A Dangerous Place

Victoria Schofield, writer and broadcaster, and author of (among several other books) Kashmir in the Crossfire (1996) and Afghan Frontier: At the Crossroads of Conflict (2010) has a timely book out in reprintfrom VIVA, Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the unending war.

After 20 years of insurgency, Kashmir continues to be a major flashpoint and decisive factor in destabilizing regional relations. Resolving the dispute over the state of Jammu and Kashmir is crucial to achieving peace and stability, without which the US Af-Pak strategy is unlikely to succeed With international eyes focused on South Asia, understanding what is at stake in Kashmir has never been more important. For decades, the dispute over the valley of Kashmir, famed for its beauty and tranquility, has determined much of Pakistan’s and India’s foreign policy. With the state, located between two nuclear-armed nations and India blaming Pakistani militants for the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the potentially wider implications of the conflict are higher than ever on the international agenda.

This fully updated edition of Kashmir in Conflict offers a highly readable, carefully documented account of the origins, development and implications of this contentious issue. Beginning with the early history of the independent kingdom of Kashmir, Victoria Schofield traces the origins of the modern state in the nineteenth century, including the controversial ‘sale’ by the British of predominantly Muslim Kashmir to a Hindu ruler. She examines the implications for the people when in 1947 the Maharaja chose secular, yet majority Hindu, India over Muslim Pakistan and shows why the neighbouring countries continue to argue over the status of Jammu and Kashmir which, according to recommendations passed by the UN, was to be determined by the will of the people.

Drawing upon research in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, Pakistan, and a range of historical sources, Schofield analyses critically the actions of the key players who, throughout its history, have contributed to the current militarization of the valley. And with the help of numerous interviews she takes into account the hopes and fears of all the interested parties — Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are themselves divided, not only by their linguistic and cultural traditions, but also in their objectives.

This has been called 'One of the best general introductions to what a well-briefed Bill Clinton described as the most dangerous place on earth’ by the New Statesman .‘A brilliantly detailed journey through the complex history of Jammu and Kashmir', the Literary Review . And ‘Anyone concerned with the future of South Asia will find that Ms Schofield’s book will enrich their understanding of what is at stake.’ Asian Affairs.

In our Strategic Affairs section, in paperback, Rs 425, ISBN: 9781848851054