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Is Durable Peace Posible?

Ashima Kaul

Edited by Moeed Yusuf
Cambridge University Press, New Delhi  and United States Institute of Peace, 2014, pp. 328, Rs. 595.00


The conflict curve of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Kashmir insurgencies is at a fragile and vulnerable state of stability.  Sri Lanka has given a massive mandate for a ‘new democracy’; stability and accountability, yet it does not take away the shadow of instability that might follow. There is a state within a state for the outgoing President Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya in the last two decades have dug their claws deep into the state machinery to co-opt the judiciary, army and civil services. They have a backing of large sections of the army and extremist groups like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). In Kashmir too people braved intimidation, threat to life and severe cold conditions to usher in ‘change’ indicating human aspiration for governance, peace and justice, thereby creating an environment for political solutions and nonviolent responses to the conflict. The recent elections also indicate a shift in state response in democratizing the political process; however it is yet to rid itself of divisive political parties and their struggle to strengthen personal core constituencies thus disregarding people’s aspiration. The divided mandate has led to Governor’s rule in the region with extremist and hardliners on all sides now ready to jump into the political vacuum that has been created. In Pakistan the Peshawar killing of school children by TTP has exacerbated the continuing cycle of violence involving state response and insurgents. Subsequent punitive military action in the tribal Khyber region by the Pakistan Army undermines a peacebuilding approach to break the cycle of violence; however it reminds of the Sri Lankan strikes on LTTE crushing  insurgency  thus raising  questions as to when in the conflict curve creative and imaginative peacebuilding interventions are possible for conflict  transformation and durable peace. Looking at some of these crucial answers and exploring in a rather focused way the conflict trajectory using the conflict curve theory in major South Asian insurgencies and counter responses by the state through a peacebuilding lens is an edited volume by Moeed W. Yusuf, director South Asia programmes, United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC. The book Insurgency and Counter Insurgency in South Asia is timely when the South Asia region with two nuclear powers and salient armed insurgencies are grappling with innovative responses to prevent or resolve inter or interstate conflicts. People mired in deep rooted human conflicts and protracted armed violence between state and non state in ...

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