In This Review

Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan, and the Unfinished War
Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan, and the Unfinished War
By Victoria Schofield
St. Martin's Press, 2000, 286 pp

The Kashmiri conflict has taken on even greater urgency since the nuclear arms race escalated between India and Pakistan in 1998. Schofield has reviewed the entire record of the conflict, interviewed many participants, and struggled to find possible solutions. She finds the complications began in 1846, when the British "sold" the Muslim-populated valley of Kashmir to a Hindu ruler. At the time of partition in 1947, his great-grandson (the maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir) became angered by Pakistani raids and decided to join India. War between India and Pakistan was halted in 1949 only by a U.N. cease-fire. By then it had become a multi-party conflict, including not just the United Nations but the people of Jammu and Kashmir; the U.N. then ordered Kashmir to choose by plebiscite its fate, but India never permitted it. Schofield concludes with five plausible scenarios, none of which can provide long-term peace but only a gradual improvement of the status quo. If successful, these steps would reduce tensions by allowing people on both sides to pass back and forth with greater ease. Her book also provides excellent context for understanding the continuing terrorist violence perpetuated by militants, many of whom are backed by one side or the other.