Kashmir highlighted as a dispute in Global Peace Index 2014 report

Date: 4 Jul 2014
 
Kashmir highlighted as a dispute in Global Peace Index 2014 report

-India’s spending on defence is among the highest in the world 

-Maoist insurgency movement is the strongest threat for India 

– The strained relations with Pakistan similarly add to India’s security concerns

-The nature of both the external and internal conflicts in India precludes a quick resolution

Brussels: "Presence of dialogue, absence of violence , open minded approach, consensus and compromise are the basic factors required to promote the peace in world." This was stated by Steve Killelea founder & Executive Chairmain of Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) here during a conference organized by the Global Governance Institute (GGI), the Royal Military Academy, the Egmont Institute, the Euro-Atlantic Association of Belgium and the Royal Higher Institute for Defence.

The conference was held last week at the Royal Military Academy, Brussels.

Steve Killelea released Global Peace Index 2014 report during the conference. 

In 2007 Steve Killelea founded IEP , an international think tank dedicated to building a greater understanding of the interconnection between business, peace and economics with particular emphasis on economic benefits of peace.

While highlighting the Kashmir dispute the report says that 
strained relations with Pakistan similarly add to India’s security concerns. The report further says that the greatest threats to peace are all a result of longstanding issues and their roots are so well entrenched that it will take years of strong policymaking to resolve them. "China and India also have unresolved border disputes, in Kashmir in the north and Arunachal Pradesh in the east. These disputes have resulted in one war and several lesser conflicts to date," the report adds.

Later Kashmir Watch editor Abdul Latif Bhat on the sidelines of conference urged Steve Killelea to highlight the huge Indian military presence in Kashmir which is the largest deployment in any part of the world.

Global Peace Index 2014 `India report`

India suffers chronically from international strife and widespread internal conflict. Maoist movements are the biggest threat to India’s internal security, while sporadic conflict with China and Pakistan threaten the country’s external security. An estimated 65 operational terror groups compound the challenge of maintaining peace in the world’s biggest democracy. 

PEACE DEFICIT ANAlYSiS

India’s democratic institutions are strongly entrenched and the electoral process is largely peaceful. Elections were held in nine phases from April 7th to May 12th 2014, with 100m new young voters taking to the polls. By the end of this period, the Bharatiya Janata Party formed a new government, and now will be faced with the challenge of meeting the rising demands of an expectant population. The transition of power will be peaceful and, although corruption is rampant in Indian politics—as indicated by India’s low score of 36 out of 100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index—the voting process is likely to be fair and the results undisputed. However, that in itself will 
not resolve India’s multiple internal conflicts. 

India’s internal conflicts originate from the existence of several ethnic groups, terrorist camps and state-level independence movements. India is ranked number four out of 159 countries in the Global Terrorism Index. The Maoist insurgency movement, known for its left-wing extremism, is among the strongest of these internal threats, as has been acknowledged by India’s (former) prime minister, Manmohan Singh. The movement began in the eastern state of West Bengal in the 1960s and, according to some estimates, encompasses over 20,000 armed rebels. The Maoists have a particularly strong presence in the eastern and south-western states of India. In the past, they have been known to attack security officers and civilians alike. Their popularity is based on their fight for communist rule in a society marked by rising socio- economic inequalities and their strongest support can be found in far-flung rural areas, as they claim to be furthering the cause of landless peasants and the rural poor.

India’s diverse population has also resulted in several pockets of ethnic conflict, whereby there are some active and some dormant statehood movements. Extremist groups demanding independent states are especially active in the north-east of the country and many dormant movements were revived when the government decided to carve out the new state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh in south India. Further, despite its democratic credentials, India scores quite poorly on the Political Terror Scale, 4 out of 5 (5 representing a state of total suppression), thereby further nurturing the ground for political strife.

India’s spending on defence is among the highest in the world—according to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March, India’s imports of major weapons rose by 111 percent between 2008 and 2013. India now accounts for 14 percent of the volume of international arms imports, up from 7 percent in 2008. This increase in defence spending is mainly a response to China’s increasingly threatening foreign policy. The strained relations with Pakistan similarly add to India’s security concerns. The partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 was characterised by violence and turmoil and, since then, border disputes over Kashmir in northern India have ensured frequent conflict, including three major wars between the two countries. It is also believed that several terrorist groups that target India are based in Pakistan and recruit actively in Kashmir. Relations with Bangladesh are equally strained, both by disputes over water rights and a porous 4,000-km- long border that has allowed a huge inflow of illegal immigrants into India. Several terrorist groups with an anti- India agenda also operate from Bangladesh and, in recent years, this has led the government to crack down on their operations. China and India also have unresolved border disputes, in Kashmir in the north and Arunachal Pradesh in the east. These disputes have resulted in one war and several lesser conflicts to date. The fear of border incursions weigh on relations between the two countries and tensions escalated in 2013 when the Chinese army set up a camp in Kashmir, a region that India claims as its own. 

BARRiERS TO PEACE

The nature of both the external and internal conflicts in India precludes a quick resolution. The greatest threats to peace are all a result of longstanding issues and their roots are so well entrenched that it will take years of strong policymaking to resolve them. The historic tensions between India and its former territories under the British Empire are unlikely to dissipate any time soon. Equally, Delhi will follow the increasingly aggressive Chinese rhetoric on territorial questions with some trepidation. Domestically, containing the Maoist movement will be one of the biggest challenges facing the new government, as will be addressing the demands for a higher standard of living from millions of Indians.