Peace and Security

Peace and Security

Both peace and security are rather contested terms. The former can be defined as absence of conflict and /or violence and the latter may be defined roughly as “ a state of being free from danger”.  The primary referent of both peace and security in international politics and the general security problematique has been the state. In interstate terms or international relations, some kind of peace can be obtained if there is a rough balance of power between states or, in the least,  major states. This quest for power, it is said , also enhances security. But, as we have seen, these maxims hold if the state is seen as a referent for both peace and security. And, historically, the nature of system polarity- the system and structure is bipolar, unipolar, multipolar and so on- determines war and peace, at any given time. All this has a resonance for Kashmir. If viewed merely as an interstate conflict, the implications and consequences are obvious: it is the nature and /of accumulation of power by the dyadic states in contention, India and Pakistan , and the system structure aspects , that will determine peace and security in and of Kashmir and the wider South Asian region. This can perhaps only mean see sawing of the conflict with no clear resolution in sight. But, if , people are viewed as both a referent for peace and security, then the dynamic changes.(The reference here is not merely to “human security” but to security as more expansive ). Viewing people as referents of both peace and security means, among other things, considering their aspirations and needs as central to obtaining either. But, if Kashmir is taken as the benchmark or the conflict that needs closure in terms of both peace and security, then there are multiple dimensions involved here. There is , for instance, conflict in and over Kashmir. That is, there are people involved and there are states involved. What permutation and combination can lead to “comprehensive” or “robust” peace in Kashmir? The answer may lie in synthesizing peace and security for both people and states and then crystallizing a paradigm that leads to peace within and without. But, yet again, without the acquiescence of people and their wishes, no paradigm can be long lasting. So, to build peace and security, within and without, people and their aspirations and peace and security of peoples as well as states is the sine qua non of peace and conflict resolution here.

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