On Mediation

On Mediation

A controversy has developed over Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s remarks on mediation over Kashmir. While Mehbooba Mufti has questioned the nature of the intervention and drawn parallels with Syria and Afghanistan, Rahul Gandhi has questioned the intervention call itself. The Indian media has also seized on the remarks. Generically speaking, the fact of the matter is that in conflictual conditions, wherein parties to a conflict, cannot agree over either the nature or form and terms of the conflict, a neutral third party can bring fresh perspectives on the conflict in contention, bridge gaps between the contenders and even draw them to the negotiating table. The same can hold true for the conflict in and over Kashmir. That there is a conflict is an acknowledged fact – recognized and acknowledged by powers that be in India as well, especially during the flurry of diplomatic activism of Musharaf- Vajpayee years. The conflict in and over Kashmir essentially accrues from competing territorial nationalisms and the attendant sovereign conflicts, complemented by the aspirations of the people. The territorial nationalisms of India and Pakistan have become so estranged and at odds with each other that neither country is prone to enter into a dialogue with each other. This has become more salient given regime types in both countries–especially in India. The consequence of this deep and intense conflict between India and Pakistan is that the conflict in and over Kashmir continues to fester. This is the core sticking point between the two countries. Denial of this reality amounts to the famous aphorism of the “ ostrich burying his head in sand”. If there is an issue that is a sticking point between India and Pakistan that hampers broader relations between the two countries- trade, commerce and allied issues- and if the two cannot countenance each other, what is the harm in a neutral party to make the two antagonists to come to the negotiating table? Nothing except for a visceral reflex that abhors mediation for no other reason than the reflex itself. All this assumes poignancy given the nuclearization of the rivalry between India and Pakistan. The two countries are so estranged from each other that this is reflected in their rhetorical grandstanding and posturing besides the structural inability to talk to each other. There then is nothing wrong in a neutral third party which can, in the least, render dialogue between India and Pakistan possible. What is at stake is peace and stability- themes and ideas that no one should have an issue with.

One Response to "On Mediation"

  1. G. Din   July 25, 2017 at 12:41 am

    The point is not whether, or how or when, anyone can drag the “contenders” to the table. Even assuming they are brought to the table somehow, what after that? Any negotiations assume give-and-take. But, if nothing can be offered – due to multiplicity of reasons, cogent to the other party or not, what is exactly the point in sitting at the table? Israel and Palestine have been brought to the table multiple number of times. What happened? Nothing!
    This is precisely the point that obtains in this situation. India has nothing to offer. Instead, it expects to be made whole by Pakistan by vacating the territory that remained under its occupation when cease-fire was accepted subject to final disposition of the original complaint by India by UN and is therefore illegally occupied. UN produced a resolution which could not be carried out due to the fact that the very first condition of Pakistan vacating the territory under its occupation for a plebiscite to be held, was not fulfilled by Pakistan.
    There is no other recourse, unfortunately, other than a hot conflict. I know it is not politically correct to say that but it is the only one and ultimate choice and the only one that will produce a result, obligatory to be accepted for whatever it is worth.


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