The liberal peace emphasizes the importance of commercial ties and shared norms—of which shared democratic institutions have received most attention—for peaceful interstate relations. Ever since the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947, political relations between the two states have been tense and witnessed six military confrontations. The enduring rivalry has undoubtedly limited contacts between the two countries. The political elites have only intermittently supported direct diplomatic engagement, and there are severe restrictions on trade and travel between ordinary citizens. Further, India is generally seen as a succesful democracy in a developing country, while for large parts of its history Pakistan has been an autocracy. India-Pakistan can therefore be considered as a worst-case scenario for the liberal peace with continued high levels of hostility likely. It is noteworthy, however, that over the same period India and Pakistan have become increasingly involved with the world community. We provide evidence suggesting that these indirect links can be seen to have functioned as (partial) substitutes for direct ties. Further, we analyze the relevance of indirect ties for diplomatic efforts to address three conflict issues: the Kashmir conflict, the Indus water basin and the nuclear programmes.

ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Murshed, S., Dorussen, H., & Ward, H. (2011). Any Ties that Bind? Economic Diplomacy on the South Asian Subcontinent. In ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development. Retrieved from