India-Pakistan Relations | UPSC Notes

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India-Pakistan Relations

India’s partner to the northwest is Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat all share a border with Pakistan. Since each country got its own freedom, the relationship between them has been bad. India and Pakistan are also called “Conjugal twins” and “Brother Enemy” for the same reason.

India The Radcliffe award led to the country of Pakistan being split up in 1947. It starts in the marshy Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and goes through the sandy deserts of Rajasthan, the lush plains of Punjab, and the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir until it reaches the Karakoram range.

India and Pakistan’s relationship has often been strained by things like terrorism across the border, breaking ceasefires, territorial issues, etc. In 2019, there were a number of tense events that shook the relationship between the two countries, such as the Pulwama terror attack, the Balakot bombing, the end of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, etc. Improving mutual ties is important for both countries because it would help South Asia become more stable and help both economies grow.

India wants to have peaceful, friendly, and working relationships with Pakistan. For this to happen, there can’t be any bloodshed or terrorism.

To get a sense of how complicated the connection is, let’s first look at how it has changed over time. Here’s a timeline:

Areas where India and Pakistan can work together


• In the past, the political and diplomatic relationship between the two countries has gone through a lot of ups and downs. This can still be seen when, on the one hand, after winning a clear majority in the General Elections to the 16th Lok Sabha, the PM-designate invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other SAARC leaders to attend the swearing in of the new Union Council of Ministers in New Delhi, and, on the other hand, due to an increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan across the


• Since the political situation in the relationship is always changing, so are the business ties between the two countries, which affects their trade with each other. This year, there has been a big drop in trade between two countries.

• The main things India sends to Pakistan are cotton, organic chemicals, machinery, food products like ready-to-feed animal feed, veggies, plastic items, man-made filament, coffee, tea, spices, dyes, oil seeds, and olea, among other things.

• The main things that India buys from Pakistan are copper and copper products, fruits and nuts, cotton, salt, sulphur and earths and stones, organic chemicals, mineral fuels, rubber and plastic products, wool, etc.

People to People Contacts

• The updated Visa Agreement of September 2012 has made it easier for people to get visas from both countries. This has led to more people-to-people contact. This Agreement has made the rules for “Business Visas” less strict.

• It made “Visa on Arrival” at the Attari/Wagah crossing for people over 65 and “Group Tourist Visa” for groups of tourists. The new rules say that people who are in business for real can get visas with multiple entries and travel to up to 10 places in India for business.

• In November 2018, a ceremony was held to start building the Kartarpur Corridor. This was done after the Indian government agreed to let Indian Sikh visitors visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan without a visa. The route will help build trust between the two countries and make it easier for people to meet each other.

Major Issues b/w India-Pakistan

Kashmir dispute

India has always been ready to talk to Pakistan about any problem, including the problem of Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, India and Pakistan met several times in the 1950s and 1960s to talk about how to settle their differences over Kashmir. These talks took place in 1950–51, 1953–54, 1956–57, and 1962–63.

Pakistan tried to use a war against India to force a military settlement on J&K. Pakistan was not able to force this military answer on J&K, and the people of J&K worked hard to stop the invaders and stop them from reaching their goals. Terrorists who are supported by Pakistan have scared the people and stopped political discussion by intimidating or silencing moderate voices who want to talk.

History: When India and Pakistan decided to split up the Indian subcontinent, they gave the masters of princely states like Jammu and Kashmir the choice of joining either India or Pakistan.

• Hari Singh, the maharaja of Kashmir, was caught in a chain of events that included a revolt by his Muslim subjects along the western borders of the state and the intervention of Pashtun tribesmen.

• In October 1947, he signed an Instrument of Accession to the Indian union.

• This led to intervention by both Pakistan and India, which saw the state as a natural extension of Pakistan.

There have been three wars and a line of control.

• Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three big, bloody wars over Kashmir.

• Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession in 1947, which led to the Indo-Pakistan War. The war finished in December 1948, and by then the Line of Control (LOC) had been set up to separate the parts of Kashmir that are run by different governments. The argument over the international border was still going on.

After a lot of bloodshed, the war of 1965 finished in 1965. There had been thousands of deaths, and the US and what used to be the USSR had to step in. India won, but both countries were hurt by the war.

In 1999, the Kargil War opened up old wounds again. Pakistani troops crossed the Line of Control and went into the Kargil district, where they helped rebels. India fought back, which led to a war. The Tiger Hills and other important hills in the Batalik were taken back by the Indian army.

