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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS :  The age of minimalism in India-Pakistan ties

Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims:Current events of international importance(India-Pakistan relations, LOC, SAARC etc
  • Mains GS Paper II:Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India and affecting India’s interests, India and its neighborhood-relations



  • India-Pakistan relations are minimal and have very little bilateral contact.
    • Though cold peace exists:
      • On the Line of Control
      • Inside Kashmir
      • In the verbal exchanges between the two sides.




India-Pakistan Relations:

  • With the partition of British India, two separate nations, India and Pakistan were formed.
  • Since the very beginning, the immediate violent partition, wars, terrorist attacks and various territorial disputes overshadowed the connection.


Areas of contention:


Areas of Cooperation:


Initial steps by Present government towards India-Pakistan relations:

  • Invitation to Pakistan PM in 2014
  • Meetings between the two National Security Advisers (NSA) in 2015


Pakistan’s responses:

  • Attack on Pathankot airbase
  • Uri attack
  • Pulwama attack


India’s responses:

  • Surgical strike
  • Reduced trade relations to minimal


Reasons for present India-Pakistan relations:

  • Conflict: Failed attempts at conflict resolution
  • Political inabilityto resolve conflicts due to the dual power center in Pakistan
  • Lack of political willon either side
  • Traditional logic in India: It should first settle its conflicts with Pakistan and then move on to addressing the bigger challenges.
    • As none of the key bilateral conflicts has been resolved since the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.
  • Confidence in India that it does not need to talk to Pakistan to ensure peace inside Kashmir.
  • Preoccupied with other geopolitical challenges: Pakistan with the Taliban-led Afghanistan and India with an aggressive China on its borders.


Features of minimalism India-Pakistan relations:

  • Clinical approach: Discuss and deal with only those issues that need urgent attention.
  • Focus on conflict management: Little focus on conflict resolution.
    • Example: Kashmiris discussed in the context of the modalities for sustaining the ceasefire agreement not the historical political conflict over Kashmir.
  • Useful platform for clarifying red lines: Management of expectations and achieving limited but clear outcomes.
    • The 2021 ceasefire agreementis one such outcome.



Way Forward

  • Direct contact with Army establishment: It has not only corrected the structural problem in India-Pakistan relations but also appears that the Pakistan Army takes this direct approach more seriously.
  • Strategy of minimalist engagement with the Pakistani deep state: It is unlikely to be able to tackle the larger substantive political questions and may run into challenges over time or its tactical utility might eventually be exhausted




  1. Increasing crossborder terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several memberstates by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Associationfor Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples.(UPSC 2016)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)