Relations between India and Pakistan have been complex and largely hostile due to a number of historical and political events. Relations between the two states have been defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947 which started the Kashmir conflict, and the numerous military conflicts fought between the two nations. Consequently, their relationship has been plagued by hostility and suspicion. Northern India and Pakistan somewhat overlap in certain demographics and shared lingua francas (mainly Punjabi, Sindhi, and Hindustani).
After the dissolution of the British Raj in 1947, two new sovereign nations were formed—the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The subsequent partition of the former British India displaced up to 12.5 million people, with estimates of loss of life varying from several hundred thousand to 1 million. India emerged as a secular nation with a Hindu majority population and a large Muslim minority, while Pakistan, with a Muslim majority population and a large Hindu minority, later became an Islamic Republic, although its constitution guaranteed freedom of religion to people of all faiths. It later lost most of its Hindu minority due to migration and the separation of East Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Soon after gaining their independence, India and Pakistan established diplomatic relations, but the violent partition and reciprocal territorial claims quickly overshadowed their relationship. Since their independence, the two countries have fought three major wars, as well as one undeclared war, and have been involved in numerous armed skirmishes and military standoffs. The Kashmir conflict is the main centre-point of all of these conflicts with the exception of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and the Bangladesh Liberation War, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
There have been numerous attempts to improve the relationship, notably the Shimla summit, the Agra summit, and the Lahore summit. Since the early 1980s, relations between the two nations have grown increasingly sour, particularly after the Siachen conflict, intensification of the Kashmir insurgency in 1989, Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998, and the 1999 Kargil War. Certain confidence-building measures, such as the 2003 ceasefire agreement and the Delhi–Lahore Bus service, have been successful in de-escalating tensions. However, these efforts have been impeded by periodic terrorist attacks. The 2001 Indian Parliament attack brought the two nations to the brink of a nuclear war. The 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, which killed 68 civilians (most of whom were Pakistani), was also a crucial turning point in relations. Additionally, the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistani militants resulted in a severe blow to the ongoing India–Pakistan peace talks.
After a brief thaw following the election of new governments in both nations, bilateral discussions again stalled after the 2016 Pathankot attack. In September 2016, a terrorist attack on an Indian military base in Indian-administered Kashmir killed 19 Indian Army soldiers, the deadliest such attack in years. India's claim that the attack had been orchestrated by a Pakistan-supported jihadist group was denied by Pakistan, which claimed the attack had been a local reaction to unrest in the region due to excessive force by Indian security personnel. The attack sparked a military confrontation across the Line of Control, with an escalation in ceasefire violations and further militant attacks on Indian security forces. Since 2016, the ongoing confrontation, continued terrorist attacks, and an increase in nationalist rhetoric on both sides has resulted in the collapse of bilateral relations, with little expectation that they will recover. Notably, following the 2019 Pulwama attack, the Indian government revoked Pakistan's most favoured nation trade status, which it had granted to Pakistan in 1996. India also increased the custom duty to 200% which affected the trade of Pakistani apparel and cement.
Since the election of new governments in both India and Pakistan in the early 2010s, some attempts have been made to improve relations, in particular the development of a consensus on the agreement of Non-Discriminatory Market Access on Reciprocal Basis (NDMARB) status for each other, which will liberalize trade. Both India and Pakistan are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and its South Asian Free Trade Area. Pakistan used to host a pavilion at the annual India International Trade Fair which drew huge crowds. Deteriorating relations between the two nations resulted in a boycott of Pakistani traders at the trade fair.
In November 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to the resumption of bilateral talks; the following month, Modi made a brief, unscheduled visit to Pakistan while en route to India, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Pakistan since 2004. Despite those efforts, relations between the countries have remained frigid, following repeated acts of cross-border terrorism. According to a 2017 BBC World Service poll, only 5% of Indians view Pakistan's influence positively, with 85% expressing a negative view, while 11% of Pakistanis view India's influence positively, with 62% expressing a negative view.
In August 2019, following the approval of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in the Indian Parliament, which revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, further tension was brought between the two countries, with Pakistan downgrading their diplomatic ties, closing its airspace, and suspending bilateral trade with India.
Seeds of conflict during independence
Main article: Partition of India
Jinnah and Gandhi engaged in a heated conversation. A well-known photograph recently attributed to Kulwant Roy.
About half a million Muslims and Hindus were killed in communal riots following the partition of British India. Millions of Muslims living in India and Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan emigrated in one of the most colossal transfers of population in the modern era. Both countries accused each other of not providing adequate security to the minorities emigrating through their territory. This served to increase tensions between the newly-born countries.
According to the British plan for the partition of British India, all the 680 princely states were allowed to decide which of the two countries to join. With the exception of a few, most of the Muslim-majority princely-states acceded to Pakistan while most of the Hindu-majority princely states joined India. However, the decisions of some of the princely-states would shape the Pakistan-India relationship considerably in the years to come.
