It is a non-partisan think tank established with a vision to Innovate
future prospects for peace and security in the region and beyond
through intellectual discourse and contribute in sustainable social,
political and economic development. It is an aim to review the foreign
policy of Pakistan towards its partner states and the major powers of
the World. ‘Pakistan India Relations – Challenges & Prospects’ is the
sixth roundtable of the series; the first was on ‘Pakistan-U.S. Relations:
Convergences and Divergences’ held in November last year, the second
was on ‘Pakistan-Russia Relations: Prospects and Challenges’, held in
December 2013, the third was on ‘Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations – U.S.
Drawdown and its Implications for Pakistan’, held in January 2014, the
fourth was on ‘Pakistan – China Relations: Prospects and Challenges’,
held in February 2014, the fifth was on ‘Pakistan-EU Relations:
Convergence and Divergence’, also held in February 2014.
Pakistan and India have shared a long history of conflict. The two
countries have witnessed more ups and downs in their relationship, in a
relatively short span of almost seven decades, than most countries do
in hundreds of years. The relationship between the two South Asian
neighbours can to some extent be explained by the subaltern realist
theory. According to the theory of subaltern realism, the third world
states are weak and dependent, due to which their ability to focus on
their long-term benefits is less that on the developed countries. As the
third world countries which were established after colonialism came to
an end in the subcontinent, Pakistan and India have always been
dependent on bigger powers as far as their security and survival are
concerned. The third world countries seek survival and are constantly in
competition. Therefore, internal and external factors both act as
catalysts in influencing the behaviour and decisions of these states.
According to the realist school of
thought, the international structure of the world is inherently
anarchical. There is no hierarchy of power. This anarchy in the
international system forces these countries to be in constant
competition with each other. They all seek survival and security.
However, in order to understand and analyze the relationship between
the two South Asian giants, one has to carefully look at their
relationship through the prism of three levels of analysis, i.e.,
systematic level, regional level and the domestic level. At the
systematic level, Pakistan and India have faced conflict of interests at
the geo-strategic and geo-political levels. Whether it was the conflict of
disputed territories between the two or of being a part of different
alliances, these two countries have always found themselves to be on
the opposite sides. Pakistan and India have historically suffered from a
security dilemma regarding each other’s military strength. That can be
related to the alliance-formation of these states in time of need due to
their dependence on developed countries. For example, Pakistan allied
with the U.S. during and after the Cold War; while India, despite
declaring itself as part of the Non-Aligned Movement, was being
assisted by the former Soviet Union, especially in the military sector. On
the regional level, the relations between Pakistan and India directly
have an impact on regional security and stability; this relationship is
considered to be one of the most important ones in the world. The
world views the relationship between the two countries of a highly
volatile nature, mainly because of the traumatic ideological and
political history shared by the two. This shared history between
Pakistan and India comes with a baggage. The legacy of unjust partition
resulted in territorial disputes and constant state of insecurity and
tension on borders. The conflicts between the two countries have
weighed down on the future of the two countries. Both states’ inability
to solve these conflicts has raised much concern, not only within these
two countries but in the world as well.
One of the most important points of
concern between the two countries is Kashmir. Kashmir has been and
still is a constant source of tension and a potential recipe of disaster
between the two countries. That is why many have termed it as a
“nuclear flashpoint”; just waiting to go off.
