A Quick Overview of Indo – Pakistanian Relations

This is a short overview of the relation between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947.

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After the British Indian Empire gained Independence from Britain in August 1947, the country was partitioned into two separate nations, the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Each of the 680 princely states was permitted to decide which of the countries they wanted to join. With a few exceptions, most of the Muslim majority states became part of Pakistan, while the Hindu majority states joined the Union of India. Following the partition, one of the biggest migrations in world history so far happened. About 7.2 million Muslims migrated from India to West Pakistan, while about 7.3 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from the areas of modern day Pakistan to India. In the following riots about half a million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were killed and many more became homeless. The split of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal into two parts still divides some families and communities today. To show the real extent of the migration: when Pakistan was founded, it had a Hindu minority of almost 20%, while today only between 1 and 2% of the Pakistani population are Hindus. Many suspect that this is due to the ongoing discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan.

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Following the partition, there were many conflicts between Pakistan and India. The Junagadh dispute, the first one of many, happened while the two countries were still partitioned in 1947. The province of Junagadh had a Hindu majority of 80%. However, the ruler of the province was a Muslim and he therefore decided for his state to join Pakistan. India didn’t accept his decision. They argued that the majority of the population wanted to be part of India. In response, India cut off any kind of supplies and sent troops to their bordering provinces. The Muslim governor and his family, frightened by the presence of the Indian army, flew to Pakistan. Eventually, Junagadh’s court, facing collapse, invited the Indian army to intervene and accelerated to the Union of India. The government of India rejected all of Pakistan’s protests.

In the same year, the first of many following wars and disputes over the province of Kashmir began. The Maharaja, the governor of Kashmir, decided that it should become its own sovereign and neutral state since it’s main source of income was tourism and this would allow visitors from all countries easier travels. Pakistan accepted their decision, India, however, rejected. Following an invasion by armed Pakistani tribesmen as well as several riots, the Maharaja asked for India’s support and in return eventually acceded to India. India’s army then took over and fought a war with Pakistan over Kashmir up to the 1 of January 1949, when both nations agreed on a ceasefire organized by the United Nations.

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However, already 16 years later the 2nd Indo-Pakistani war broke out, after the government of Pakistan launched an offense crossing the ceasefire line into India’s Jammu and Kashmir in August 1965. In early September India retaliated by crossing the international border near Lahore. After three weeks, India and Pakistan eventually agreed to a ceasefire organized by the United Nations. The following January they also signed a declaration affirming their commitment to solve their disputes by peaceful means.

6 years later, in 1971, Bangladesh, former called East Pakistan, gained independence from Pakistan after massive riots and the eventual invasion of the India army, which supported the uprising. The Pakistani army surrendered at Dhaka and India took 90,000 prisoners of war. Only three years later, in 1974, Pakistan finally recognized Bangladesh’s independence.

In 1987, as a result of their loss in the elections of Indian-controlled Kashmir, many Muslim parties evolved into militant wings. The radical Islamic Jihadi, who had been fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, now also supported these movements. India kept blaming Pakistan for training and supplying weapons and called for them to cease “cross-border terrorism”.

IPWWW3In 1999, another conflict broke loose after India launched Air attacks against Pakistani-backed forces that infiltrated Indian Kashmir. According to the Red Cross, 30,000 people on the Pakistani side and 20,000 on the Indian were forced to flee their homes and become refugees. Eventually, under the pressure of the United States, the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called upon the infiltrating forces to withdraw. As a response, however, General Pervez Musharraf led a military coup in Pakistan in October 1999. This was obviously highly rejected by the international community and eventually led to Pakistan’s suspension from the commonwealth.

In the present, the relationship between Pakistan and India remain pretty much the same. Leaders from both countries keep pledging for friendship, for instance, this August, Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, transmitted a friendly message to India via television: “Let us make a new beginning. Let us sit together to resolve all outstanding issues in a friendly manner and in a peaceful atmosphere.” However, the tension between the countries remains the same. For instance, on August 6, there was a shooting of 6 Indian soldiers along the border in Kashmir. Furthermore, soldiers from both sides violate the ceasefire quiet often, for example, just from the 10th to the 13th of August, Pakistan violated the ceasefire eight times. Additionally, non-governing parties in both nations still call for revenge. This picture shows Student activists of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party burn Pakistani flags during a protest in Ahmadabad, Aug. 8, 2013.

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Sources to investigate further:

BBC – The Hidden Story of Partition and its Legacies

BBC – Pakistani – Indian Relationship – Timeline

Times of India – India – Pakistan Relations

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