Main article: Annexation of Junagadh
Junagadh is one of the modern districts of Saurastra, Gujarat
Junagadh was a state on the south-western end of Gujarat, with the principalities of Manavadar, Mangrol and Babriawad. It was not contiguous to Pakistan and other states physically separated it from Pakistan. The state had an overwhelming Hindu population which constituted more than 80% of its citizens, while its ruler, Nawab Mahabat Khan, was a Muslim. Mahabat Khan acceded to Pakistan on 15 August 1947. Pakistan confirmed the acceptance of the accession on 15 September 1947.
India did not accept the accession as legitimate. The Indian point of view was that Junagadh was not contiguous to Pakistan, that the Hindu majority of Junagadh wanted it to be a part of India, and that the state was surrounded by Indian territory on three sides.
The Pakistani point of view was that since Junagadh had a ruler and governing body who chose to accede to Pakistan, it should be allowed to do so. Also, because Junagadh had a coastline, it could have maintained maritime links with Pakistan even as an enclave within India.
Neither of the states was able to resolve this issue amicably and it only added fuel to an already charged environment. Sardar Patel, India's Home Minister, felt that if Junagadh was permitted to go to Pakistan, it would create communal unrest across Gujarat. The government of India gave Pakistan time to void the accession and hold a plebiscite in Junagadh to pre-empt any violence in Gujarat. Samaldas Gandhi formed a government-in-exile, the Arzi Hukumat (in Urdu: Arzi: Transitional, Hukumat: Government) of the people of Junagadh. Patel ordered the annexation of Junagadh's three principalities.
India cut off supplies of fuel and coal to Junagadh, severed air and postal links, sent troops to the frontier, and occupied the principalities of Mangrol and Babariawad that had acceded to India. On 26 October, Nawab of Junagadh and his family fled to Pakistan following clashes with Indian troops. On 7 November, Junagadh's court, facing collapse, invited the Government of India to take over the State's administration. The Dewan of Junagadh, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the father of the more famous Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, decided to invite the Government of India to intervene and wrote a letter to Mr. Buch, the Regional Commissioner of Saurashtra in the Government of India to this effect. The Government of Pakistan protested. The Government of India rejected the protests of Pakistan and accepted the invitation of the Dewan to intervene. Indian troops occupied Junagadh on 9 November 1947. In February 1948, a plebiscite held almost unanimously voted for accession to India.
War of 1965
Main article: Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 started following the culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 and Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against rule by India. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. The seventeen-day war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and witnessed the largest engagement of armored vehicles and the largest tank battle since World War II. Hostilities between the two countries ended after a United Nations-mandated ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and the United States, and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. The five-week war caused thousands of casualties on both sides. Most of the battles were fought by opposing infantry and armoured units, with substantial backing from air forces, and naval operations. It ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration.
War of 1971
Pakistan's Lt Gen Niazi(sitting second from right) signing the Instrument of Surrender, following the defeat of Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
Main articles: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Bangladesh Liberation War, and Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971
Pakistan, since independence, was geo-politically divided into two major regions, West Pakistan and East Pakistan. East Pakistan was occupied mostly by Bengali people. After a Pakistani military operation and a genocide on Bengalis in December 1971, following a political crisis in East Pakistan, the situation soon spiralled out of control in East Pakistan and India intervened in favour of the rebelling Bengali populace. The conflict, a brief but bloody war, resulted in the independence of East Pakistan. In the war, the Indian Army invaded East Pakistan from three sides, while the Indian Navy used the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant (R11) to impose a naval blockade of East Pakistan. The war saw the first offensive operations undertaken by the Indian Navy against an enemy port, when Karachi harbour was attacked twice during Operation Trident (1971) and Operation Python. These attacks destroyed a significant portion of Pakistan's naval strength, whereas no Indian ship was lost. The Indian Navy did, however, lose a single ship, when INS Khukri (F149) was torpedoed by a Pakistani submarine. 13 days after the invasion of East Pakistan, 90,000 Pakistani military personnel surrendered to the Indian Army and the Mukti Bahini. After the surrender of Pakistani forces, East Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh.
Main article: Kargil War
During the winter months of 1998-99, the Indian army vacated its posts at very high peaks in Kargil sector in Kashmir as it used to do every year. Pakistani Army intruded across the line of control and occupied the posts. Indian army discovered this in May 1999 when the snow thawed. This resulted in intense fighting between Indian and Pakistani forces, known as the Kargil conflict. Backed by the Indian Air Force, the Indian Army regained many of the posts that Pakistan had occupied. Pakistan later withdrew from the remaining portion under international pressure and high casualties.