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Why the world is stuck with the conflict in Kashmir

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In his classic book published in the early 1830s, On War, Prussian officer Carl von Clausewitz declared that war is the continuation of policy by other means. In other words war — organized violence conducted largely by states — is an extension of policy. If a state has a policy to carve out territory from another state and cannot do it by diplomacy, economic pressure or just plain threats, it must resort to war in an attempt to do so. Clausewitz also said, in effect, that when the guns go off, no one can tell what will happen. These two ideas are somewhat of a contradiction, but the contradiction arises not from within Clausewitz’s mind but from the nature of war itself.

Indian soldiers patrol near the Line of Control dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, in a file photo from Oct. 4, 2016.

There is probably no more intractable problem in the relations of states than that of Kashmir, which bestrides the border of Pakistan and India and is a Muslim-majority state largely under Indian control. The root of the problem stretches back to the dawn of the 20th century when the British, who once ruled all of the Indian subcontinent, took advantage of the rise of Muslim nationalism in areas of India with large Muslim populations to encourage those Muslims to organize political groups to counter the rise of Hindu nationalism. This was when the All........

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