The history of India-Pakistan Relations has mainly been a story of Conflict and discord, mutual distrust and suspicion. Some significant irritants in the India Pakistan relations are as follows:
Pakistan is locked in multiple territorial disputes with India, such as
- Kashmir: Because of the political differences in India-Pakistan relations, the territorial claim in J&K was the primary reason for wars. It was in 1947, 1965, and 1999 and violations of the ceasefire and rebellion promotion within the Indian side of J&K. Jammu & Kashmir is still a contentious issue that is divided by the Line of Control (LoC) between Pakistan and India. The LOC demarcates the line of the ceasefire agreed to post-1947 Conflict.
- Siachen Glacier: It is located in the Karakoram Range of Northern Ladakh. It is the second-largest glacier in the world. Siachen Glacier is a disputed territory between these two neighbors. Before 1984, neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence on the glacier. In 1984, India’s intelligence learned that Pakistan was planning to occupy Siachen Glacier. To stop this incident and to reach out to the glacier first, India launched Operation Meghdoot. The Armed forces of India obtained the area at a higher altitude through Operation Meghdoot, and the Pakistani Army got control of a much lower height. Thus, in this region, India enjoys a strategic advantage. An armistice treaty was signed between the two countries in 2003.
- Sir Creek Dispute: Sir Creek is a 96-km estuary in the Rann of the Kutch region of India lying between Sindh (Pakistan) and Gujarat (India). The maritime boundary line between the two countries has been disputed. According to the agreement signed between the Rulers of Kutch and the Government of Sindh, Pakistan claims the entire Sir Creek to be its own, while India claims that the boundary lies mid-channel as per a 1925 map.
The dispute over water between the two countries is as under-
- The two nations have a long-standing issue over sharing waters from the Indus River. Both sides are at odds over how to manage and share the waters of rivers of the Indus system.
- Before the Indus Water Treaty in 1960, the countries shared a weak arrangement with share east and west-flowing rivers. Later, India and Pakistan signed the Indus Water Treaty. This treaty was brokered by the World Bank.
- As per the treaty, Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi were given to India for exclusive use, while Pakistan got Jhelum, Chenab, and Sindh.
- Though the countries have been engaged in three wars since independence, this treaty has failed to address the dispute since the source rivers of the Indus Basin were in India, potentially creating famines and drought in Pakistan. Being highly technical, this treaty has led to far-ranging interpretations and divergence.
- The treaty does not provide a definitive solution, so the two countries have frequently sought time-consuming and expensive international arbitration. The treaty also needs to adequately address the division of water during the shortage of river water flow. Last year, after the Pulwama terror attacks, the Indian Government declared that India would not allow water flow into Pakistan.
Ceasefire Violations and Terrorism
This has been a major issue of concern between India and Pakistan. It can be explained as under-
- Since independence, Cross-border terrorism has been a contentious issue. Even after the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement, the post-Kargil Conflict came into effect, Pakistan has been engaged in regular ceasefire violations. This violence has led to multiple casualties of civilians and the army on both sides.
- Not just ceasefire violations, Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks on India have also been a significant issue between the two countries. 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Pathankot airbase attacks, Uri attacks, and the most recent Pulwama attacks are cases in point.
- The Modi Government’s massive armed retaliation in the surgical strikes of 2016 and the Balakot airstrikes of 2019 has given a strong message to Pakistan that terror attacks will no longer be tolerated. However, recent terrorist encounters in Kashmir show that the complete elimination of terrorism is still elusive.
- Apart from the terror attacks, Pakistan has been involved in anti-India propaganda. Recently, intelligence agencies warned the Government about Pakistani propaganda on social media to accuse India’s secular credentials concerning Gulf countries amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Kulbushan Jadhav Case
- Pakistan has accused Kulbhushan Jadhav of espionage and spying. The military court of Pakistan sentenced him to death. However, according to India, Jadhav was a retired Naval Officer falsely framed by Pakistan after he went to Iran on a business trip. India has demanded consular access to Jadhav many times, but Pakistan has rejected this demand, citing frivolous reasons.
- After Pakistan’s rejection, India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ). India stated that the Vienna Convention had been violated by Pakistan by denying Consular Access to Kulbhushan Jadhav. As a result of India’s appeal, the ICJ asked Pakistan to retake a look at the death sentence and allow consular access to India.
- Until 1965, India was Pakistan’s largest trading partner. However, due to the deterioration in relations, trade volume reached a minuscule level. Tensions between the two countries in 2019 have reduced the already abyssal volumes of bilateral trade to near zero. After the Pulwama terrorist attack in February, India withdrew Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status and raised customs duty on Pakistani imports to 200%.
- In April, India suspended cross-LoC trade to stop the misuse of this route by Pakistan-based elements for infiltration and terror financing. Pakistan, in turn, closed its airspace to India for a prolonged period.
Need for Peace Efforts
- There is a pressing need for peace efforts to address the causes of conflict and establish better relations between India and Pakistan. The following are some reasons why peace efforts are crucial:
- Regional Stability: The conflicts and tensions between the two countries have broader implications and can impact the entire region’s peace and prosperity.
- Economic Cooperation: Enhanced trade and connectivity can lead to economic growth, job creation, and improved living standards for the people of both countries.
- Countering Terrorism: Cooperation in counterterrorism efforts is crucial for the stability and security of the region.
- Resolution of Outstanding Issues: Addressing the core issues, such as the Kashmir dispute and border disputes, through peaceful dialogue can lead to long-term solutions and reduce tensions.
- Humanitarian Concerns: Peace efforts can address humanitarian concerns, such as the treatment of prisoners and fishermen from both countries who are caught in the conflict.