If Kashmir and the conflict thereof were about development, then the issue would have resolved itself. And, if insubstantive rhetorical appeals over the heads of people would suffice, then the same would have happened. But, nay, the conflict in and over Kashmir has multiple dimensions of a structural nature that do not lend themselves to facile and simplistic slogans or developmental themes and ideas. This is not to state that Kashmir does not need development; yes, it does but according primacy to mere development over conflict resolution will neither lead to development nor resolve its multiple dimensions. This is what the powers that be must realize and understand. This assumes all the more salience and significance given the fact that Kashmir is at a very delicate stage in its history. As the structural conditions that define Kashmir and the conflict thereof show no sign of abating or yielding themselves to resolution, Kashmir’s trajectory can perhaps best be defined by the phrase, “unknown unknown”. That is to say, conditions in Kashmir are so defined by fluidity and uncertainty that nothing can be foretold.
Amidst these deeply uncertain conditions, Kashmir gyrates to a momentum of its own. The question is: what it would it take to render conditions in Kashmir correspond to peace, prosperity and development? Prioritizing mere development means putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. The causality must therefore begin from the critical issue, that is, the conflict in and over Kashmir. Despite the complexity that has latched onto the conflict over the years, it appears to be still a resolvable issue. The question is of will and a genuine sincerity to grasp the nettle, so to speak, and address the multiple dimensions of the conflict. This then must be the starting point of any approach towards Kashmir. The conflict has spawned other conflicts too which are of an interstate nature and which can potentially escalate if prudence , wisdom and far sight do not become the operative terms and practices of powers that be. So, for the sake of overall peace and stability, a vigorous, well defined, conflict resolution paradigm and grid underpinned by sobriety and sincerity and sating the interests and aspirations of all stakeholders becomes the necessary requirement. The question now is that if this is as obvious as can be, why has not the institution of this paradigm not even tried seriously enough? The answer appears to lie largely in truculence and structural antagonisms that have become entrenched and path dependent over the years. But, far sighted statecraft, sincerity and genuine attempts can , to a large extent , overcome theses and create fresh and much needed paradigms. This is what is needed and what actually is missing.