Indo-Pakistan relations


India Pakistan boundary is the result of partition in 1947 under the Radcliffe award. It starts from the marshy Rann of Kutch in Gujarat traverses through the sandy deserts of Rajasthan, fertile plains of Punjab and the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir upto the Karakoram range.

The unnatural boundary created has led to many disputes.

Kashmir dispute:


By the terms agreed to by India and Pakistan for the partition of the Indian subcontinent, the rulers of princely states including Jammu and Kashmir were given the right to opt for either Pakistan or India.

Hari Singh, the maharaja of Kashmir, caught up in a train of events that included a revolution among his Muslim subjects along the western borders of the state and the intervention of Pashtun tribesmen.

He signed an Instrument of Accession to the Indian union in October 1947.

This led to intervention both by Pakistan, which considered the state to be a natural extension of Pakistan, and by India, which intended to confirm the act of accession.

Three Wars and a Line of Control

Three major and bloody wars have been fought by the two countries over Kashmir since 1947.

The Indo-Pakistan War of 1947 resulted from Maharaja Hari Singh’s execution of the Instrument of Accession. The war ended in December 1948 by which time the Line of Control (LOC) was established to demarcate the administrative segments of Kashmir. The international boundary dispute was still left pending.

The war of 1965 ended after bleeding the two countries. Thousands of lives had been lost and the intervention of USA and erstwhile USSR had become necessary. India recorded a victory but the damages to both nations.

Later, in 1999, the Kargil War reopened raw wounds. Pakistani troops infiltrated the Kargil district across the LOC and assisted insurgents in the area. India retaliated and the war that ensued. The Indian army reclaimed the Tiger Hills and other strategic peaks in the Batalik.

Siachen clashes

Origin of Siachen dispute lies in the fact that both the Karachi Agreement of 1949 and the Shimla Agreement of 1972 have left the status of Indo-Pak boundary vague North of Pt NJ 9842. While the Karachi Agreement says “From Pt NJ 9842, the ceasefire line will run Northwards to the Glaciers”, Shimla Agreement does not even make a mention of it.

Pakistan point of view:

  • If the alignment of Line of control just prior to NJ 9842 is extended, it will run in a North Easterly direction to Karakoram Pass.

India has altered the status of line of control by its occupation of Saltoro Ridge.

Indian point of view:

  • Since the alignment of Line of Control just prior to NJ 9842 was altered by Pak by its occupation of Gyong Glacier in 1984, Pak argument of Line of control extending North Eastwards to Karakoram Pass is not tenable.
  • Since the Line of Control does not extend beyond NJ 9842, Pak argument that India has altered the status of Line of Control by occupation of Saltoro Ridge is not valid either.

India and Pakistan announced in feb-2021 that their armed forces would cease firing across their shared border, the first such step since 2003 and a potentially significant move toward reducing tensions between the two rivals.

2003 ceasefire is an unwritten agreement which brought peace along the LOC for almost 3 years till 2006.

Events leading to Ceasefire:

  1. Pakistan Army Chie in Feb-2021 calls for Peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue.
  2. Pakistan supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five proposals for collaboration at the South Asian level on containing COVID-19.
  3. In comparison to the airspace denial that both countries had imposed on each other during and in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror strike, India this week allowed the aircraft carrying Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan a clear passage to Sri Lanka.

Possible reasons for the ceasefire now:

  1. India wanted to buy time so it could fast-track its plans to change the demography of Kashmir and at some point make the issue a closed chapter.
  2. India had realised it was stuck in Kashmir after its August 5, 2019 decision to scrap Article 370 and therefore needed to tone down its belligerence in order to find a way out by engaging with Pakistan via some quid pro quo.
  3. Due to border clashes with China there are two fronts which India will be fighting. To prevent dual front clashes having to face both China and India at the same time.
  4. Pakistan’s economy is weakening and it needed its resource to be spent on spurring the economy.

India can use the ceasefire to beef up its security grid, strengthen its bunkers, and fix some of the gaps in the fence straddling of the LoC. And while doing this, it can also earn some brownie points from the international community.

It signals the flip-flop approach that has forever dogged India’s Pakistan policy. The Pakistanis are convinced that India just doesn’t have the staying power to maintain a hostile posture for any length of time, and sooner rather than later, Pakistan will be able to get India on the dialogue table.

Non-state actors, hereafter NSAs, rightly view bilateral peace in the subcontinent as an existential threat, detrimental to their survival. Consequently, they have time and again demonstrated their unalloyed goal of violating the peace process as a cynical tactic to sustain and thereby achieve their political goals.

Kargil was a glaring example of the audacious use of NSAs to further state policy, albeit to a ludicrous end. Both Pakistani troops and insurgents were fighting alongside each other as brother soldiers against a common enemy i.e. India.


Mumbai attacks drew international attention to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which till then was considered merely a regional terror outfit with interests primarily in J&K.

