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M.L. Sondhi

Introduction : Conceptual Overview

The far reaching systemic change of the end of the Cold War has witnessed an increasing interest in applying the concept of the “peace dividend” to the study of new approaches to international security, defence doctrines, development policy, and national and international dimensions of “conversion”.  The relevant literature deals with crucial aspects of the role of policy in scientific research and technological policy and in developing the ingredients of an agenda of a relatively demilitarized world.  Several theoretical writings have dealt with the likely effect of reduced levels of United States military spending on economic growth; others have provided empirical analysis of the “guns-growth” thesis.  The qualitative turn can be traced back to P.Kennedy’s seminal writing which highlighted America’s imperial overstretch and suggested that insufficient attention had been given to the deleterious effect of increased military spending on U.S. economic growth.  The “Peace Dividend” was given a new positive emphasis by several European politicians and analysts.  Thus the former German Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Willy Brandt described the emergence of the Peace Dividend in broader terms by relating it to the dissolution of the old structures of the Cold War and the need to extend globalism to help the Third World:

“…. My last comment relates to European responsibilities in improving neglected North-South relations.  We should not overtax the understanding of the developing world for Europe’s current problems but realize that our problems are much less serious than the plight of survival encountered in many parts of the South.  Therefore, cooperation with Eastern Europe must not be at the expense of people in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Asia. Asia. Asia.

“Either-or does not make sense in a world of trans-boundary communication and migration, global environmental destruction and conflicts with grave impacts on both North and South.  As navel-gazing is not a realistic option for the future, Europe must accept both its regional and global responsibilities.  Taking advantage of the end of the Cold War, West and East should share the peace divided fairly, and provide evidence of a new world order free from any claims of dominance.”   

The end of the Cold War has also led many analysts in the developing countries to acknowledge the weakness of the paradigms which rested on the premise that convergence in North-South relations was impossible. Responding to the new international context of political and economic multipolarity, writers like Arjun Sengupta have focused on effective mechanisms like “Development Compacts” to give a concrete shape to reciprocal obligations between the developing countries and the developed countries.  Avoiding any of the old ideological dimensions, the Human Development Report of 1992 identifies the possibility of a Peace Dividend of $1500 billion by 2000 AD if military expenditures are reduced by 3% a year for the 1990s.

To address the challenges of the changing global order, there should be heightened sensitivity to problems of peace, development and change as seen through prisms of developing countries like India. The asymmetries of economic and political power in the international community must be taken into account for developing optimal solutions for the appropriation and efficient use of the Peace Dividend.

It is necessary to start out with a set of questions about the new opportunities to augment the transfer of resources from the developed countries to the developing world.  At the same time the technological, social and political implications of conversion should be studied in the context of a range of feasible alternatives for increasing the rate of savings in the industrially advanced countries.  Quoting the Human Development Report Arjun Sengupta points out that one per cent increase in such savings would result in an increase in the rate of investment in the poorest countries by more than 50%, if these resources were transferred.  North-South scientific cooperation could have an important bearing on the international dimensions of conversion.

A reconceptualisation of the Peace Dividend theme from a distinctively Indian or Asia-Pacific orientation would help to focus on both structural and policy oriented approaches to the post-Cold War issues of conflict and peace.  Its importance for restructuring unjust global and regional economic and political institutions cannot be exaggerated. rated.

Researching the Peace Dividend

As a result of dramatic changes that have changed the regional and global landscape, India is faced with the challenge of revising its traditional thinking on peace and strategic issues.  It is particularly necessary to call attention to the concept of the Peace Dividend in order that new issues and developments can be properly addressed.  The end of the Cold War requires a major cooperative effort by New Delhi to develop a radical response to the new international system, to meet the environmental challenge and to transcend the exclusive military dimensions of security.

The Peace Dividend generalizes the notion of the money which is saved from various measures that will reduce military expenditure which is unproductive and make significant funds available for the purpose of building a better society and a higher quality of life.  It assigns a strong role to regional and global cooperation and incorporates dimensions like building a peace economy, maintaining justice, fostering human rights and strengthening sustainable development.

The world has been spending enormous amount of money on security and defence resulting in the creation of gigantic military machines that consume large portions of national resources.

The overarching question guiding research on the Peace Divided is: in what respects can research contribute to our understanding of the problems and opportunities of the post-Cold War reduction in military expenditure and of new concepts, methods and models for further undermining the legitimacy of the war system at the national, regional and global levels.

