Relations Between India and Pakistan

1489 Words Jun 24th, 2018 6 Pages
Often synonymous with open hostility, relations between India and Pakistan are influenced by numerous discordant factors. This essay will examine the primary antecedent, the Partition of India and its bifurcation into two states. In emphasising the collective trauma and fragile nationalisms that emerged, a connection will be established between the ensuing fear and distrust and its manifestation into policies and actions over the past six decades. Its ramifications will be considered in relation to each state’s security and regional ambitions, the Kashmir dispute and their acquiring of nuclear technology. Particular focus will be given to the Kargil conflict in determining if continued vexed relations could lead to nuclear war.

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Fears of external interference into domestic affairs, particularly the hidden hand of Pakistan, are prominent. India’s ire was aroused with confirmation of Lashkar-e-Taiba involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attack (Rath 2010, 16) and India has responded to the Naxalite threat in existential terms (Tharu 2007, 96). Thence, to ameliorate its perceived insecurity, India has attempted to grasp the position of regional hegemon (Rais 1991, 379), but has done so unsuccessfully and in the fact of strong opposition.

Whilst India adopts a pan-Asian strategy, Pakistan has singularly defined its national security agenda in terms of protecting Muslims from a menacing India (Riedel 2008, 41). The resulting physical and ideological fortress (Cohen 2006, 61) has endowed Pakistan with a progressively rigid and myopic outlook. Depictions of a united Islamic community are fallacious, with Pakistan’s greatest threat being state disintegration. Almost every ethnicity, with the exception of Punjabi’s, has or had an ethno-nationalist movement (Mushtaq 2009, 281). The 1971 loss of East Pakistan, achieved partly with Indian assistance, starkly revealed not only the threat of balkanisation but also its congruence with Indian interests. Ominously, Pakistan is now confronted with an exponentially stronger India containing a larger number of Muslims than Pakistan itself (de Riencourt 1983, 420). Attempting to
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