Strategies for building awareness for the potential of peace education in Cameroon Ben Oru Mforndip
Special Report
Has Democracy Enhanced Development in Africa? Conrad John Masabo
Permanent Emergency Powers in France: The ‘Law to Strengthen Internal Security and the Fight Against Terrorism’ and the Protection of Human Rights Lena Muhs
Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Leading towards Prosperity or Peril Pujika Rathnayake
Lack of empathy as a threat to peace Victoria Scheyer
Comment II
The death of democracy in Honduras Daniel Bagheri S.
Berta Vive Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani
The Persons Who Changed the Lives of Terrorists and Criminals Surya Nath Prasad

Teaching Peace from Tales of the City: Peace Education through the Memoryscapes of Nagasaki Patporn Phoothong
Special Report
Reflections of Refugees in Africa Wyclife Ong'eta Mose
Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
The Right to Food Shant Melkonian
Freedom of Expression Under Threat in Zambia Mariateresa Garrido
Douglas Janoff on LGBTQIA Human Rights Luciana Téllez
Common Things: Communication, Community, Communal Peacebuilding Lina Patricia Forero Martínez
The political Crisis of the 2017 Honduran Election Daniel Bagheri S.
Research Summary
Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Reborn Arunima Chouguley
An Open Letter to the American People: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age Richard Falk, David Krieger, and Robert Laney


Last Updated: 04/14/2005
Fire, Water, Earth: The Kashmir region
Semu Bhatt

The India-Pakistan conflict has seen much progress toward resolution in the last years, with bilateral cricket matches taking place and buses now passing to the Kashmir region. Yet tension in the form of arms shopping and multiple missile tests still persists. Through analyzing the three aspects of the conflict – fire, water, and earth – Semu Bhatt proposes some tentative solutions.



Since January 2004, India and Pakistan have initiated a cautious peace process.  The year 2004 witnessed substantial improvement in the contact between the two societies, including unprecedented visits of media persons to Jammu & Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control. Also unusual was the experience of bilateral cricket matches where the spectators of both the countries cheered both the teams. There is already an agreement on a tentative schedule of official meetings until September 2005. However, it is important to note that despite the peace process, the arms race has increased at a hectic pace. In the last 15-16 months, India and Pakistan have conducted 20 missile tests. Pakistani military leadership has been shopping for arms all around the world including new sources such as Sweden. Moreover, there are indications that a meeting of Corps Commanders held on January 6, 2005 has authorised ISI to work out a strategy with extremist groups to launch a fresh series of attack, on a limited basis, in the Indian territory beginning in March 2005.


The two countries are committed to reaching a final settlement as per the Simla Agreement of 1972. At Simla, the final settlement was envisaged in the narrow context of the cartography of Jammu & Kashmir. The developments of the last 30 years compel the final settlement to be comprehensive if it really has to be final and enduring.


The crafting of the final settlement requires honest though bitter analysis of the psychology and ground realities of the two countries. The conflict between India and Pakistan currently extends to the entire South Asian region, from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. It also engages sections of population in far-flung parts of the two countries. It is reflected in the strife in India s north-east and Pakistan's Balochistan: India accuses Pakistan of using Bangladesh as a platform to destabilize India's eastern sector; Pakistan accuses India of using Afghanistan as a platform to subvert Pakistan s western half. Of this widespread conflict, the Jammu & Kashmir component is known internationally. The Jammu & Kashmir issue itself has several dimensions. To India, it is a test of secularism. To Pakistan, it is a source of strategically important rivers. To the people of Jammu & Kashmir, it is a matter of living in peace with dignity.


The search for a final settlement must therefore be predicated on the analysis of the three essential elements in the bilateral relationship fire, water and earth. The final settlement must also be a basis for restructuring relations between the two countries, since a settlement will not be final, unless it paves the way for a new and healthy relationship between the two countries in the place of current hostility.




Ms. Semu Bhatt is the Special Assistant to President for the Strategic Foresight Group,