The Indus Water Treaty

Reasons for Signing the Treaty:

• At first, the problem of sharing water was solved by the Inter-Dominion deal of May 4, 1948. This agreement said that India would give Pakistan enough water in exchange for payments from Pakistan every year. Since the rivers ran from India to Pakistan, it was no surprise that Pakistan was worried about being fed by India.

• With the help of the World Bank, the two countries finally took a big step forward in 1960. So, in 1960, the previous Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the President of Pakistan at the time, Ayub Khan, signed an agreement called the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). This set out who would control the six rivers that flow through the Indus basin. Pakistan got the three rivers in the west (Jhelum, Chenab, and Indus), while India got the three rivers in the east (Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej). India could use the western rivers to get water to drink, but building storing systems was limited. The treaty says that India can’t build storage and irrigation systems on the western rivers, except in a few particular cases.

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• About 20% of the water in the Indus system flows through India, while 80% flows through Pakistan.

What Worked in the Past

• Some experts think that the needs of the time led to the discovery. Pakistan and India needed money from the World Bank to expand the places they could water and build infrastructure for storing and moving water.

• Another thing that works in favour of this partnership is that both countries are “water rational.” They knew that they had to work together to make sure that their country would always have access to the shared resource.

India could use its position as a responsible upstream user when it talks with China about water issues if it stuck to the IWT. If China wants to stop or change the flow of water in the Indus area, it will definitely be bad for India.

The IWT lets India build a dam to make power from water. It also makes it possible to water up to 700,000 acres of land along the Inuds, Jhelun, and Chenab rivers on a small scale.

The Parliamentary Committee recently said that the Indus Water Treaty has stood the test of time, but it was made with the knowledge and technology of the 1960s when it was signed. At that time, the focus of both countries was on managing rivers and using water through building dams, barrages, canals and hydropower plants.

Why people aren’t happy with IWT

• From India’s point of view, the IWT makes it impossible for the country to build holding systems on the western rivers. The treaty says that storage systems can only be made under certain special circumstances. However, India says that Pakistan stops any such work on purpose because of its political rivalry with India.

• Pakistan’s View: It refutes Indian claims that they don’t use their share of water in Western rivers and says that building dams to store water won’t break the treaty.

Does the deal help Pakistan in any way?

• Eighty percent of the water in the six-river Indus system goes to Pakistan. This is 90 times more water than Mexico’s share under a 1944 treaty with the US. It is Asia’s only treaty with specific rules for sharing water across borders. The Indus basin is split by a virtual line on the map of India.

• India is in charge of the lower rivers, and Pakistan is in charge of the high rivers.

• Only water deal that forces a state upstream to take into account the needs of a state downstream.

Current Issues

• Both countries are fighting over the Kishanganga project (330 MW) and the Ratle project (850 MW), which are both being built on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. Pakistan didn’t like how the Kishenganga project was designed because it went against the Indus Waters Treaty and would cut water flow by 40%. Pakistan also wants the Ratle project’s storage space to go from 24 million cubic metres to 8 million cubic metres.

Terrorism that spans borders

• Terrorism coming from land that Pakistan controls is still a big worry for both countries. India has asked Pakistan for a firm and lasting promise that it won’t let its territory or territory it controls be used for terrorist activity against India or to give shelter to terrorist groups. However, internationally banned groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) continue to operate in Pakistan under different names, and LeT’s leader Hafiz Saeed and his followers continue to call for violence.

• India also asked the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee to add Masood Azhar to the list of terrorists who are banned by the UN. India tried to get this title, but China stopped them by putting a technical hold on it. Seven people are being tried by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) for their roles in the 2008 terror strikes in Mumbai. The trial has moved at a snail’s pace.

• Pathankot Airbase Attack (January 2016): Six terrorists dressed as soldiers tried to take over the base, which was 35 kilometres from the international line. As with the Uri attack, the killers were connected to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

• The Uri Attack was a bombing attack on an Army camp in Kashmir that killed 19 soldiers and hurt 30 more. Four attackers attacked the camp near the 12th Brigade’s headquarters in Uri, Baramulla District. This makes it one of the worst attacks on security troops by terrorists in recent years.

Sir Creek

In the Rann of Kutch marshlands, India and Pakistan are fighting over a 96 km long strip of water called Sir Creek. Sir Creek was once called Ban Ganga. It is now called Sir Creek after a British agent. The Creek flows into the Arabian Sea and generally separates the Kutch region of Gujarat from Pakistan’s Sindh Province.

Dispute: • The disagreement is about how to explain the line that marks the sea border between Kutch and Sindh. Before India got its freedom, the province was part of the British Bombay Presidency. But when India got its independence in 1947, Sindh joined Pakistan and Kutch stayed with India.