Since the inception of the two countries,
there has been a huge third party interference. At times, this
interference was for the sake of maintaining peace and stability in the
region, while at the others it was not. Whereas some of the observers
in both countries have referred to this third party interference as
meddling, while others see it as a way of moving the dialogue process
forward. These international actors like the United States have time
and again helped propel the dialogue process forward and repeatedly
urged the two countries to reach a point of detente in their relations. It
should be noted that over the last decade or so, this third party
interference has decreased considerably. Much of it has to do with the
two countries’ resolve to solve the underlying disputes and also
because of the changing geo-strategic conditions of not only the region
but the world at large. These geo-political and geo-strategic
circumstances involve the decline of the stature and power of the
United States as the sole-super power in the world as well as the rise of
multi-polarity. Moreover, it should be noted that India has always
considered itself to be the regional hegemon of South Asia, whereas
Pakistan has always refused to accept India’s hegemony. This defiance
of Pakistan and its refusal to yield to India’s hegemony in the region
and its demand to be treated on the same level globally has never been
accepted by the Indian establishment and policy-makers. Hence, that
has led to regional disterbance and tensions. The third is the domestic
level. Domestic politics have deeply impacted relations between the
two countries. Domestically, the ultra-right and the hard-line factions in
both countries have maintained a constant pressure on the
governments of both sides and on occasion have forced the countries
to behave or adopt a certain policy which the governments in ordinary
circumstances might not have taken. This appeasement to the right
wing has been witnessed numerous times and has more times than not
resulted in stagnation of the peace and dialogue process. In recent
times, the 2002-2003 stand-off between Pakistan and India and the
Mumbai attacks of 2008 bear witness to this fact. These tensions not
only put a stop to the on-going peace process between the two
countries but also held off any advances that might have accrued if the
talks had continued. It would not be wrong to assume, perhaps, that
the reason that Pakistan and India have not been able to achieve a
breakthrough on a single core issue has been because of the internal
domestic pressures. Ideological polarization can be considered as one
of the factors which have impacted, rather severely, relations of the
Pakistan and India are neighbouring countries whose future
is entwined and dependent upon each other. It is up to the two
countries to find a way that leads to peace and prosperity of not only
the two countries but also of the region.
India-Pakistan diplomatic relations
Pakistan’s Track II diplomacy with India has failed to achieve a peaceful
solution for core disputes like Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen because,
for the resolution of these disputes, the two parties have never been
on the same page. All political parties in Pakistan believe in the
continuation of dialogue and peace process with India. India alone has
influenced Pakistan’s decision making more than any other country in
the world. Pakistan has viewed and formed its foreign policy with other
countries in order to countervail India. All of its policies like the defence
policy and the nuclear policy are linked to India. India was a factor even
in the initiation of Pakistans’ friendship with China.
Modi Govt Polices about India-Pak Relations
On the topic of Indian elections – based on the analysis and popularity
poll - it was speculated that it is likely that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
will form the next government in India. It was agreed that even if
Narendra Modi comes to power, the relations between India and
Pakistan will not worsen. In fact, it may pave the way to new doors of
economic prosperity to open between the two countries. If Narendra
Modi is able to accumulate power at the centre, he will be able to take
a firm stance in his foreign policy decisions vis-a-vis Pakistan. Inside
Pakistan, there needs to be a realisation of the fact that the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) is a mainstream political party, whereas the Rashtriya
Sevak Sangh, to which Modi belongs, is a fascist, militant organisation.
Pakistan should not be in any haste to conceive any prior notions
regarding the Indian elections, but should wait to view the policies of
the new government before forming its new policy.
India initiated its nuclear weapon programme in the South Asian region
early on in 1958, whereas Pakistan began its nuclear pursuit in 1972.
Pakistan and India both declared themselves nuclear weapons states in
1998. These nuclear tests helped Pakistan restore strategic balance in
the region. These nuclear tests also helped in the achievement of
deterrence in the region, which worked, somehow, during the Kargil
conflict as well as the 2002-2003 military stand-off. To enhance
confidence between the two countries, Pakistan and India released a
joint statement on the issue of nuclear Confidence Building Measures
(CBMs) in 2004. The process of nuclear CBMs between the two
countries is not new. This process was in place before the nuclear tests
of 1998. Similar confidence-building agreements were signed in 1999,
2004 and 2012. The following challenges to the deterrence stability
posed by India were mentioned:
i) India’s cold start doctrine of 2004 which aims at exploiting the
perceived gap below Pakistan’s nuclear threshold.
ii) Differentiated nuclear learning, doctrinal mismatch between
the two countries.
iii) The anti-ballistic missile system, India’s defence research and
development organisation as well as the growing conventional
asymmetry between Pakistan and India.
iv) Whereas India’s defence allocation budget is around 38.5
billion dollars, Pakistan’s defence budget allocation is just
around six billion dollars.
There has been a difference of approach on Pakistan and
India’s part on the concept of maintaining strategic stability in
South Asia. Pakistan’s approach on this issue has been to
promote over-arching concept of encompassing nuclear
restraint and conventional balance. India’s approach, on the
other hand, has been to explore new areas to introduce
restrains on the use of nuclear weapons and looking to reverse
the lowering of nuclear threshold based on seeking official
communication on nuclear doctrines and taking a morally high
position on global nuclear disarmament.
