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Indo-pak relations

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: General Studies
Wordcount: 1742 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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1.Indo-Pakistan relations are grounded in the political, geographic, cultural, and economic links between the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The two countries share much of their common geographic location, and religious demographics yet diplomatic relations between the two are prefaced by numerous military conflicts and territorial disputes. However, attempts to improve relations have been made.

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2.Since independence, Pakistan owes much of its identity to its distinctness from India. It has engaged in three sizable wars with India, plus several major border skirmishes. The struggle over Kashmir has contributed to most of these conflicts. Pakistan has sponsored decades of proxy paramilitary operations undertaken in the name of freedom fighting designed to right or take revenge for cumulative wrongs. It has developed amd deployed nuclear weapons whose sole strategic purpose relates to India. And it has used its relations with other countries, particularly Afghanistan and China to promote its anti India interests. Recently also its perceived participation in the US led war on terror has been cunningly exploited to continue the proxy war against India with perpetual immunity from worldwide criticism.    

3.Most of South Asia came under direct control of Great Britain in the late 18th century. The British rule over the Indian subcontinent lasted for almost 150 years. 95% of the people living in South Asia practiced either Hinduism or Islam. The Muslim League, headed by Jinnah, proposed the Two Nation Theory in the early 20th century. According to the theory, Muslims and others shared little in common, and British India should be divided into two separate countries, one for the Muslims and the other for the Hindu majority, which he feared would suppress the Muslim minority. The campaign gained momentum in early 1940s and by the end of World War II, British India’s partition was inevitable. The Partition of India in 1947 created two large countries independent from Britain: Pakistan as two wings in the East and West separated by India in the middle. After Independence, India and Pakistan had established diplomatic relations. Subsequent years were marked by bitter periodic conflict, and the nations went to war four times. The war in 1971 ended in defeat and another partition of Pakistan. The eastern wing split off as a new country named Bangladesh, while the western wing continued as Pakistan.

Stumbling Blocks

4.The Debris of partition of India in 1947 has clouded India’s relations with Pakistan. Pakistan’s tendency to assume the role of guardianship of Indian Muslims is one of the major irritants between India and Pakistan. Another matter which became source of irritant between two countries was the distribution of river waters. The divergent perception of both the countries on Indian Ocean as a zone of peace was yet another irritant including the sir creek issue. Pakistan threat perception, inspite of assurances by India, coupled with party syndrome gave shape to a proposal for Nuclear Weapon free zone in South-Asia (N.W.F.Z.S.A.); for it is believed that internal security will give the external powers an opportunity and justification to futher enhance their presence and prestige in the Indian Ocean region. So this perception of Pakistan and India on the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace led to differences in their strategic perception.

5.Another major issue which emerged between the two countries was the question of political status of the three princely states – Junagarh, Hyderabad and Kashmir. But the most important issue which has marred the relations between the two countries has indeed been Kashmir. The dispute over Siachin glacier is an offshoot of the same problem.

6.Alleged interference in each other’s internal affairs is an irritant in Indo-Pak relations which has raised its head very seriously in the recent years. India considers Pakistan responsible for fomenting terrorism in Punjab and Kashmir.

7.Pakistan has always viewed Afghanistan through the prism of antagonistic relationship with India, attempting to use Afghanistan as its defence in depth and cultivating its Mujahedeen as paramilitary reservists against possible Indian threats. Subsequent to the fall of Taliban in Afghanistan, Indian humanitarian aid and development activity in the war ravaged country appeared to Pakistan as a threat to its support in Afghanistan and that inimical interests will have free reign in the country. Pakistan has viewed this activity with dismay, its fear of encirclement compounded by India’s establishment of a new airbase at Farkhor in Tajikistan.

Current Challenges

8.A year after the Mumbai attack, two questions have persisted: was the ISI or any other state element of Pakistan an accomplice in the attacks? If ISI which had nurtured LeT to wage a proxy war against India, has cut itself from the group as claimed and was not involved in the attack, what stops Pakistan from effectively cracking on it?

