Identity Politics in Crisis Management: A Case Study of India and Pakistan


  • Syeda Saba Batool Chair at Emerging Voices Network, London. She is pursuing an M. Phil in International Relations from the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.


Identity politics, crisis management, crisis escalation, Hindutva, non-traditional security threats


This paper examines the role of identity politics in crisis management,
focusing on the case study of India and Pakistan. It explores how identity
dynamics have escalated crises and can be helpful in conflict
management. It highlights the importance of identity in South Asia,
particularly with the rise of Hindutva in India and the historical
backdrop of Partition. The research question probes how identity
influences Indo-Pak crisis management, suggesting that shared identities
can facilitate confidence-building measures (CBMs) and address nontraditional security challenges. The first part establishes the theoretical
framework based on Richard Ned Lebow's cultural theory. It outlines
motivational forces like appetite, spirit, fear, and reason that shape
international interactions. The emphasis is on how cultural identity
influences relations between states and actors. Part two discusses the rise
of identity politics in India and Pakistan, contextualizing it historically
and within the context of globalization. It underlines the impact of identity
dynamics on foreign policy and societal interactions. Part three delves into
crisis management strategies, reviewing previous CBMs and their
limitations. The chapter emphasizes leveraging shared problems and
values to promote peace. It suggests reframing the narrative and focusing
on non-traditional security challenges as a means of cooperation. The
conclusion synthesizes findings, proposing a shift in crisis management
strategies. It advocates for utilizing shared identities and values to achieve
stability and cooperation. By addressing non-traditional security
challenges, India and Pakistan can forge a path towards sustainable
peace. In essence, this research contributes to understanding how identity
politics shapes crisis management, offering insights into both conflict
escalation and resolution. It underscores the potential of shared identities
for mitigating conflicts and achieving lasting peace in the South Asian
region. The study aims to prove that identity can play a major role in
Indo-Pak crisis management by promoting CBMs based on shared identity
and by countering non-traditional security challenges faced by the people
of both countries.