India-Pakistan Relations

India-Pakistan Relations

This article deals with ‘India-Pakistan Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Brief History

Common history Pakistan was part of India before 1947 Pakistan was formed on the basis of Two Nation Theory  
J&K Conflict – Post independence => Issue of Accession of Kashmir => Pakistani Army under guise of Tribals attacked Kashmir => Resulted in creation of Pakistani Occupied Kashmir (PoK) & J&K
– Since then J&K remained the core issue between India & Pakistan   
Cross border Terrorism Most of the terrorist attacks that occur in India have their origin in Pakistan

India is victim of terrorism number of times
– 2001 : attack on Parliament
– 2008 : Mumbai attacks
– 2016 :  Pathankot Airbase  Attack
– 2016 : Uri attack on Military base
2019 : Pulwama Attack These  have impacted India’s relations with Pakistan  
Nuclear Issue – Till 1998 , both states had Nuclear Weapons
– Pakistan is making Tactical Weapons Pakistani Nuclear Button in hands of Pakistani Army => Any incident can result in Nuclear war  

Issue 1 : Indus Water Treaty

Indus Water treaty

  • Signed in 1960
  • Brokered by World Bank
  • Allocates the water in following manner
Eastern rivers Western rivers
1. Chenab
2. Jhelum
3. Indus
This water belongs to India exclusively. This water belongs to Pakistan. However, India can make limited use and build run of the river hydro Projects  but can’t divert waters

It is said to be the most successful water treaty in the world as it has survived various India-Pakistan wars 

Should India (unilaterally)  Review Indus Water Treaty

Why in news

  • Pakistan stoping India to make projects like Kishanganga HEP taking India to International Court of Arbitration on minor grounds
  • Pakistan sponsoring attacks on India => Blood and Water cant flow together

Yes , India should review

  • In 1960 , India gave most genuine  deal to lower riparian state with hope that Pakistan will ensure peace => Pakistan didn’t keep its end of bargain
  • Kashmir has been suffering because they cant utilise three rivers ie Indus , Jhelum and Chenab. Even Kashmir Assembly has passed Resolution to revoke the Indus Treaty twice
  • Given the climate change and  melting of the glaciers ,  review of treaty is must .

Other points to keep in mind

  • It can worsen India’s terror problems  => Pakistan use  Indian control over water to recruit terrorists & justify fight for Kashmir to have control on Indus . 
  • India is lower riparian state in case of many rivers like Satluj, Brahmaputra etc. China can stop water & India will not have moral high ground to oppose it
  • Indus Water Treaty was signed under guarantee of World Bank. => India needs funds from World Bank
  • It will help Pakistan to Internationalise Kashmir Issue
  • Legally, abrogating the treaty isn’t workable. There is no clause regarding one party unilaterally denouncing the treaty. Treaty can be modified only when both the countries ratify the modifications.

Issue 2 : Kashmir Issue

  • This is issue of three contesting nationalisms ie Indian, Pakistani & Kashmir. (Kashmiri people too want to make independent sovereign state of Kashmir)
  • After Independence (& division) , Tribals attacked   Kashmir and were able to control some part  now known as Pakistani Occupied Kashmir (PoK). At the same time, ruler of Kashmir signed Instrument of Accession with India .
  • JL Nehru under the influence of Mountbatten took the issue of J&K to UN for dispute resolution . It was decided in UN that two states would maintain the status quo ie Pakistani infiltrators which came to Kashmir would withdraw & then plebiscite  would take place . But for this , they should have withdrawn from PoK . Since they never withdrew, the issue of plebiscite which at that moment was agreed by India too doesn’t arise now
  • Later it became part of Cold war politics .  This issue was regularly supported by US because Pakistan was part of capitalist block & India stalled all such move with help of veto power of Russia.
  • In Shimla Agreement,1972 , it was decided that India & Pakistan would resolve this issue bilaterally & any third power wouldn’t be involved. 
  • After big wars ,  Pakistan came to conclusion that they cant snatch J&K forcefully from India. Hence, they started proxy war against india & weaponised & trained militants . This movement became  very powerful in 1990s
  • In 1990s & 2000s , people were also alienated from government because of alleged frauds in elections. 

