Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance and Human Security

First Advisor

Darren Kew

Second Advisor

Craig N. Murphy

Third Advisor

J. Samuel Barkin


Previous scholarship on Kashmir conflict has largely focused on exploring external and internal causes of the conflict. This research explores the changing nature of vertical engagement of the Indian state and the marginalized people of Kashmir on its side of the de facto border by focusing on the state initiatives for conflict management. It seeks to resolve the question: What are the nature, scope and impact of the interactions between the Kashmiri traders and the policymakers of India, and with what implications for the conflict? Drawing from the theories of protracted social conflicts and pressure groups, it conducts a qualitative inquiry utilizing responses to in-depth interviews with 23 Kashmiri traders and 14 state officials, combined with content analysis of selected newspapers to investigate the vertical conflictual relationship between the traders and the policymakers. The results indicate that this organized group of gainers prefers constructive engagement over conflictual relations with the state. The cross-border trade, announced by the Indian state as an initiative to address the needs of the alienated Kashmiri community, has not been effective to ameliorate tensions. The organized pressure of traders to impact policymaking on the trade has produced limited results as the state appears interested in sustaining trade as a strategy rather than a policy to address the needs of Kashmiris. The research concludes that although Indian state policy has addressed the economic needs of the marginalized and aided the process of conflict management, it has not effectively addressed identity-related demands, which are more crucial for the management of a protracted social conflict such as in Kashmir.


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