“Track-II Diplomacy” to resolve Kashmir Issue| Opinions and Daily Writeups
Track II Diplomacy could not resolve the Kashmir issue despite having a very positive outlook on it in some other international conflicts. A myriad of problems: ideological tussles, strategic culture dominance, populist mindsets, and emerging warfare techniques to destabilize Pakistan and India are the significant hurdles owing to the hands of vested interests of the arch-rivals, better explaining the hindrance in the effective implementation of the Track II Diplomacy.
2-A brief glance at the Kashmir issue and Track II Diplomacy
- Kashmir: A bone of contention between the two arch-rivals.
- Track II Diplomacy: Public diplomacy, but more secret-oriented.
3-Track-II Diplomacy could not be fruitful to resolve the Kashmir issue
- Deep-seated ideological divisions between the states
- Preference for the country’s strategic culture
- Hyper-nationalist mindsets of the authority domains
- The emergence of new proxy wars and manipulation via new fifth-generation warfare techniques
Answer to the Question
Nothing has hindered the effective implementation of the Track II Diplomacy in the case of the Kashmir issue the way the arch rivals’ vested interest-based games have done. The chessboard of diplomacy has failed to provide a positive result. The ideological, political, and strategic clash of interests of the opposition parties is the major hurdle behind the Kashmir cause. It has been evident from the universal statements that “To implement Track II Diplomacy effectively is to compromise the state’s sovereignty.” Therefore, the Track II form of diplomacy has lost its validity in the case of the Kashmir issue. The bone of contention is the result of the flawed demarcation of United India at the time of partition. Track II Diplomacy has gained a more comprehensive range of momentum in the contemporary era, but the Kashmir issue has been much more realistic than the psychological one. Moreover, the ideological tussles, strategic culture dominance, populist mindsets, and emerging warfare techniques to destabilize each-other are the manifestations of the failure of the public form of diplomacy between Pakistan and India. So, it appears that the romantic concept of the ideological approach of diplomacy could not bring peace to the disputed territory in the South-Asian region.
The Kashmir issue has been the bone of contention between Pakistan and India since their inception on the map of the world. The issue at hand started in the aftermath of the back door diplomacies of Hindus and British. Moreover, the dispute has taken a different path, and it has been the host to many other conflicts, like water disputes, nuclear flashpoints, etc. Whereas Track II Diplomacy deals with the psychological perspective of the conflict parties- in which the private and non-governmental organizations and the citizens of the state followed the principle of people to people contact strategy to resolve the issues that prevailed in their state. For instance, the increased rates of free trade, new business ventures for the locals, and enhanced tourism to normalize the socio-cultural differences between the states are the glaring example of public diplomacy. Still, it would also play the role of the secret orientation in the country, further jeopardizing her very peace and prosperity.
Track II Diplomacy could not be helpful to resolve the Kashmir issue because many trigger points halted the effective performance of freelance diplomacy:
- The deep-seated ideological division based on the Two-Nation Theory of the rival states is one of the major reasons behind its failure. Muslims and Hindus are divided based on religion, caste, colour, creed, culture, and customs. That is why the socialization process between their masses is not possible.
- Every state always prefers its own strategic culture based particularly on historical experiences. Both the competitor states experienced a bitter past in the form of bilateral wars, which made nuclear proliferation their fate for survival in the competitive world. They always stood eyeball to eyeball against each other, displaying aggressive nuclear doctrines, which shows that Track II Diplomacy is just a theoretical discussion in this case.
- Hyper-nationalist leaders who are just advancing their identity cards are also the major hindrance behind the propagation of the Track II Diplomacy in the state. In this condition, the masses only become part of blame games on social media and the protests, further demolishing the very nature of diplomacy.
- The emergence of new proxy wars and fifth-generation warfare techniques are the tools propagating fear, extremism, and terrorism in the country.
Therefore, the rival states prioritize their internal and external security- an essential step towards survival- over people-to-people contact to resolve the Kashmir issue.
In a robust diagnosis, the Track II Diplomacy has remained a hot topic of discussion among various academics and writers. It is generally accepted that the true practice of public diplomacy would be fruitful for the national party in any conflict. However, in the case of the Kashmir issue, applying such a theory is not considered a good decision. It has been proved from the rules of International relations that every state first focuses on zero-sum games and faces towards win-win situation only when she seeks something that is the best option related to her national interest. Therefore, the two arch-rivals prefer to choose absolute gains for their survival instead of social diplomacy in the case of the Kashmir issue.
In conclusion, the point of contention between Pakistan and India in the case of the Kashmir issue is based on the inter-regional tussles and domination games, ideological grounds, and strategic culture. However, Track II Diplomacy, especially in the contemporary era, benefits many countries by reducing their differences on the international stage. Undoubtedly, it benefits some of the larger sections of society in both conflicting countries. They focus on both factors: their nation’s political and economic will and make it a part of their foreign policy. However, in the end, Pakistan and India only focus on their self-interests and never make Track II Diplomacy a part of their foreign policy in the Kashmir cause.
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