9.In weeks after the attacks, the Pakistan government, under immense international pressure and scrutiny, took several steps. A raid on Lashkar camp at Muzaffarabad led to the arrest of Commander Zuikur Rehman Lakhvi. This is possibly also where Abdul Wajid, whose alias has been shown as Zarar Shah, was picked up. Both are alleged master minds of the attack. Next it placed Hafiz Saeed, LeT founder and leader of its front organization, Jammat ud Dawa (JuD), under house arrest.

10.Some other corners of establishment may still hold the view that the LeT can be viewed as a strategic asset. The Pakistani government’s reluctance to go all the way against LeT is too obvious. After six months of house arrest, Hafiz Saeed is a free man, and the government says it cannot act against him unless New Delhi provides concrete evidence linking him to Mumbai attacks. All other JuD activists have been released. The organization has not yet been banned and now operates under the name of Fallah-i- Insaniyat and was noticed in relief operations among the internally displaced in the Swat valley during the military operations there.

11.As the arrest of David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana in the US has shown, the LeT also retains operational capabilities. The two men are said to have been in communication with the LeT, and though they were arrested for an alleged terror plot against the Danish newspaper, they were also said to be planning attacks on National Defence College at New Delhi. Latest probes in Mumbai have revealed their definite links with the Mumbai terror attacks and many such incidents across India in the past. Further arrest of a Pakistan army Major for his links with Headley and Rana are bound to raise questions on LeT’s continuing links with the military as an institution, but with the sections within it, especially because the Major retired only two years ago.

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12.Home Minister Chidamaram’s words point us in the direction of just why these issues need to be taken seriously: another major terrorist attack on India could have consequences that would destabilise both the countries and could conceivably precipitate a regional crisis. In both Islamabad and New Delhi Mr. Chidambaram’s speech was interpreted as warning that India would respond to future mass casualty attack by targeting jihadist bases and logistical facilities in Pakistan. That, in turn could snowball into a conflict that would bring misery to all the people of South Asia.

13.It is now accepted within the Pakistan Military that Al Qaeda, Taliban and their allies among Punjabi jihadis operate as a syndicate. But while they have included the Jaish-e-Mohammed, along with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Sipah-e-Sahaba, in the syndicate, the LeT is still not considered part of it.

14.The threat to India’s security from Islamic fundamentalism and globalization of terror is immense. It is feared in some quarters that Pakistan is sending fundamentalist groups to Bangladesh as well. The Dhaka based extremist Islamic group, Harkatul-Jehad- Al-Islam (HJAI), is believed to be financed by Osama Bin Laden. The evidence suggests that ISI and Taliban are involved with Harkatul operations in Bangladesh.

15.On the other hand Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi   says Pakistan is compiling hard evidence of India’s involvement in terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s public and its armed forces

16.The Indian External affairs minister Mr SM Krishna assured of the fact that India has clean hands with respect to Baluchistan and Afghanistan. He also mentioned that Islamabad’s suspicion s of India’s ulterior motives in Afghanistan were unfounded. The only motive is to restore peace and stability in the war-torn country

17.During the period of excessive tension, India and Pakistan have growled at each other while meaningfully pointing towards their respective nuclear arsenal. Most recently following the Mumbai massacre, Pakistani troops were moved out of NWFP towards the eastern border. Baitullah Mehsud’s offer to jointly fight India was welcomed by the Pakistani army.

18.India should derive no satisfaction from Pakistan’s predicament. Although religious extremists see ordinary Muslims as Munafiqs (hypocrites) – and therefore free to be blown up in markets and mosques – they hate Hindus even more. In their calculus, hurting India would buy even more tickets for heaven than hurting Pakistan. They dream about ripping apart both societies or starting a war – preferably nuclear – between Pakistan and India.

19.A common threat needs a common defence. But this is difficult unless Pakistan India conflict is reduced in intensity. In fact the extremist groups that threaten both countries today are an unintended consequence of Pakistan’s frustration at India’s obduracy in Kashmir.


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