India-Pakistan Relationship (Kashmir war 1948 to PM’s visit 2015)

India-Pakistan relations remain tense after Pathankot attack

“…it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality; and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits and is the cause of more of our troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literature. They neither intermarry nor interdine together, and indeed they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life, and of life, are different…To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent, and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.” – Address by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah at Lahore Session of Muslim League, March, 1940

The above excerpt accurately sums up the “logic of division”, and the drawing of the border demarcating the territory of each country marked the culmination of political developments with a tone of finality. According to the ‘two-nation theory’ advanced by the Muslim League, India consisted of not one but two ‘people’, Hindus and Muslims. That is why it demanded Pakistan, a separate country for the Muslims. The Congress opposed this theory and the demand for Pakistan. But several political developments in 1940s, the political competition between the Congress and the Muslim League and the British role led to the decision for the creation of Pakistan.

Since their independence as new nations in 1947, India and Pakistan have followed a path of mutual animosity. Pakistan was created as a national homeland for the Muslim-majority areas of the subcontinent, while India proposed to become a secular nation that included about 85 percent Hindus, but also more than ten percent Muslims as well as large numbers of Sikhs, Christians and members of other religions.

In 1947, 1965 and 1971 India and Pakistan fought wars that did not change the status of Kashmir, but did result in the 1971 further partition of West and East Pakistan into the two nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It is important to note that The United States was closely allied with Pakistan until end of Cold War. Pakistan provided bases for U-2 flights and conduit for arms to Afghanistan rebels. The United States provided most of Pakistani military aid from 1954 to the 1980s. China is now the major military supplier to Pakistan. The United States has maintained cool relations with India because of its refusal to join the west during the Cold War, its pursuit of a non-alignment foreign policy and for its tight controls on American investment and business enterprise in India.

Pakistan relied on its close alliance with the United States from 1954 through the 1980s.
General Zia-UlHaq, though the 1970s, with his offensive/front-foot approach towards Indians, sought to “bleed India through a thousand cuts” kept them at bay. This grew into sanctions for camps across Pakistan which sought to train militants that would eventually infiltrate India; a practice that the Indian government alleges continues into recent times.

There have been numerous attempts to improve the relationship—notably, the Shimla summit, the Agra summit and the Lahore summit. Since the early 1980s, relations between the two nations soured particularly after the Siachen conflict, the intensification of Kashmir insurgency in 1989, Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998 and the 1999 Kargil war. The two governments adopted several ‘confidence-building’ measures such as the 2003 ceasefire agreement and the Delhi–Lahore Bus service which seemed to serve the need of the moment. however, these efforts have been impeded by periodic terrorist attacks. The 2001 Indian Parliament attack marked the peak of rising tensions. Moreover, the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, which killed 68 civilians (most of whom were Pakistani), was also a crucial point in relations. Additionally, the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistani militants resulted in a severe blow to the ongoing India-Pakistan peace talks.

There are several other impediments. Water disputes, for example, could place the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960, which has successfully regulated the distribution of a precious resource between the two countries for over five decades, under greater strain. India, with its larger population and mushrooming energy requirements, uses much more of the shared waters, and its domestic needs are rising, while Pakistan depends increasingly on them for its agriculture. With India constructing several dams in the Indus River Basin, the Pakistani military and jihadi groups now identify water disputes as a core issue, along with Kashmir, that must be resolved if relations are to be normalised.

In India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power following the results of the parliamentary elections in May 2014, and sharply criticized the previous government led by the Congress. The year was characterised by another round of tension in relations between the two countries. Islamabad emphasised the presence of “…some fundamental differences with New Delhi”. According to statements of its foreign minister, “… the process of normalization was hampered by the lack of composite dialogue between the countries, but we are striving to renew it on all unresolved questions”.

Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi met in May, 2014 for the first time when the head of the Federal Cabinet of Ministers of Pakistan was invited to the inauguration in New Delhi. But the first political battles were turned by them against each other at the end of September 2014 at the UN General Assembly. Pakistan severely criticized the position of India directed at blocking the execution of a referendum in Kashmir.  The main accusation of the Indian party came down to the characterisation of Pakistan, as a “main source of terrorism”.
In 2014, Pakistan called on the UN General Assembly to prevent the creation of new permanent seats in the Security Council and at the same time emphasized the need to strengthen the role of the 193 members of the Assembly. Pakistan opposed granting India the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

During his visit to New Delhi in January 2015, the US President Barack Obama expressed support for India’s candidature to the UN Security Council, a privileged international forum. Pakistani media very sharply reacted to this statement.

In March 2015, the main attention was paid to the discussion of bilateral issues: Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and water issues. They confirmed that for in order to find their solutions concerted efforts are required and the resumption of the dialogue process, maintaining the ceasefire (2003), the main mechanism for the stabilization of the situation on the Line of Control and the Working boundary between the two countries.  The visit of the Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India in Pakistan was generally formal and was held on the eve of the SAARC summit, which will take place in Islamabad. Analysts pointed out that it had not brought much hope for a qualitative breakthrough, improvement of bilateral relations. At the same time, according to the Pakistani side, it opened the way for future negotiations.

And in May 2015, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi confirmed his intention to “break the ice” in relations with neighbouring countries through the “cricket diplomacy”: “… We have decided to start a series of games of cricket between the teams of the two countries, and it will be the first step towards normalization of relations.” “Cricket diplomacy” is an ode to when former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani arrived in India on an unofficial visit, and together with the former Prime Minister of India M.Sindhom watched a cricket match.

It would seem, however, that the Pakistani military is reluctant to let the relations normalise. With every peace-making measure, there is always a reciprocal attack almost as if to balance it out. The Kargil war followed PM Vajpayee’s bus visit to Pakistan, Manmohan Singh’s peace talks were only shortly before the 26/11 attacks and now the Pathankot Attacks occur almost concurrently with PM Modi’s visit to Pakistan. Manmohan Singh once envisioned a day when one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul because of their proximity to each other. But, to a realist it would seem that such an endeavour is as much of a dream now as it was then.


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