today, but warn that it will not last indefinitely.