According to lines 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914, which was signed by the Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch, Pakistan claims the whole creek. The resolution that set the border between the two regions included the creek as part of Sindh. This made the eastern side of the creek the border, which is often called the “Green Line.” But India says that the border is in the middle of the channel, which is what a different plan from 1925 shows and what happened when pillars were put in the middle of the channel in 1924.

How important Sir Creek is

• Aside from its strategic position, the most important thing about Sir Creek is its fishing resources. Sir Creek is thought to be one of the best places to fish in Asia. Another important reason why two countries are fighting over this creek is that there may be a lot of oil and gas under the sea that can’t be used right now because the countries can’t agree on what to do.


The fact that New Delhi and Islamabad have different views on the issue is one of the main reasons why talks about demilitarising the Siachen glacier and the areas around it haven’t gone very far.


• The agreement that set up the ceasefire line and the positions of the two armies at the end of the 1947–1948 war did not define the Chinese border beyond grid reference NJ9842, which is south of the Siachen glacier. Instead, it said, “Chalunka (on the Shyok River), Khor, then north to the glaciers.”Since then, the Indian and Pakistani sides have had very different ideas about what “then north to the glaciers” means. Pakistan says that this means the line should go straight from NJ 9842 to the Karakoram pass on the border between China and India. India, on the other hand, wants the line to go north from NJ 9842 along the Saltoro range to the China border. Because people have different ideas about what happened, it’s hard to come to an agreement.

How India Feels

• India has demanded that the first step should be for both countries to mark the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) on the ground and on a map together. This should be followed by a joint verification agreement and the repositioning of forces to positions that both countries agree on.

Pakistan’s View

• Pakistan has always been against it, saying that:

India is the one holding Siachen, and it should leave immediately and keep things the same as they were before 1984.

By agreeing to a joint demarcation, Pakistan would, at least in theory, accept Indian rights in Siachen.

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If Pakistan agrees to this line, it would be the same as agreeing with the Indian rule of 1984.

Pakistan broke the ceasefire.

It has become a recurring problem that the Pakistani army, with the support of the Pakistani government, breaks the truce and crosses the border. This has a big effect on the relationship between India and Pakistan. This is one of the biggest problems that makes it hard to make the border area a peaceful place to live.

Other Things

• Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: On March 3, 2016, in Mashkal, Balochistan, Pakistani authorities apparently arrested Jadhav in what they called a “counter-intelligence operation.” Since then, Pakistan has kept him in their care. Pakistan has said many times that Jadhav is a “spy” for the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province. However, India has always rejected these claims. But India has said from the beginning that Jadhav was an Indian citizen and a former navy officer. The Indian side says that Jadhav had a legal business in Iran and may have gone to Pakistan by accident. And that the Pakistani government had bothered him and accused him of being a spy. India has said that the tape, which shows what is said to be Jadhav’s confession, is not real because it was taught or recorded under a lot of mental and physical pressure.

• In the meantime, Pakistan has been using this arrest to back up its claims that India has been meddling in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. Pakistan has repeatedly refused to let Jadhav see a diplomatic official. After Jadhav was sentenced to death, India took the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In May, the ICJ said that Jadhav shouldn’t be killed until a final decision was made.

• CPEC: The route goes through the disputed area of Kashmir, which is occupied by Pakistan in a way that is against the law. India is against CPEC because it worries about the internationalisation of the Kashmir dispute, China’s growing power in the Indian Ocean, and the question of who owns what land.

• TAPI: The TAPI gas pipeline project is an idea for a natural gas pipeline that would go from the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan. The pipe line runs about 1,800 km from central Asia to south Asia. But terrorism is a problem for the project right now. If the pipeline is not protected from the Taliban, which is active on both sides of the Durand Line, and other militant groups in Pakistan, it is hard to see how the TAPI dream can go beyond the ground breaking event.

• SAARC: Since the meeting that was supposed to take place in Islamabad in November 2016 was cancelled, the future of SAARC has been called into question more and more. As a result of the terrorist attack on a military camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, the Summit had to be cancelled. SAARC Summits can only happen if every member is there. Summits will be scrapped if even one member doesn’t show up, so if a number of countries don’t show up, Islamabad will be diplomatically cut off in a big way. Because of the ongoing difficulties between India and Pakistan, it is not clear if the SAARC Summit will be able to get the agreement it needs soon. This has led South Asian countries to talk more and more about the idea of a regional grouping without Pakistan.

