India’s Relations with Pakistan - The Terrorist Hotspot

Post-independence relations between India and Pakistan are geopolitical historical, and ideological dependent on each other. Let’s find out how things have unfurled over the last 75 years.
India’s Relations with Pakistan - The Terrorist Hotspot

The emergence of independent India and Pakistan in 1947 after partitioning British India was a defining moment. Although the geographical division was meant to give Muslims in Pakistan a homeland, mass migration, violence and displacement of the majority of millions of people caused entrenched hatred. The lingering issues regarding the distribution of assets, the legal status of princely states and the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir provided a platform for strained relationships.

The dispute over the Kashmir region remains one of India-Pakistan’s most intractable issues. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which was majority Muslim but ruled by a Hindu became the epicentre for conflict. The first conflict between the two countries took place in 1947-48 and led to the dividing of Kashmir under which Pakistan captured a part, while India retained that left. Later conflicts occurring in 1965 and 1971 escalated the situation leaving Kashmir unresolved as a conflict source.

Show of Military Might

Over the years, numerous armed conflicts have stained India-Pakistan relations; though a number of other skirmishes that followed did little to dampen ties between these two nations. In particular, the 1971 war resulted in Bangladesh as well as a deepened rivalry. In the face of conflicts, there were many diplomatic initiatives by both parties to consolidate the relationship. The Shimla Agreement of 1972 which came after the war in 197; was meant to resolve post-war problems and ensure cordial coexistence between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, the underlying disputes and historical grudges still lay dormant below.

The late 20th century nuclearization of India and Pakistan, added another facet to their affairs. In 1998, they both engaged in nuclear tests owing to their membership in the Nuclear Club. The development of nuclear capabilities in both India and Pakistan added an option for mutual deterrence, hence preventing huge conventional conflicts although this also came with worries about the possibility to wage a nuclear war. The development of nuclear arsenals has influenced the strategic calculus of both states and created a new level within their diplomatic interactions.

India-Pakistan relations have also had cross-border terrorism and proxy wars as a constant theme. India has always claimed that Pakistan supports and shelters terror groups that operate against Indian interests. The attacks in Mumbai carried out by militants said to have links with Pakistan increased tensions and hampered diplomatic efforts. The use of non-state actors as proxies has furthered the efforts made in building trust and resulted in periodic breakdowns of bilateral dialogue.

Diplomatic Ventures of the 21st Century

In the 21st century, diplomacy has been used by both India and Pakistan for improving relations between these nations. Missed opportunities and unresolved issues are resolved through confidence-building measures, track-II dialogues, and backchannel negotiations. The composite dialogue process that was launched in the early 200s sought to address various aspects of this relationship, including Kashmir, trade and people-to-people contacts. Unfortunately, these moves have been stymied by periodic flare-ups including the attack at Uri in 2016 and Pulwama in 2019 that culminated in military confrontations worsening relations.

The regional dynamics between India and Pakistan have also helped to influence their relationship. The presence of outside forces such as Americans, Chinese and Russians has altered the strategic dynamics between both countries. Various international mediation efforts, for instance those mediated by the United Nations have aimed at enabling dialogue and resolving some of any remaining issues. But in most cases, the underlying complexities of these disputes and the long-standing historical enmity have robbed outside intervention from bearing much lasting fruit.

Although political and security concerns have taken precedence over the India-Pakistan relationship for a long time, economic cooperation and trade offer much promising potential However, initiatives such as the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) aimed at increasing economic engagement have been hampered by political conflict and security issues. The general political context has overshadowed the possible advantages of enhanced economic integration including better livelihoods and regional stability.


The relations between the two countries –India and Pakistan since their independence are a mix of historical burdens, territorial problems as well as geopolitical interests. Notwithstanding periodic efforts at reconciliation and diplomatic overtures, the unaddressed issues primarily in reference to Kashmir loom like a dark shadow on this relationship. The two countries have nuclearized and the threat of cross-border terrorism adds more to the complexities in pursuit of sustainable peace.

The only road ahead depends on long-term diplomatic efforts, a willingness to address underlying issues and an acknowledgement of the common past that unites both countries. International support for positive dialogue and confidence-building measures is still essential. The search for a relationship that is stable and cooperative will be based on whether these two countries can overcome historical animosity towards one another, which builds people to have an optimistic outlook about the future of South Asia.