The relationship between India and Pakistan has been in the global spotlight for many decades now. It is highly characterized by constant interstate confrontations, war, and numerous crises. Ever since the late 1940s, the Indo-Pakistan relations have been in a state of cold war and over the years the conflict has escalated and taken the form of widespread armed clashes as well as nuclear war (Lyon ix). The dominant aim in the official Indo-Pakistan relations has been the search for lasting peace between the two countries (Lyon ix).
However, despite many numerous efforts by the international community to intervene in the situation, the warfare between the two countries has continued to widen in scope, technological inputs as well as the extent of destructiveness (Lyon xi). In 2001-2002, the two countries clashed when India mobilized its troops on the international border consequently provoking a Pakistani response which led to a ten month confrontation between the two countries.
The relationship between the two countries was highly influenced by border conflicts as well as internal violence due to communalism, caste, and class conflict insurgencies which tended to overflow beyond the internal boundaries consequently resulting in interstate conflicts (Lyons xii).
In addition, the economic relations between the two countries was characterized by conflict on division of the assets which served to intensify the conflict in the region and despite the fact that India embarked on significant liberalization of its economies and sought to widen its trade and investment in the subsequent years, the two countries still clash at issues regarding assets allocation and other economic disagreements (Lyons xii).
In our attempt to understand the underlying factors that influence the relationship between India and Pakistan, we will analyze the major conflicts that have taken place in the region by focusing on three fundamental questions as outlined in the table below.
Right HypothesisWrong HypothesisData:
Question 1: Can the conflict between India and Pakistan be solely attributed to the dispute over Kashmir?Yes.
“Kashmir is the most prominent and enduring flashpoint between India and Pakistan; the source of two wars and numerous skirmishes between the two countries” (Rafi 118).
“The dominant explanation of regional conflict held by Pakistani’s strategic community is that from the day of independence, there has been a concerted Indian attempt to crash their state…Indians claim that Pakistan needs the India threat to maintain its own unity”(Cohen 204).
Ayoob argues that the countries use Kashmir problem to cover for their own internal inadequacies.
Is the intervention by external bodies effective in promoting the peace process between the two countries?
“In 1949, the conflict between the two countries was ended with both countries agreeing to a United Nations brokered ceasefire…in 1965, a war that had broke out in the region over Kashmir ended in a stalemate prompting the Soviet union to a face saving cease fire (Rafi 120)
“The dispute has not been resolved because of at least three factors…The US and the Soviet Union views the dispute as an inherent systemic East-West struggle, both states continue to pursue inflexible strategies, and the Kashmiris while patently victims have not been reluctant to exploit the situation (Cohen 220)
Haq outlines the dedication by the Pakistan’s government towards the peace process.
Question 3: Are the two countries headed for a resolution or permanent hostility?Yes.
“If the two countries addressed the internal issues facing their respective countries and utilized regional trade as a means of promoting good relationships between the two countries, then the two countries can reach an amicable solution” (Rafi 136).
Regional peace now seems improbable given the difficulty of arriving at political acceptance in both countries at the same time (Cohen 223)
Gupta identifies policy issues as a contributing factor that hinders the efforts of the peace process.