• Hafiz Saeed: Saeed is the leader of the JuD. After the terror attack in Mumbai, he was put under house arrest, but a court released him in 2009 because there wasn’t enough proof against him. India asked for the 2008 case to be looked into again and for Jamaatud Dawah leader Hafiz Saeed to be put on trial. This request was turned down because “concrete” proof was needed against Hafiz Saeed, who was the mastermind of the 26/11 attack.

• MFN Status: Pakistan was given MFN status in 1996 because India had promised to do so as a WTO member. But Pakistan hasn’t done the same, supposedly because India has put up “non-tariff barriers” and there is a huge trade deficit.

• Trade with Afghanistan: The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) sets rules for how things can move between the two countries. Pakistan has always said that India can’t send goods to Afghanistan by land. Instead, India has to use the sea route through Karachi.

• Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade: Pakistan has flatly turned down the Afghan President’s request to add India to its transit trade agreement with Kabul, saying that it is not possible because of Islamabad’s concerns about security and other problems.

Non-state players in Pakistan and what they do

Non-state actors, or NSAs, have a good reason to see bilateral peace in the region as a threat to their very existence. So, they have repeatedly shown that their unwavering goal is to break the peace process as a selfish way to keep going and reach their political goals.

Kargil was a clear example of how NSAs were used in a bold way to further state policy, even if it was all for nothing. Both Pakistani troops and insurgents were fighting together against a shared enemy, i.e. the government. India.


• The Mumbai attacks brought Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to the notice of people all over the world. Before that, Lashkar-e-Taiba was thought to be a regional terrorist group whose main goals were in J&K.

• LeT is one of the most dangerous NSAs. It has a strong base in Pakistan and has the ability and skill to attack anywhere in India’s interior. India thinks of any attack by the LeT in India as an attack by Pakistan.


• The appearance of Ansar-ut-Tawheed fi bilad al-Hind (AuT) on the jihadi scene shows a growing desire to get India’s Muslim people to do jihad in India.

• The main goal of AuT is to bring together jihadists from all over the world and turn their attention to India.

• With more money, understanding of the area, and help from IM members in Pakistan, AuT is able to carry out deadly attacks in India.

• India would think that these strikes were backed by the Pakistani government because AuT members have worked with ISI for a long time.

Pakistan doesn’t care about the NSA:

• Pakistan has joined the global war on terror, but the way it goes after terrorist groups is wrong and picky.

• Terrorist groups based in India were ignored because it seemed like they didn’t pose a clear threat to the US and other Western allies.

• Their strikes on Pakistani military bases hurt not only India, but also Pakistan’s national interests.

Steps Pakistan must take:

• Islamabad needs to realise that it is too expensive to keep letting these NSAs act as agents against India. Pakistan has tried to stop these people in the past, but its attempts were mostly for show.

• The plan to stop these groups by limiting what they can do has failed horribly. Pakistan needs to find a way to stop this abomination by getting rid of these threats, not just putting a stop to them.

• Pakistan will only be able to get rid of NSAs if it is willing to get rid of all of its terror protégés.

• These evil NSAs can’t hold the world’s peace hostage. Their ability to start a war is a threat to the legitimate states and their right to be in charge.

Taking steps to build trust between India and Pakistan

• Since the Partition, India and Pakistan have made a lot of deals to build trust and calm things down.

• The Liaquat-Nehru Pact (1951), the Indus Waters Treaty (1960), the Tashkent Agreement (1966), the Rann of Kutch Agreement (1969), the Shimla Accord (1972), the Salal Dam Agreement (1978), and the creation of the Joint Commission may be the most important.

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• With the exception of the Joint Commission, all of the others were caused by a crisis or war that needed a rational end to what had come before.

• CBMs are effective ways to improve ties between states, but they can only work if both sides trust each other.

• CBMs are hard to set up, but they are easy to break and stop using.

• Some keep doing well, while others are given up on.

CBMs for the army:

• The Agreement on the Prohibition of Attacks on Nuclear Installations and Facilities was signed in 1988 and made official in 1990. On January 1, 1992, the first trade took place. According to the Agreement, India and Pakistan share a list of their nuclear sites so that they don’t attack each other’s. This has been done up to this point.

• The Agreement on Advance Notification on Military Exercises, Manoeuvres, and Troop Movements went into effect in 1991. This deal was a key part of making things calmer on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).

• In 2005, the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and the Indian Coast Guard set up a way to talk to each other so they could share information about fishermen who were caught fishing in each other’s waters.

• There has been a hotline between both countries’ Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) since 1965. It was used in an unplanned conversation to talk about troop moves and ease tensions after the 26/11 attacks.