Pakistan occupie 
Pakistan - 
mu & Kash 
India - Pakistan 
Aksai Chin 
China - India 
India Map - 
Disputed Areas

Issue 3 : Terrorism

  • Pre 1990 – Pakistan not ready to speak on anything except Kashmir
  • Post 1990 – India not ready to have dialogue on anything except Terrorism
  • Almost all Terror attacks in India originate from Pakistan
    • 2001 : Parliament Attack
    • 2008 : Attack in Mumbai
    • 2016 : Pathankot Airbase Attack 
    • 2016 : Uri Attack
    • 2019 : 44 CRPF Men killed in IED attack in Pulwama
  • Terrorist groups which attack India are active in Pakistan & terrorists are  trained on Pakistani soil  eg Jaish e Mohammad , Hizb ul Muzahidin etc

Why Pakistan is using Terrorism as tool

  • Realisation that Pakistan cant defeat India in conventional war.
  • Using Nuclear Bluff since world will not let two nuclear powered nations to go on war.
  • ISI and Pakistan Army’s approach of ‘Bleeding India by Thousand Cuts’

What should be India’s Response

  • Isolate Pakistan at international front
  • Use Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to blacklist Pakistan (Pakistan is already in Greylist) => Pakistan’s economy will suffer as no investment will come
  • Mossad Way : carry out covert operations inside Pakistan to kill  high-value human targets 
  • Pressurising China to stop giving unconditional support  given to Pakistan

Issue 4 : Siachin Glacier

India-Pakistan Relations

Importance of Siachen glacier :

  • Largest source of freshwater in Indian sub continent
  • Source of Nubra river : that feeds mighty Indus
  • Siachen is near Karakoram pass , forming almost a triangle with India , China & Pakistani Occupied Kashmir


  • Line of Control (LOC) in J&K is as per Shimla Agreement of 1972 but boundary line was specified only till NJ-9842  from where Siachen starts . Both countries claim Siachin belongs to it.
  • Matter was Non-Controversial till 1980s when India found out that Pakistan army was attempting to capture Siachen . Indian army launched Operation Meghdoot and Indian troops captured it
  • Now India controls the heights

Should Siachen be Demilitarised?

Yes India lost around thousand army personnel due to weather related casualties and Rs  7,500   crore  was  spent  on  military  operations in  the  last  4  years    

– At Siachen  glacier,   temperatures  dip  to  as low  as  –  45°  C,  is  world’s  highest &  toughest battle  field.   

Due to global warming, glaciers are becoming very unstable . As a result frequency of Avalanches has increased   

Demilitarization  would  increase  trust  and confidence  between  India  and  Pakistan.  
No Siachen  is  strategically  important  to  India  for number  of  reasons.
Saltoro  ridge  at  Siachen  overlooks entire region  and  provides advantage of height
– Control  of  area  prevents  Pakistani  and  Chinese troops  from  linking  up.
– Pakistan control over Siachin will make Leh  and  Kargil vulnerable

Way Forward : India can demilitarise the Siachin Glacier provided that present situation is recorded and Pakistam assures to maintain status quo .

Issue 5 : Sir Creek

Sir Creek is 96 km strip of water that is disputed between India & Pakistan  dividing Rann region of Gujarat & Sindh province of Pakistan

Indo-Pak Realtions

Red line : border claimed by India but disputed by Pakistan
Green line : border claimed by Pakistan but disputed by India 

  • Dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime  line between Pakistan  & India
    • Pakistan lays claim to the entire creek as per Sind Government Resolution of 1914 signed between  then Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch 
    • India sticks to its position that the boundary lies mid-channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925
  • India supports its stance by citing the Thalweg doctrine in  International law.  
  • Issue involves  losing a vast amount of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) rich with gas and mineral deposits 

Problems arising due to unresolved dispute

  • Maritime boundry isn’t properly demarcated => creates confusion  for fishermen =>  their boats cross boundaries &  end up being arrested by the other side.
  • Creates security problem as well.
    • Terrorists are frequently using this route to enter India
    • Even 2008 Mumbai Attackers used this route
  • Cartels (drugs & illegal weapons etc)  transact their business in the disputed waters, so that they are beyond the reach of both Indian and Pakistani agencies.

Way forward for resolution

Designating the non-delineated area ie Sir Creek and its approaches-as a zone of disengagement or a jointly administered maritime park. 

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