Implications of Local Conflicts on Bilateral Relations: Cases of the Land Boundary and Enclave Conflicts on India-Bangladesh Relationship

Sen, Surya Sankar (2022) Implications of Local Conflicts on Bilateral Relations: Cases of the Land Boundary and Enclave Conflicts on India-Bangladesh Relationship. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorBehera,
Abstract: The thesis argues that for long, inquiries on borders and borderland issues/conflicts have prioritised statist perspectives, whereby their representation comes to be articulated through the lens of its interests. In such discernments, inquiries into the ‘local’ interests, local productions of the space, and progressions of adaptation and resilience have been relegated to the footnotes of analysis. The problematique of the local’s non-appearance emerges within the processes of identifying, categorising and mediating in conflicts; which at the borders have predominantly remained contained by the rubrics of state power and national interests. The thesis engages with the resultant gaps which emerge between the indicated and observable outcomes of these processes in local sites of conflict, by problematising their corroborating pragmatisms and theoretical rationalisations. Moreover, by deconstructing the essentialisms of state credo which accentuate the practicalisation of its power, the research identifies the position of the local, as an integral component of a conflict setting, despite its nonappearance in analyses and dominant, discursive productions. Taking the Land Boundary Agreement (2015) as the case of review, the research explores the implications that this national-interest based bilateral action had at the local levels of its implementation. It departs from a conventional impact analysis of resolution processes, by shifting the focus of its inquiry to understanding the local and its multiple variations, evinced through negotiations between constituent actors and the state in navigating systemic and structural shifts brought about by the latter’s intercessions. Thereby repositioning the assessment of effectiveness of resolution policies upon the observable impacts these mediations render at the local levels, rather than in terms of their actualisation of abstract, national interests. By integrating the perspective of the ‘local’ in assessing the localised impacts of bilateral conflict resolution, the research brings forth certain reconfigurations in the conceptualisation of bilateralism and within larger theoretical models of comprehending state power and national interests. The focused inquiry into the local brings forth critical details which allows for the extension of understanding state power and its interactions with local socio-spatial configurations beyond their ideologised and normative renderings in predominant exemplifications. The research therefore reconfigures the position of the local in International Relations as a static spatial disaggregation. In accounting for the adaptations evinced at different points in its direct interactions with the state and its power, or indirectly with the categorisations of identity and spatiality it imposes, the thesis situates the local as a polyvalent and dynamic socio-spatial configuration. The concomitant theoretical reconfigurations it posits, attempts to secure the local as a relevant point of inquiry and analysis in studying state power and the impacts of its interactions with other comparable units in the regional and world systems. This recognition necessitates changes in the perceptions of objectivity and normativity underlying statist categorisations of conflict and enumerations of identity and spatiality in such settings. Such a step works against binarised depictions of the local and its associated processes as existing in opposition or in diffidence to the state and the prescriptions of its power. The spatial variegations underlying the impacts of the national on specific locales or of processes of bilateral mediation on local conflicts establishes a representative relationality between the state and the local; whereby their dynamics are not textured by prevalent paradigmatic essentialisms, but upon representative assessments of local realities. The study’s engagement with the local, highlights key discernments into borderland realities, as well as that of conflict settings to understanding the different ways in which the state’s power competes with, and accommodates, more localised processes operational at these territorially disaggregated and ‘notionally peripheral’ sites. These processes comprise both cooperative and conflictual frameworks of engagement between state and non-state actors, representing a more realistic struggle between change and constancy, which constitutes an integral component of any conflict setting. By incorporating these alternative perspectives within larger theoretical paradigms of state power, the thesis interpolates the ‘local’ as a key referent in comprehending the ‘national’ and thereby shifting the foundations of the latter’s invariable categorisation in International Relations discourse to incorporate considerations of inclusivity and reflexivity.
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: The thesis was submitted to The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology, Bengaluru. [Year of Award 2022][Thesis No. TH65]
Keywords: Local Conflict, Bilateral conflict, Enclaves, Border conflicts, South Asia, Conflicts
Subjects: School of Conflict and Security Studies > Conflict Resolution
Doctoral Programme > Theses
School of Conflict and Security Studies > International Relations
School of Conflict and Security Studies > Political Conflict
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 09:59
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2023 11:19
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