New Axes and Configurations

New Axes and Configurations

As Russia is increasingly asserting itself regionally and globally and as the United States prepares itself to counter (or even contain China), which America appears to view as a peer competitor, the post Second War order is in the cusp of profound change(s) and transition. In the process of transition, India appears to be increasingly wooed as a partner to contain China. In this fluid milieu, Pakistan is also in the process of changing its international orientation; it appears to be drifting into China’s orbit and away from the United States. In this schema, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC)- an ancillary of the One Belt, One Road Initiative(OBOR), a project, which essentially entails globalization with a Chinese ingress, assumes salience and significance. These developments mean that international relations and world politics is in the midst of great churn. All in all, the international system is moving inexorably toward a multipolar dispensation. Historically, it has been observed that multipolar systems are unstable ones- prone to wars and other systemic risks. Conflicts on the “periphery” , so to speak, assume more salience and world powers try to either exploit these for their own interests or other related themes. This holds a resonance in terms of Kashmir. Given the new axes and configurations in international relations and world politics, Kashmir could potentially, witness the interest of different world powers and new developments might arise here. Of course, this is speculation but it corresponds to the nature of multipolar systems- historically. An added dimension here is the nuclearization of the conflict in and over Kashmir. While international theory generally assumes that nuclear weapons make or render actual wars almost impossible but given the rivalry and its denouement between arch rivals , India and Pakistan, a break -down of the deterrence paradigm is not rather inconceivable, under conditions of extreme stress. All this is not to paint and draw an alarmist scenario but to put matters into perspective given the profound structural changes in world politics. This potential scenario needs to be pre-empted. And, it can be done by actually resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir. Of course, the conflict resolution paradigm that could be instituted to resolve the conflict must take into consideration both the interests and aspirations of all stakeholders. This is what sense, sensibility and prudence demand. Let all introspect, reassess and put in place this much needed conflict resolution paradigm.