New Delhi

Talks, Not War

Instead of fighting wars, India and Pakistan should settle their disputes through serious talks and develop the region.

By Aneeza Maham | June 2022

India-Pakistan relations have remained complex throughout history. These two countries have fought numerous wars since their independence. Three wars took place mainly in 1947, 1965 and 1971. Also, there was an unofficial Kargil conflict in 1999. Analysts are now speculating about the revival of ties between India and Pakistan. The imperatives behind improving ties are important.

When Shahbaz Sharif took over, he talked about improving relations with India. Political commentators also predict a breakthrough in Kashmir dispute. The Pakistan Army Chief has also expressed his thoughts. He said that the military would certainly back the government’s initiative to mend the broken relationship with India.

What could possibly slow down the improvement of relations with India is not possible without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Kashmir is the most complicated issue between India and Pakistan, and both countries have fought three wars over the years. Pakistan affirms that there must be a referendum to decide whether Kashmiris want to stay independent or with India. Nonetheless, India holds the view that Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh are an integral part of India. So far, a referendum seems almost impossible and talks and negotiations are the only way to end hostilities.

India and Pakistan share deep historic, cultural, linguistic, economic, and geographical links but their relations have always remained mired in difficulties because of the political and historical events. Their relations can be defined mainly by the violent Partition of the subcontinent in 1947, the Kashmir conflict and numerous armed conflicts. The Partition witnessed the largest human migration ever and led to massacres along the whole region. Around one million lives were lost and an estimated 12.5 million people got displaced. Consequently, India emerged as a secular nation with a Hindu majority population and Pakistan became a Muslim majority state.

Both countries have experienced various phases of hostile and friendly relations under diverse administrations. The relationship needs careful handling, cooperation, mutual understanding, and talks on a regular basis to keep it smooth and less hostile. Other than the Kashmir conflict, some other major issues between India and Pakistan include the water dispute, border issues and terror disputes. All these conflicts lead to the loss of life and infrastructure on both sides of the border.

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