CBMs that don’t involve the military:

Most of these CBMs were aimed at making it easier for people to talk to each other. Here are some of the most important ones that have mostly stood the test of time:

• The bus service between Delhi and Lahore began in 1999. After the Indian Parliament Attack in 2001, it was put on hold. When ties between the two countries got better in 2003, the bus service was brought back. This service was recently put on hold in 2019 because Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution were thrown out.

• The Shimla Agreement led to the start of the Samjhauta Express, which runs between the Indian town of Attari and the Pakistani city of Lahore. It had been stopped many times, but talks got it going again. After Kashmir’s special title was taken away in 2019, it was put on hold.

In 2005, a bus started running once a week between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. It has stood up to the test of time and is still in use.

• After the earthquake in 2005, India sent Pakistan aid to help people in need. Pakistan also helped after the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake by sending aid.

Mistakes made during the CBM process:

• There are hotlines between military and government leaders in both countries, but they are rarely used when they are most needed. Due to the lack of contact, people have started to think that they might be getting wrong information.

• There is too much focus on military CBMs and not enough on other important CBMs that are not military.

• Both sides’ governments use CBMs as political tools to win over certain groups, which can be very bad in the long run. Public statements of peace that are meant to be CBMs can backfire if they are not true.

What changes happened in 2019?

• 2019 has set the tone, rhythm, and pace for how 2020 will go between India and Pakistan in many ways.

• At the beginning of last year, the Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) killed 40 CRPF soldiers in a suicide bombing in Pulwama. This was the first sign that things were going downhill fast.

• A few days after the attack, India’s fighter jets went after a JeM terrorist camp, but not in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PoK), but in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the city of Balakot. Pakistan fought back because of this.

• This event changed the way India and Pakistan usually fight with each other.

• Later that year, Pakistan was shocked when Article 370 was changed and made less strong, Article 35A was thrown out, and Jammu and Kashmir was split into two Union Territories.

• This move killed any remaining ties between the two countries after the Balakot attack.

• In response, Pakistan kicked out the Indian High Commissioner and stopped all trade with India.

• Trade had already dropped sharply after Pulwama, when India took away Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) title and put a 200% import tax on Pakistani goods.

• However, within a few days, Pakistan was forced to accept the import of medicines from India to help its patients who were suffering because it had stopped trading with India.

• Pakistan went ahead with the Kartarpur Corridor even though there was a lot of trouble after Article 370. Because Pakistan backs the Khalistani movement, many people don’t trust this move either.

• Pakistan’s military has a big say in the country’s foreign policy, which will make it hard for international ties to improve on the political front. Any progress has often been followed by a terror act or a break in the peace.

• At the moment, there is little chance that the two countries will work together in a meaningful way. The best that can happen is that diplomatic ties are fully restored, trade is opened up, and travel between the two countries is made easier.

Future Measures

• India and Pakistan should seriously think about setting up a regular, but secret, conversation between the heads of their intelligence services.

• The media have a big impact on how people think about things. So, they have a big duty to help build up the people who want peace. There needs to be a constant conversation between journalists, managers, and the owners of media houses.

• Both New Delhi and Islamabad need to make sure that Track II talks happen. Recently, a group of Indian experts went to Pakistan to talk about all parts of the relationship between the two countries and try to get the Track II dialogue process going again with Islamabad. The visit gave the original Track II project, called Neemrana Dialogue, a new start.

• It is in the best interest of both India and Pakistan for Afghanistan to be safe, prosperous, sovereign, and independent. Both countries must work towards this goal and talk to each other to calm their fears.

• A temporary setback in ties between governments shouldn’t stop people from working together. Important people, such as academics, journalists, businessmen, students, artists, and past high-ranking officials, should be given the chance to travel without a visa.

• Getting other countries to put pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Pakistan on the “grey list” in June 2018 because it hasn’t done enough to stop money from going to terrorists. Such moves can make it more expensive for Pakistan to use terrorism as a tool.

• Restarting talks between the two countries and getting them more involved so that there is less chance of a fight and more chance of working together. For example, they could work together on climate change, share knowledge about new technologies, etc.

Track II talks

• Track II diplomacy, also called “backchannel diplomacy,” is the practise of “non-governmental, informal, and unofficial contacts and actions between private citizens or groups of individuals, who are sometimes called “non-state actors.”

• It is different from track I diplomacy, which is official government diplomacy that happens through official government lines.


South Asia hasn’t moved forward yet, even though it has the ability to have fast economic growth and development. This is mostly because India and Pakistan have different ideas and are often at odds with each other. If ties between India and Pakistan get better, any future threat to the subcontinent can be dealt with. South Asia can be peaceful and successful if people work together and live together and trust each other.