Peacebuilding think tanks, Indian foreign policy and the Kashmir conflict

Stuti Bhatnagar, Priya Chacko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Foreign policy making in India is typically viewed as highly centralised and dominated by the Prime Minister’s Office and bureaucracy. Yet in 2004, the Congress-Party-led United Progressive Alliance government launched a Composite Dialogue with Pakistan which included a place for Indian think tanks in the Kashmir dispute. We suggest that as India liberalised its economy amidst domestic political upheaval, think tanks were given greater access to domestic and foreign funding and adopted new roles in foreign policy making. In the case of the Kashmir conflict, peacebuilding think tanks were encouraged by the government to engage in cross-border activities that would build constituencies for peace with Pakistan and promote economic cooperation as an incentive for peace. While the government aimed to depoliticise the conflict, these think tanks used this opportunity to draw attention to marginalised perspectives and issues. Peacebuilding think tanks nonetheless faced significant challenges in shaping the peace process because of structural constraints regarding access to resources and lack of autonomy to further their agendas. This reflected resistance within the state to depoliticising a conflict that has long been India’s central national security issue.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1496-1515
    JournalThird World Quarterly
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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