ISBN: 978-0-472-05559-3

Kaushik Roy

Jadavpur University

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India-Pakistan rivalry has pivoted round Kashmir since the two countries became independent in 1947. Tension over Kashmir resulted in three conventional wars (1947–48, 1965, 1971), one sub-conventional war under the nuclear umbrella (Kargil, 1999), an ongoing insurgency from the 1980s and several military crises. Surinder Mohan views this conflict as a 'complex rivalry.' He advances an innovative 'hub and spokes' model, where the hub consists of ethnicity, ideology and geography and the spokes extraneous factors like regime type, great power rivalries and nuclear weapons. Since Kashmir has a Muslim majority, it is imperative for Islamabad to possess it. In contrast, possession of Kashmir is a litmus test for the secular ideology of India. New Delhi's communication infrastructure runs into Kashmir through the Sikh province of Punjab, but Western Kashmir and Pakistan's Punjab province next to it are inhabited by Sunni Muslims. In the mid-1950s, a military junta replaced civilian rule in Pakistan. To legitimize its take-over, the army followed an aggressive and militaristic policy towards India. In the 1960s, the Cold War spilled into South Asia. The USA tried to bring Pakistan into the Western camp by supplying large amounts of sophisticated weaponry, which were used in 1965 to 'liberate' Kashmir. India moved towards the Soviet camp. From the 1980s, Washington wooed General Zia's regime for allowing American aid to the mujahideen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by both countries made South Asia a potential 'nuclear hot spot.' Finally, China's strategy to contain India by providing aid to Pakistan emboldens its support for insurgency in Kashmir. Overall, this volume is an essential reading for those interested in South Asian security matters.