Major Irritants in Indo-Pak Relations:
(a) Refugees-sent after the partition.
(b) Distribution of assets and properties at the time of partition.
(c) Sharing of river water from tributaries of Indus.
(d) Status of Kashmir.
(e) Border disputes-stand on LOC (Line of Control).
(f) Infiltration by Pakistani insurgents.
(g) Pakistan’s aggressive posture; evident in attaining membership of SEATO, CENTO nuclear programmes, military strength, and activities of ISI etc.
(h) Pakistan’s close proximity to China and surrender of a large tract of Indian Territory under its occupation.
(i) Pakistan’s scepticism with India’s stance during the revolt of East Pakistan and creation of independent state of Bangladesh. On the contrary India’s intervention became a necessity to deal with large influx of refugees.
(j) Islamic state, political instability and dominant military have contributed in building anti-India posture in the minds of people.
(k) Extending support to separatist and terrorist elements to cause severe deadlocks and instability in India.
Major Instances of Conflict:
2. 1965 war
3. 1971 war
4. 1998 Kargil war
Steps Taken to Lessen Tensions:
i. 1966—Tashkant Agreement-to normalize the relations between India and Pak, return the property captured in the war etc.
ii. 1972—Shimla Agreement-showed faith in the principles of peaceful co-existence and noninterference, settlement of disputes through negotiations.
But Soviet’s intervention in Afghanistan and U.S. strategic involvement with irritant Pakistan created new hindrance in Indo-Pak relations.
iii. 1983—Setting up of a Joint Commission to increase co-operation in the realm of economy, culture, information and alike.
But, acquisition of Harpoone missiles, India’s insistence on restoration of Democracy in Pakistan, and Pakistan’s help to Sikh secessionists in Punjab hindered the prospects for peace.
iv. 1985-86 six meetings between Rajeev Gandhi and General Zia led to some slackening of tensions.
But, suddenly by the end of 1986, the two countries increasingly became suspicious of each other, Rajeev Gandhi postponed his Pakistan trip, Pakistan started supporting terrorists in Punjab.
v. 1988 Benazir Bhutto promised to abide by the Shimla Agreement and showed accommodative posture. The two countries agreed to share a number to information about nuclear energy production, fight terrorists, smugglers and drug traffickers.
From 1990 onwards, Pakistan has taken aggressive stance on Kashmir that greatly hampered the prospects for normalization of relations between the two countries.
Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit and Lahore Declaration (1999) marked a landmark in history of the two countries. The grounds for it were prepared earlier in constant secretary level talks between two countries in spite of terrorism sponsored by ISI.
Soon the prospects of talks became nil due to Pakistan’s misadventure in Kargil sector of Kashmir. President Clinton condemned it for settling issues at the cost of human lives. Even though Pakistani insurgents and army men were routed in Kargil, it continued to help militant activity in Kashmir.
After the bloodless coup in Pakistan, Pakistan leadership intensified efforts for talks. But India, took concrete steps only in 2001.
Red Fort attack, attack on Srinagar airport hampered its momentum. Agra Summit failed because of Pakistan’s insistence of Kashmir as core issue between the two countries. India, on the other hand wanted its neighbour to stop aiding terrorists.
Furious of failures, terrorists attacked Indian Parliament and Srinagar Assembly and continued to do so in spite of mounting human costs.
Overview of Indo-Pak Relations:
A brief history of thaw in Indo-Pak relationship has occasionally seen close promoximity where prospects for peace seemed to be a reality.
But, today the people of two nations are so disenchanted with the failure of the leadership, military establishments and conservative sections that they have taken upon themselves the task to mend fences.
The continuous people to people contact through bus/rail travels etc may be helpful but only if the strong elements in state machinery show restraints and commitment to peace as a value.
For the time to come following issues will shape Indo-Pak relations
1. Insurgency in Kashmir backed by ISI.
2. Economic contacts, SAFTA, gas pipeline from Iran etc.
3. Growing stature of India in the region as well as world.
4. Military manoeuvres and arms race.
5. Rising popularity of conservative section in Pakistan political circles as evident in last election.
Though Pakistan seems to break all roads to peace in the last 60 years, India cannot hope to benefit the least from being accommodative. It needs to shed complacency of not being decisive at crucial moments. It can do so only by maneuvering economic, military and political strengths in international arena.
Kashmir Issue in Indo-Pak Relation:
Jammu and Kashmir in the northernmost territory of Indian Union was under the control of Maharaja Hari Singh at the time of independence. The delay caused by Maharaja to take a firm stand on the status of Kashmir provided opportunity to Pakistan to attack it, on 15 October, 1947.
Soon afterward the Maharaja signed the instrument of accession in favour of India, on 26 October, 1947. It was later ratified by the legislature of the State and J and K became a part of Indian Union.
But, Pakistan has never accepted Kashmir to be the part of India and promoted insurgency backed by its military and ISI. This issue has been one of the main causes of confrontation between two states even though the accession of the state was fully in line with provision of Government of India Act 1947 that provided for organization of the Indian Union.
UN Commission on India and Pakistan:
Soon after reference of Kashmir question to the Security Council of U.N. by India, a commission named UNCIP was appointed which recommended among other things, a plebiscite in Kashmir. But, it was a failure which it accepted in its final report.
Later on there were Mc Nanghton plan, Dixon Proposal (1954) and Graham Mission to solve the issue but they also failed and efforts were made at Bilateral Negotiations.
Signed between Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Z.A. Bhutto in 1972 it showed commitment in resolving conflict and confrontation that had hitherto marred their relations and work for promotion of friendly and harmonious relations
India’s success was noteworthy, for it was able to acquire control over some strategic positions like Kargil.