INDIA-PAKISTAN RELATIONS Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s demand for the creation of a separate country for the Muslims of British India was bitterly opposed by the leaders of the Indian National Congress When they finally accepted his demand for the partition of India along communal lines, they did not look kindly on Pakistan, the country that was established despite their efforts to preserve Indian unity India and Pakistan began their independent existence highly suspicious of each other The suspicion persists to this dayA number of developments soured the relationship between the two countries soon after they became independent Partition resulted in a massive exchange of population between the two countries: Muslims leaving India for Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs going in the other direction About 14 million people were involved in this exchange of population; 6 million left Pakistan, while 8 million arrived in the new country The considerable bloodshed that occurred during this exchange affected the relations between India and Pakistan In the fall of 1947, the government of India blocked payments to Pakistan from the joint sterling account that had been set up for the two countries by the departing British In 1948, India-Pakistan relations were complicated by the question of the accession of a number of princely states to the two countries
India encouraged Kashmir-a predominantly Muslim state ruled by a Hindu prince, the Maharaja of Kashmir-to join the Indian union Pakistan worked with the ruling elite of Hyderabad-a predominantly Hindu state ruled by a Muslim prince, the Nizam of Hyderabad-to become an independent country Kashmir shared boundaries with India and Pakistan; Hyderabad was a landlocked state in the south of India, more than 1,600 kilometers from Pakistan The geography of the two states ultimately dictated their political destiniesThe dispute over Hyderabad was resolved by a quick Indian military action undertaken in September 1948 while Pakistan was preoccupied with the situation created by the death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah But Kashmir turned out to be a more difficult problem India and Pakistan have fought three wars over it; one in 1947-1948 that led to the state’s division between Azad Kashmir occupied by Pakistan and the state of Jammu and Kashmir that became a part of India The ceasefire line supervised by the United Nations became the boundary between the two parts of the state Pakistan’s attempt in 1965 to gain the rest of the state resulted in an all-out war between the two countries that was fought between 6 and 23 September The result was inconclusive and led to the signing of a peace accord, the Tashkent Declaration, with the encouragement of the Soviet Union India and Pakistan fought their third war in 1971, but this time, although Kashmir once again was one of the battlegrounds, the immediate cause of the conflict was the civil war in East Pakistan
The Tashkent Declaration did not improve Pakistan’s relations with India There was a marked deterioration in 1971 when India, first covertly but then openly, sided with the secessionist forces operating in East Pakistan When civil war broke out in East Pakistan, India supported the Mukti Bahini (the Bengali freedom fighters) and then sent in its troops to defeat Pakistan’s forces in Bengal In December 1971, the Pakistani contingent surrendered to the Indians, and East Pakistan emerged as the independent state of BangladeshZulfikar Ali Bhutto, who succeeded General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan as Pakistan’s president after the war in Bangladesh, went to the Indian city of Simla in April 1972 to conclude yet another treaty of understanding The Simla Accord’s immediate consequence was the redefinition of the ceasefire line in Kashmir, renamed the Line of Control (LOC) It also resulted in sufficiently improved relations between the two countries for India to release 90,000 prisoners of war it had taken after the surrender of the Pakistani Army in East Bengal But basic suspicions persisted and were aggravated once again by the Indian explosion of a “nuclear device” in 1974 The explosion by India persuaded Bhutto to initiate Pakistan’s own nuclear program The program began in the mid-1970s, and by the late 1980s had made enough progress to concern both India and the United StatesIn the early 1990s, the citizens of Indian-occupied Kashmir openly rebelled against India
India responded by sending 500,000 troops to the state, and a bloody conflict ensued India accused Pakistan of training the dissident forces in Kashmir and providing them with sanctuaries on its side of the border The conflict in Kashmir took a heavy toll in terms of lives lost and damage to the economy of the state For six years, Indian Kashmir remained under the direct control of Delhi In 1996, the Congress Party government, led by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, decided to hold elections in the state The Kashmiris refused to participate in the elections Pakistan also opposed the Indian move, arguing that India was likely to use the elections to legitimize its hold over the stateThe Indian elections of February 1998 further complicated the relations between the two countries by introducing a new element, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) The elections resulted in the formation of a government led by the BJP, the party that won the largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament The BJP had taken a militant position against Pakistan in its election manifesto; it had argued for the open development of an Indian nuclear capability and its use against Pakistan if Pakistan continued to aid the Kashmiris in their struggle against India The induction of the BJP government in Delhi caused a great deal of anxiety in Islamabad, which increased immeasurably on 11 May 1998 when India announced the successful test of three nuclear devices in the Rajasthan desert close to the border with Pakistan
The fact that a few years earlier India had successfully test-fired long-range surface-tosurface missiles called Agni meant that it now had the capacity to hit Pakistan with nuclear weaponsRelations between the two countries continued to deteriorate as the insurgency in Indian-held Kashmir intensified On 13 December 2001, a group of Muslim insurgents penetrated the compound of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in an attempt to assassinate the country’s senior political leaders Twelve people were killed, including the five insurgents, but no members of parliament were killed or injured The BJP government accused Pakistan of having masterminded the attack and amassed more than a million troops on its side of the border Pakistan responded with its own mobilization, and it appeared that war was imminent between South Asia’s nuclear-armed neighbors. Intense diplomatic efforts by the West, led by the United States, ultimately defused the situation, and the countries gradually pulled their forces back from the border. In April 2003, BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee surprised Pakistan and the world by offering the hand of friendship to his neighbor. Pakistan’s response to the offer was quick and warm. Diplomatic relations, cut off after the attack on the Indian Parliament, were restored. In January 2004, Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Islamabad, Pakistan, to attend the 12th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. On 6January, India and Pakistan issued a joint statement pledging to solve all their outstanding problems through dialogue. In March 2004, Pakistan entertained and warmly received India’s cricket team. India received the Pakistani team in March 2005. On 15 April, President Pervez Musharraf traveled to Delhi to watch the final match of the Pakistani tour and held a summit meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had succeeded Vajpayee. Once again, the two sides pledged to work toward resolving their differences through dialogue. See also ADVANI, LAL KHRISHNA; HINDUTVA; HIZBUL MUJAHEDIN.