For decades two nations (born out of one) have been looking for excuses to hurt each other. Just when you think that both nations have gotten over their respective pasts and are finally moving towards enjoying a peaceful neighborly relationship, things get ugly.

With constant ceasefire violations, killing civilians, children, women, I am just curious to know if history holds any answers for us?

Has there been ever a peaceful resolution to a conflict of the size and magnitude of Kashmir issue?

  • 5
    Would any peace treaty do ?
    – Evargalo
    Apr 16 '18 at 11:53
  • 3
    These two communities have different religions. So: 1. You have missed a very important point in the description of the problem. If the conflict between Russia and Ukraina, where the participants really belong to the same nation historically and absolutely NO difference except artificial boundary and names exists, still continues, your question looks too optimistic. But OK, let us be optimists. 2. It is a know fact, from psychology, that if you will separate a group in some arbitrary way into two groups, they will create difference and reasons to conflict themselves. There are one to stop the
    – Gangnus
    Apr 16 '18 at 12:01
  • Ukrainian is not the same language as Russian. I am surprised however that no one has mentioned the Irish Good Friday Agreements. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement. And I think there is a real possibility that a strife-weary populace chooses disengagement and deescalation, if the outcome is good faith rather than subjugation. Apr 17 '18 at 7:26
  • @ItalianPhilosopher But Ukrainian is mostly spoken in the north-western half of Ukraine, and Russian is mostly spoken the south-eastern half (not only in the separatist territories). Russian is also mostly spoken in the capital, Kiev.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 17 '18 at 8:07

The Counter Reformation in Europe culminated in the murderous, no-holds-barred, Thirty Years War. That war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, and ushered in a period of religious tolerance in Europe that, exclusive of Ireland, lasted for over three hundred years into the 20th Century.

Note that the Treaty of Westphalia also occurred contemporary to, perhaps not coincidentally, the beginning of The (Age of) Enlightenment.

Although Europe would continue to experience a succession of wars over the next few hundred years, these would be of a very different character from those of the 16th and early 17th century - they would no longer be religious wars, and they would be fought for limited ends and with limited means. Not until the 20th Century would the concept of Total War again enter the European mindset.

The religious intolerance and bloodshed of the preceding sesqui-century ended. Some discrimination persisted, but across most of Europe the concept that everyone could adhere to a religion consistent with one's conscience was accepted. It's true that European monarchy's favourite hobby remained warfare - but it was now about politics and personal grandeur instead of religion.

Note here that there are only six heretics burned in Catholic and Protestant European countries post-1648:

  • Caterina Tarongí († 1691)
  • Kimpa Vita (1684–1706), Angola
  • Maria Barbara Carillo (1625–1721), Madrid, Spain
  • Gertrude Cordovana († 1724), Palermo, Italy
  • Ana de Castro († 1736)
  • María de los Dolores López († 1781), Seville, Spain

compared to about 115 in the sesqui-century preceding, and about 34 in the half millennium before that.

  • The Thirty Years War did not stop because the rulers decided that it was nice to respect each other, but because Spain was unable to keep fighting. And the religious tolerance only meant that a country would not attack other for the reason (or pretext) of religion, but each country could remain as intolerant as ever within its borders. All in all, I do not see it a more "peaceful" resolution than that of the Seven Years War or the Napoleonic Wars.
    – SJuan76
    Apr 16 '18 at 13:24
  • @SJuan76: The religious intolerance and bloodshed of the preceding sesqui-century ended. Some discrimination persisted, but across most of Europe the concept that everyone could adhere to a religion consistent with one's conscience was accepted. It's true that European monarchy's favourite hobby remained warfare - but it was now about politics and personal grandeur instead of religion. Apr 16 '18 at 13:31
  • 2
    Probably also worth noting that Ireland eventually got its own peace treaty, which so far (20 years on) seems to be holding OK. There are a lot of parallels between Northern Ireland and Kashmir if one wants to work a bit (but of course History never repeats itself, it just sometimes rhymes).
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 16 '18 at 14:02
  • 2
    It may be difficult to argue that wars in Ireland were religious rather than political (even the Williamite war 1688–1691 had the Pope notionally supporting the "protestant" side). By contrast Switzerland managed to have three overtly religious civil wars in 1656, 1712 and 1847, and those were nothing compared with the deaths in the War in the Vendée in 1793 revolutionary France
    – Henry
    Apr 16 '18 at 14:42
  • 1
    @T.E.D.: I'll have to take your word on the ethnic differences thing. It seems to be one of those cases where only the people involved can even appreciate that there IS a difference :-(
    – jamesqf
    Apr 17 '18 at 18:40

There have been a few successful condominiums, where two (or more!) countries shared control of a territory. Some examples:

New Hebrides/Vanuatu (French/English condominium, lasted 1906 to 1980).

