The rival over Kashmir between India and Pakistan has been persistent since 1947. Kashmir used to be a princely state but ended up being claimed by Pakistan and India. This conflict that emerged due to an auspicious decision in 1947, it has ended up being a cause of dispute and violence for decades, involving two wars. From that time, both India and Pakistan have been claiming to take full control of Kashmir but they have only been in control of parts of it which has led to numerous conflicts between them (Choudhury, 2019). The main causes of the conflict are attributed to the countries colonial past history they share. The cause of the conflict at the start of the conflict was based on religion and cultural factors. However, some people argue that the conflict between India and Pakistan, is a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” since the primary cause of the conflict was due to religious and cultural differences during the British colonial era while other argue that it is a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” since the cause of the war seems to be political and economic in nature. Therefore, this paper argues why the conflict between India and Pakistan is a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations”.
Some people argue that the conflict that exists between India and Pakistan originally began due to cultural and religious differences between these two countries as they fought to dominate this region. It is argued that the reason for the conflict has been persistence since the colonial past and that is why it has never been resolved for decades. In the 17th century up to the 20th century whereby Britain ruled India including Kashmir which was a Muslim dominated region (Choudhury, 2019). Tension developed between the Muslim and Hindu as they struggle for independence. The Pakistani Muslim formed a Muslim separatist movement to demand their freedom. However, they were partitioned by the British government into independent India’s Hindu-majority nation and Pakistan’s Muslim-majority nation. Upon attaining independence, these two separated religions broke into conflict as each religion wanted to dominate Kashmir (Choudhury, 2019). This tension still exists for the same reason, as the two religions, India’s Hindu-majority nation and Pakistan’s Muslim-majority nation are still fighting to dominate Kashmir. The religious differences formed a foundation of this conflict which still exists up to date.
Moreover, according to those who argue that the war is a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” claim that the struggle for cultural superiority is exhibited in the rivalry between India and Pakistan. Each of these cultural groups wants to express their superiority over the other culture (Mccarty, 2014). None of these cultures wants to step down and that is why it has been difficult to resolve the conflict as each wants to dominate the other. This has led to frequent attacks and air strikes using fighter jets on each other. Also, both countries have been threatening themselves with nuclear weapons as a sign of superiority.
On the other hand, some argue that the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is not a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations”. They claim that this conflict appears to be more of political conflict as both countries try to exercise their superiority and sovereignty (Mccarty, 2014). Every country has a nuclear weapon which is a strong weapon making them feeling stronger and for that reason, they keep threatening themselves. They believe these two countries are conflicting because of armament they have which made them overconfident to get into the war. This has been referred to as miscalculation by the Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan. Essentially, the Pakistan Prime Minister said …“all these big conflicts have been because of miscalculation, nobody had an idea of how it would end. And because of the weapon we have, can we still miscalculate?”…(“The Kashmir conflict,” n.d.)
Moreover, they also argue that given the current conflicts between these two countries, for example, the incident whereby Pakistan shot down India’s combat jet and captured the pilot. This situation was politicized by Mr Modi which was identified by the Indian opposition politicians making it an opportunity to create a crisis. Mr Modi was trying to make a name for himself by politicizing terror. From their perspective, it is vivid that this conflict is a political competition between the two states (“The Kashmir conflict,” n.d.). they also claim that another reason that caused the conflict is the quest for economic gains. Both countries wanted to extend their territories by taking over Kashmir which would benefit them economically. Like during the colonial era, countries sought to expand their territories so as to improve their economic capacity (Abi-Habib & Kumar, 2019). Similarly, both India together with Pakistan have been struggling to be in control of Kashmir as a means of increasing the economic productivity of the country.
China and the United States have constantly involved themselves in this conflict to help in resolving the two conflicting countries. China has influenced the conflict by establishing a program called China’s Belt and Road Initiative which were series of infrastructural development initiatives funded by Beijing which had economic and peaceful intent. China established cooperation with Pakistan which brought them to be too close (“China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Plan,” n.d.). China has been supporting Pakistan economically especially during its difficult times. However, the United States has constantly been getting involved in trying to resolve the conflict between these two countries. The United States has tried to hold a peace meeting with the two rival countries in order to resolve the conflict. Moreover, the United States has been sending its specialist to help resolve the conflict. These specialists include; government administrators, military, mediators amongst others. Also, the United States has been providing funds for security so as to help reduce conflicts between these countries (“China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Plan,” n.d.). Additionally, the United States has held talks with both countries about the disarmament of nuclear weapons so as to avoid threats. Peace and reconciliation have been the main focus of the United States have it has been struggling to resolve the conflict entirely.
To sum up, I believe that the conflict existing between India and Pakistan is indeed a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations”. It is evident that the main and initial cause of the conflict from 1947 is due to cultural and religious factors. The conflict is held between two different religions, Hindu and Pakistan which is a perfect prediction by Huntington that wars or conflicts will arise between countries due to religion and cultural differences. As argued by those in support that this war is a case of Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” it is evident from the tension that developed during the partitioning whereby the cultural difference between these two countries led to the eruption of the conflict. Up to date, the cultural difference existing between Pakistani and Indians still play a big role in influencing and stimulating this conflict. In essence, since this conflict draws back to its start in 1947 whereby the conflict began due to cultural and religious differences between the two countries, it is certain that that still remains the reason as to what has been causing frequent and persistent conflicts between India and Pakistan.