LeT, with its strong base in Pakistan, is one of the most formidable NSAs, with both the ability and capability to mount an attack anywhere in the hinterland of India. Any attack by LeT in India is understood by India as an attack by Pakistan.


The appearance of Ansar-ut-Tawheed fi bilad al-Hind (AuT) on the jihadi landscape indicates a growing interest in enticing India’s Muslim population to carry out jihad in India.

The main goal of AuT is to develop a transnational network of jihadist and redirect their focus toward India.

With access to larger resources, knowledge of local geography, and the help of IM members in Pakistan, AuT has the capacity to stage lethal strikes in India.

Such attacks would be seen by India as attacks supported by the Pakistani state, as AuT members share a long history of association with ISI.

Pakistan’s blind eye towards NSA:

Though Pakistan joined the global war on terror, yet its approach toward targeting terror groups has been faulty and selective.

India-centric terrorist outfits were conveniently overlooked as they did not apparently pose a direct threat to the United States and other Western allies.

With numerous attacks on Pakistani military installations, their actions are not only damaging to India but also detrimental to Pakistan’s national interests.

Steps Pakistan must take:

Islamabad needs to realize that its continued tolerance of these NSAs as anti-India proxies is prohibitively costly. Pakistan has in the past tried to rein in these actors but its efforts were cosmetic.

The idea of reining in these groups by restricting their activities has failed miserably. Pakistan needs to devise a solution to this anathema by completely removing, rather than reining in, these threats.

The key to Pakistani’s success in eliminating NSAs lies in its will to completely divest itself of its terror protégés.

Global peace cannot be held ransom by these sinister NSAs. Their potential to stoke a conflict is in itself a challenge to the legitimate states and their sovereign authority.


Since any future attack on Indian military targets by a Pakistan-based insurgent group could invite more surgical strikes and thereby possibly trigger a full-blown armed conflict, Pakistan needs to collaborate with India in denying operational space to these NSAs.

Pakistan can show its commitment to regional peace by uprooting these NSAs, who very often have challenged the legitimate sovereign authority of the Pakistani state.

Indus Water Treaty

Indus Waters Treaty details: 

The Indus Waters Treaty is often hailed as a nearly impossible feat that was achieved under the arbitration of the World Bank in 1960. India-Pakistan cooperation over this vital resource was a watershed moment in global hydro-diplomacy.

The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank, to use the water available in the Indus River and its tributaries.

The Treaty gives control over the waters of the three “eastern rivers” — the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej with a mean annual flow of 33 million acre-feet (MAF) — to India, while control over the waters of the three “western rivers” — the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum with a mean annual flow of 80 MAF — to Pakistan.

India has about 20% of the total water carried by the Indus system while Pakistan has 80%.

A Look Back at What Worked

Some researchers attribute the breakthrough to the requirements of the time. Pakistan and India needed financial support from the World Bank to expand their irrigated areas and create infrastructure for water storage and transport.

Another reason working in favor of this cooperation is the fact that both countries were “water rational.” They had realized that cooperation was a prerequisite for safeguarding their country’s long-term access to the shared resource.

By keeping to the IWT, India could leverage its position as a responsible upstream riparian when it engages with China over water issue. India will definitely be at a loss if China proposes to obstruct or divert the flow of water in the Indus basin.

The IWT allows India to build a dam to generate hydroelectricity. It also allows for irrigation on a small scale – up to 700,000 acres in total, spread among the Inuds, Jhelun, and Chenab Rivers.

The Parliamentary Committee recently observed that although the Indus Water Treaty has stood the test of time, it “was framed on the basis of knowledge and technology existing at the time of its agreement in the 1960s” when the perspective of both the nations at that time was confined to river management and usage of water through the construction of dams, barrages, canals and hydro-power generation.

Does the treaty favour Pakistan?

  • Pakistan gets 80% of the water in the 6-river Indus system. This is 90 times greater volume of water than Mexico’s share under a 1944 pact with the US.
  • It is Asia’s only treaty with specific water-sharing formulas on cross-border flows.
  • A virtual line on the Indian map splits the Indus basin.
  • India’s sovereignty lies in the lower rivers, Pakistan’s in the upper.
  • Only water pact compelling an upper riparian state to defer to the interests of a downstream state.

Have there been disputes over the treaty?

Yes. In 2010, Islamabad began international arbitration over India’s 330MW hydro project on Kishenganga. In 2011, India was ordered to suspend work. In 2013, India was allowed to resume work under tough terms.

How does it impact Jammu & Kashmir?

  • In 2011, J&K government hired a consultant to assess its economic loss because of treaty.
  • It was estimated to be in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Why rethink on treaty could have consequences?

  • Expect international condemnation.
  • Turning tap off could mean flooding our cities.
  • It can make neighbours like Bangladesh, the countries with which India has water sharing arrangements, uneasy.