6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Understanding Secessionist Struggle in South Asia

Since 1945, much of the world’s conflict has been separatist in nature. South Asia is especially prone to such disputes. At this event, Dr. Ahsan Butt, drawing on his new book, Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy Against Separatists, will argue that it is states, rather than separatists, that determine how much violence there is in these conflicts. He will highlight the various strategies, ranging from negotiated concessions to large-scale repression, adopted by states in response to separatist movements. Dr. Butt’s deep historical approach focuses on two main cases—Pakistani reactions to Bengali and Baluch demands for independence in the 1970s, and India’s responses to secessionist movements in Kashmir, Punjab, and Assam in the 1980s and 1990s. His presentation will also relate his research to the current situations in Kashmir and Baluchistan.


  • Dr. Ahsan Butt

    Assistant Professor, George Mason University; Author of Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy Against Separatists