Egypt (French/English condominium 1876-1882)

Cyprus (Byzantine/Arab condominium 688 to 900s)

So, THEORETICALLY, India and Pakistan might be able to share the Kashmir as a condominium, which would at least end the division.

  • PRACTICALLY impossible given the religious diversity of the region, also the socio economic status gradient would mean migration, which in turn will lead to more conflicts
    – bluefalcon
    Apr 17 '18 at 6:52
  • 1
    Perhaps you mean "co-dominion" rather than "condominium"? Apr 19 '18 at 5:10

Usually no.

Cases like Kashmir, where two sides claim a territory, but neither of them is strong enough to completely defeat their enemy. Where also no external power (stronger than all participants together) is interested on fix the issue or no chance of cleaning of minorities is available (like genocide or deportation) are for example:

  • Arab-Israel conflict. Where only while Russia was weak there was a chance of peace, because USA has enough power to force a peace.
  • Ex-Yugoslavia conflict, followed by Kosovo attempt of independence. Only solved when NATO entered to stop war, because no one was strong enough to force the enemy to surrender.

While the examples where the problem was fixed peacefully are:

  • Russian annexation of Crimea. Where Ukraine was not strong enough either to fight or to get help. And population was mostly Russian.
  • Separation between India and Bangladesh, both countries moved millions of people in order to have the same religious and political frontiers.

Summary. In order to solve these kind of conflict there are few alternatives:

  • A stronger force. Either in one of the sides or a external one. This alternative is not available for Kashmir because both sides are nuclear powers.
  • Desire of exterminate or move minorities. Not available as well, because nowadays is not acceptable.
  • "Neither of them is strong enough to completely defeat their enemy". I'm not so sure about that one. On paper at least, the Indian armed forces dwarf those of Pakistan. India would probably get a bloody nose, and nukes would be likely to fly, but if it came to a straight fight, I know which way I'd bet. Its probably more a matter that no sane person wants to start such a war.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 16 '18 at 14:09
  • Russian anexation of Crimea was relatively peaceful but strongly linked with the simultaneous pro-russian secession of Donbass which was most certainly not peaceful.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 16 '18 at 14:11
  • @Bregalad - "Strongly linked" in that both began with Russia sending active-duty army units into them half-heartedly disguised as volunteers?
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 16 '18 at 14:18
  • @T.E.D. Dwarfing alone doesn't get the results. Before the nukes, the two countries fought three wars, two of them were stalemates, India failed to overwhelm Pakistanis despite their material and numerical advantage. The third was an Indian victory in East because of logistical and political factors. The territory is not in Indian occupation completely either. Pakistan controls roughly half of it (Gilgit-Baltistan-Azad Kashmir). India controls the rest i.e. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. No sane person wants a war but there's a shortage of sanity here in South Asia.
    – NSNoob
    Apr 17 '18 at 8:07
  • Correction: 1/3*, not 1/2. 1/2 if you ignore the Chinese occupied part of Aksai Chin and focus on Indo-Pak alone. Map here, showing all three disputing countries
    – NSNoob
    Apr 17 '18 at 10:04

The United States is an example, in that the Confederacy was a disputed territory between two self-identified nations (with some areas -- Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia -- especially contested). While the Civil War lasted 5 years, the overall cultural/legal conflict lasted for well over a century. Also, in the below discussion, Amanda Porterfield of Florida State Univ. says the U.S. Civil War was a religious conflict; the panel notes various denominations split into North and South branches.


It may yet be premature to term "settled," however, a future conflict would be unlikely to be along the same lines. The Mason-Dixon line used to be the divider in the U.S., whereas now, it's one of various boundaries (not all geographic).

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