The Peace Divided and New Criteria of Policy-making in the Post-Cold War Era 

Peace Dividend studies provide a new positive emphasis to the peaceful resolution of security problems and are devoted to finding ways and means of reducing military expenditure without adversely effecting national security.  In many cases, particularly in developing countries, internal conflicts develop a protracted aspect and on account of lack of openness and transparency, the use of military or para-military force consumes resources beyond the capacity of concerned countries to bear.  There are prescriptive lessons to be learned from the escalation and intensification of the unrest and instability in Kashmir and the magnitude of security budgets which have resulted from the conflict formations between India and Pakistan.  (According to informed sources India is currently spending Rs. 3 crores per day in Kashmir and Rs. 2 crores in Siachin, while Pakistan spends Rs. 1 crore in Kashmir and Rs. 2 crores per day in Siachin.)

While on the one hand it is necessary to consider the development of international regimes for checking the spread of destabilizing armaments and technologies, it is now even more important to make recommendations for constraining the diversion of huge amounts of internal resources in developing countries to what Anatol Rapoport has aptly called “the endemic war disease of the Third World”.  A major element in any package of measures to control local and regional conflicts in developing countries must be the recognition that the maintenance of national security and the containment of insurgency cannot be handled by military means alone.  To break the continuity of conflict and military and para-military deployment, opportunities for peaceful change have to be discovered through new political initiatives to discover partnerships based on equality.  It is urgently necessary to review the supporting conceptual framework for countering politico-military dangers in the Third World which places in jeopardy the capacity of the rulers of these countries to mobilize local resources to match foreign aid for a number of important projects, with the result that large amounts of external aid remains unutilized.

It is not suggested that forces challenging the legitimate governments with military power and threats to the frontiers of the countries should not be adequately responded to.  However, in order to respond to new opportunities it must be recognized that the old concept of security is fast becoming obsolete.  Security problems are appearing in a new light and new concepts like adequate security, equal security, mutual security, and cooperative security are entering the strategic thought of different nations.

There are socio-political and economic-technological reasons for demilitarizing international relations among nations which have formed trade and economic blocs which rule out war and provide for negotiated settlements of disputes and differences which are inevitable between and among nations.  A striking feature of system-change in both Europe and Southeast Asia is that nobody can seriously think of war among the E.C. countries or for that matter among the ASEAN members.

There is no reason why policy-makers and negotiators in South Asia should exacerbate rather than control and alleviate in a benign direction their conflicting interests.  In place of stereotyped thinking help can be taken from recent developments in peace economics which focus on disarmament, “conversion” and “resource reallocation” and control of the arms trade.  New criteria of policy-making can be fostered through public debate which can in turn influence civil and military bureaucracies, pressure groups and politicians. cians.

The testing of alternative security policies becomes possible by creating a data base in the public domain which can encompass the role of science and technology in armaments, the expenditures for military R&D and appropriations for various socio-economic needs of the nation.

Basic Steps in Research on the Peace Dividend

The Peace Dividend as a concept has to be studied simultaneously at both the regional and global levels.  In the case of India the regional level is more important in the 1990s than the global level.  The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union was received with mixed feelings in New Delhi, and the parameters of the peace and security debate had to be adjusted to the disappearance of the symbiotic interface between India and the Soviet Union.  This development could, however, also foreshadow a potentially major opportunity for India to play a constructive role in the advancement of creative approaches to the management and resolution of regional conflicts with the decline of Super Power rivalry in South Asia.  The study of the Peace Dividend should, therefore, commence with some kind of contextual analysis of ideas for mutual reassurance to create a political environment for peace negotiation processes, and assess the capacity of leaderships to resolve internal conflicts and inter-state conflicts.  In South Asia particularly, the internal ethnopolitical conflicts spill over to neighbouring countries and develop into inter-state conflicts.  The tensions between India and Sri Lanka and the Indo-Pakistan disputes can be attributed largely to internal conflicts developing into inter-state conflicts.

It is important both methodologically and empirically that the control, management and resolution of internal conflict should receive a higher priority in Peace Dividend studies.  There is strong need for comparative studies of methods other than “law and order” approaches involving use of the coercive power of the state.  In particular studies should focus on political negotiations and compromises within the framework of the existing constitution, national territory and national frontiers and relating them to demands for more pluralistic and democratic political systems.