The people of Kashmir do not have high expectations with
regard to the upcoming elections in India and Kashmir. They
believe there will be no change in India’s policies. The dispute
of Kashmir will continue to pose a threat to the stability of
South Asia if it remains unresolved. The policy-makers in
Pakistan should take Article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan
as the guiding principle, as far as the policy on Kashmir is
concerned. A development in the form of a local Kashmiri
narrative on the dispute of Kashmir has been observed in the
past three or four years. A rapid increase in the number of
local Kashmiri youth involved in the dispute of Kashmir has
been seen since 2008. These highly educated youth have been
able to bring the dispute of Kashmir to the forefront in the
world media. A soft image of Kashmir needs to be developed.
Pakistan can help in this regard if credible people of the
country lend support to the dispute of Kashmir.
In order to avoid any future conflicts over the dispute of
Kashmir, Pakistan and India need to maintain their agreements
and comply with the rulings of the International Court of
Justice and the International Laws of Seas.
Major Points of India-Pak
1. Pakistan, while adhering to its traditional stance over the
dispute of Kashmir, should continue its demand for a peaceful
resolution of the Kashmir dispute under the UN resolution.
There is a need to convince India to achieve an early resolution
of Kashmir through political and diplomatic means which is
acceptable to all stake-holders.
2. Pakistan and India should both reduce the heavy baggage of
conflict and territorial disputes by enhancing bilateral
cooperation in all possible fields.
3. Bilateral trade between the two countries can prove to be an
effective tool in order to increase mutual dependency for
sustainable and stable bilateral relations.
4. Pakistan and India can work together to achieve economic
benefits from the Central Asian markets as well. By utilizing
Pakistan’s strategic location and India’s influence in that region,
both countries will be able to achieve economic prosperity.
5. The resolution of core disputes like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir
Creek will not only strengthen peace between the two
countries but will also help reduce the existing level of distrust.
6. India should respect human rights inside Kashmir, and
Pakistan needs to effectively highlight the cruel laws currently
being enforced in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir. Indian policies
in the region need to change.
7. The two countries can work together and build a road-map
based on non-kinetic means to combat extremism.
8. The best guarantee to establish peace between Pakistan and
India is if both countries invest in joint infrastructural projects
in the energy and other sectors. This way, both will have a
stake in the other’s stability and would further propel them to
adopt a peaceful posture in their policies regarding each other.
9. There is a dire need to establish nuclear transparency in
order to establish trust between the two countries.
10. All stake-holders in Pakistan need to be on the same page
as far as relations and the peace process with India is
11. Pakistan needs to internally educate and prepare its nation
on core disputes with India.
12. There is a need to establish conflict-resolution mechanisms
against any future destabilizing incident.
13. A structured coherent and consistent dialogue should
explore the fields of cooperation at the bilateral and regional
14. Frequent bilateral visits of parliamentarians from both
sides can be a good way to improve bilateral relations. The
positive role of peace lobbies and the media can help
strengthen these relations.
15. In order to avoid future conflicts on the issue of water,
justified distribution of water under all agreed points between
Pakistan and India with compliance to the International Court
of Justice and International law of Seas is required between the
16. There is a need to establish demilitarization zones between
the two countries. Moreover, a bilateral agreement on non-
deployment of the anti-ballistic missiles is also required.
17. Pakistan needs to utilize the opportunities that will emerge
out of the changing regional scenario as the United States is
drawing down its military presence in Afghanistan. Pakistan
needs to overview its policy options as it is pertinent that the
country uses these opportunities to its best advantage.
Pakistan’s relationship with India is one of the most significant
relationships in the world. This relationship has been topsy-
turvy since the creation of both the countries. No other country
in the world has influenced Pakistan’s internal and external
policies more than India. There is a dire need for both countries
to engage in dialogue and discussion with each other if they
want to attain peace and prosperity in the region. Even after
more than six and a half decades, Kashmir continues to remain
the core dispute between the two countries. Pakistan and India
need to maintain transparency in their policies with each other
in order to bridge the gap of distrust and hostility and to
maintain regional peace and trust-worthy bilateral relations.
There is a need to hold constant dialogue and debate on the
basis of equality between the two countries to not only
maintain regional stability, but also for peace and prosperity of
both the countries.