Among the choices facing Indian policymakers as they formulate policies for the post-Cold War era is also the “international aspect” of the Peace Dividend.  India is a major nation and must have a major role to play in international peace and order, especially on account of the intimate relationship between democratization and peace-building.  India has a strong legacy of participation in international organizations and can realistically contribute to strengthening the role of the United Nations in maintaining regional peace and in creating a new global order based on stable peace and equity.  In the Cold War years, India paid particular attention to the peaceful resolution of international security problems and to outlining the ingredients of the global agenda for meeting the threat from weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear and chemical weapons.  This issue has both regional and international dimensions.  Both require to be studied simultaneously if a nuclear-safe world is to be built even though a nuclear-free world remains a utopia.

The ecological crisis which is fast becoming a catastrophe in many parts of the world, including South Asia, is a war on human societies.  A significant Peace Dividend can be wrested from a pollution-free environmental ambience.  War itself, especially modern weapons like cruise missiles and other similar highly destructive weapons of war devastate the environment of human society.  The fate of millions may be affected by the deliberate or accidental use of weapons of mass destruction which annihilate nature along with human beings.  The growing need for cooperation among the South Asian countries in the field of environmental protection requires alternative strategies to reverse present trends.  In comparing the cost effectiveness of various policies, the concept of the Peace Dividend would help in relating decision-making to long term objectives and aspirations.

Different Streams of Peace Dividend Studies

Policy choices can be improved by searching for solutions in the following issue areas:

a)    Internal Conflicts: nature, dimensions, durations and consequences.

Are the parties and interests pitted against each other really irreconcilable? Or can they be brought together to a negotiated settlement?

Demands for autonomy and self-government have to be seen as demands for participatory democracy rather than forces working for the disintegration and fragmentation of political society.

b)    Art and Science of Negotiation:  How to achieve fundamental negotiation goals and develop  joint problem solving in internal conflicts?

The goals of negotiation will have to be clearly defined.  The methodology of negotiation may be bilateral or multilateral talks, mediation, arbitration or adjudication.  For all these appropriate mechanisms will have to be created.  Several attempts have been made in India like Zonal Councils, Committees for settling inter-state water disputes, and general bodies like the Inter-state Council.  None has really worked in an optimum way, except as episodic occurrences.  It is necessary to find out why these mechanisms have failed to settle disputes and bring about reconciliation between the parties concerned: e.g. water dispute between Punjab and Haryana; the Cauvery Water dispute in South India; and the disputes over forest-sharing in Northeast India.

An important area deserving attention of researchers is the long Tribal Belt from Assam to Gujarat inhabited by 80 million people which is in various stages of unrest and rebellion:- the  Bodo Movement,  the Jharkhand Movement, the Bastar unrest, the Telangana struggle, and tribal unrest in Gujarat.  The Naxalite movement is also predominantly a tribal movement against agrarian injustice which involves West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, and Maharastra.

If the Tribal Belt goes up in real armed rebellion, it will create a situation potentially more dangerous than the Kashmir situation.  The research process should encompass policy measures necessary to anticipate trouble, pre-empt conflicts by redressing them before they get too serious, and where conflict is already raging to find ways and means of negotiating settlements.  The powerful vested interests which collectively exploit the tribals will have to be identified and exposed and government machinery must be mobilized to bring these interests under control.  The structural characteristics of the tribal unrest must be identified and appropriate conflict management procedures should be evolved which will relate to the concrete realities of tribal life.

The cost-benefit thinking of the Indian political leadership on Kashmir needs review by developing various policy scenarios.  It is also necessary to generate data which would be useful for finding political solutions acceptable to diverse social, economic and political groups in Kashmir.  A package of peace proposals could be advanced which would provide enough satisfaction to people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to remain as citizens of India along with the suppression of terroristic violence and develop a communication perspective by which the militants are brought to the negotiating table.  It is also necessary to examine the potential for peace building initiatives between India and Pakistan which can help relations between New Delhi and Islamabad to be brought to a level where both countries can work together for a peaceful and prosperous Kashmir.

c)    Reduction of Defence Expenditure:

Once internal peace and order are restored and relations with Pakistan improve, it should be possible to reduce the military budget of India (and of Pakistan) and transfer resources to the area of human resource development.  The argument that India spends only 2.6% of the GNP does not hold water.  It still means that more than 15% of the revenues of the Central Government, more than what is spent on health and education together, goes into the proliferation of the war-system.  The demand for a strong army as an essential attribute of a strong India stems from a mindset born out of the Cold War.  In the post-Cold War world, economic strength will determine the power and status of a nation along with its technological excellence and its place in the gradually forming global common market.  Military power, although essential, will have to be kept at the minimum necessary level and not at the maximum desirable level which has been the norm in the Cold War period.  The Peace Dividend studies should be able to identify areas where India can take unilateral initiatives to improve the general climate of peace in South Asia and more specifically in India’s relations with Pakistan and China.  It is important to develop ideas for mutual reassurance and confidence building between India and China which would ultimately bring the huge Asian-Pacific land mass into stable peace and a just world order.

The Research Agenda

The following studies could provide fresh answers to some of the questions raised above and would help to determine the rationale for the Peace Dividend:

  1. Kashmir:  Reduction of level of violence and prospects of negotiated settlement.

  2. India-Pakistan relations:  Reduction of tensions and improvement of relations leading to reduction of military expenditures.

  3. India-China relations: pre-requisites for the settlement of the border dispute; Confidence Building Measures; Economic and Technological Cooperation.

  4. The Nuclear Issue: negotiations with China and Pakistan: bilateral and tripartite levels; a Nuclear Safe South Asia and world security.

  5. Internal Conflicts in Tribal Belts:  prospects of negotiated settlements and avoidance of internal wars.

  6. Institutional Mechanisms for Conflict Management and Resolution: national level.

  7. Political and institutional dimensions of Indian environmental problems.

  8. Bangladesh: solution of water sharing problems – with tripartite cooperation with Nepal, and with international help.

  9. Bangladesh: containing migration of Bangladeshis by an alternative orientation to employment projects in agriculture and industry in Bangladesh with international organizational support.

  10. Pakistan:  negotiation and joint problem solving with Pakistan for various problems:
    Territorial:  Siachin and Sir Creek
    Trade:    economic networking
    Freedom of cultural and information exchanges

  11. SAARC: to make SAARC a more dynamic and viable organization which can promote bilateral and regional cooperation in South Asia and strengthen consensus of the international community.

  12. Regional Role of the United Nations: to examine the feasibility of regional peacekeeping organization of the United Nations and the establishment of a regional bench of the International Court of Justice.

  13. Global Economic Development:  How India can play a more vigorous role in global economic and global development which would include integration of markets and technologies.

  14. Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council:  what will create a universally recognized Indian entitlement to play a larger role in the affairs of the United Nations in the capacity of a permanent member of the Security Council?

  15. The UN and new world order:  to what extent India can support more vigorously the UN Secretary General’s plan to strengthen the world organization and make it the central force in the creation of a new world order and for maintenance of international and regional peace.

  16. International cooperation in promoting conversion and transforming military R&D.

  17. Restructuring unjust global and regional political and economic institutions and developing institutions to reinforce reciprocal obligations between industrially advanced countries and developing countries.

  18. International R&D Cooperation: from Cold War to Peace economies.

  19. Peace building:  demilitarization, resource development and dispute settlements.

  20. Optimal solutions for the appropriation and efficient use of the Peace Dividend: world peace perspective.


Anatol Rapoport: Peace – an idea whose time has come. (ann Arbor 1992)

Arjun Sengupta: Spread of the Silent Revolution, International Herald Tribune, Sept. 4, 1991.

Geir Lundestad & Odd Arne Westad: Beyond the Cold War : New Dimensions in International Relations, (Scandinavian Univesity Press 1993).

Hugh Miall: The Peacemakers : Peaceful Settlement of Disputes since 1945 (Macmillan Press 1992).

Alex Mintz & Chi Huang : “Defence Expenditures, Economic rowth and the Peace Dividend”  American Political Science Review, Dec. 1990.

Saadet Deger: Military Expenditures in Third World Countries:  The Economic Effects (London, 1986)

Helena Tuomi & Raimo Vayrynen: Militarisation and Arms Production (St. Martin’s Press 1982)

Atul Kohli (ed.) India’s Democracy (Princeton)

Walter Isard: Understanding Conflict & the Science of Peace, (Blackwell 1992)

Roger Fisher & William Ury : Getting to Yes. (Boston 1981)

Saadia Touval & I. William Zartman (eds.) International Mediation in Theory and Practice (Westview Press 1985)

Mark N. Katz:  Why does the Cold War continue in the Third World: Journal of Peace Research, vol. 27, No. 1, (1990)

Hans Henrik Holm:  the End of the Third World.  Journal of Peace Research, vol. 27, no. 1 (1990).

Mark Thee: Whatever happened to the Peace Dividend?  (Nottingham 1991)

Rainer Rilling et. al. (eds.) Challenges: Science and Peace in a Rapidly Changing Environment (Bonn: 1992).

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