India-Pakistan Relations

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  • How will India Respond to Civil War in Pakistan?

    In 1971, India intervened militarily on behalf of Bengalis in the civil war in East Pakistan, dividing the country into two. The prospect of another civil war in Pakistan pitting radical Islamists against the secular but authoritarian military raises questions about the possibility, timing, objective, and nature of another Indian intervention.

    July 2013

    Syed Ali Zia Jaffery asked: Given the fact that both India and Pakistan are equipped with a nuclear deterrent, doesn't India realise the danger of Cold Start?

    Reply: Please refer to the following IDSA publications on the subject:

    A. Vinod Kumar, “15-Years after Pokhran II: Deterrence Churning Continues”, June 10, 2013, at

    Ali Ahmed, “India's Limited War Doctrine: The Structural Factor”, IDSA Monograph Series No. 10, December 2012, at

    Ali Ahmed, “Reopening the Debate on Limited War”, February 29, 2012, at

    Ali Ahmed, “What Does Pakistan Hope to Achieve with Nasr?”, August 17, 2011, at

    Ali Ahmed, “Pakistan’s ‘First Use’ in Perspective”, May 12, 2011, at

    Ali Ahmed, “Towards a Proactive Military Strategy: 'Cold Start and Stop'”, Strategic Analysis, 35 (3), May 2011, at

    Ali Ahmed, “Making Sense of ‘Nasr’”, April 24, 2011, at

    Ali Ahmed, “The advantages of ‘Cold Start Minor’”, December 13, 2010, at

    Sushant Sareen, “Cold Start as Deterrence against Proxy War”, November 22, 2010, at

    Ali Ahmed, “Cold Start and ‘The Sehjra Option’”, Journal of Defence Studies, 4 (4), October 2010, at

    Ali Ahmed, “The ‘Cold Start and Stop’ strategy”, September 28, 2010, at

    Views expressed are of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

    15-Years after Pokhran II: Deterrence Churning Continues

    Fifteen years after the nuclear tests, it is relevant to examine if deterrence remains weak in South Asia or has consolidated towards greater stability.

    June 10, 2013

    Mahendra Pande asked: With Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan migrating to India, would it have a major impact on the relations between the two countries? What should be the Indian Government’s response to it?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: With the rise in radicalism in Pakistan, the minority communities as a whole— both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities— including Shias, Ahmadiyas and Hindus are being attacked by Sunni radical elements. During the last year (2012), media reports about some Sikhs and some Hindus migrating to India did attract wider public attention in India. However, this is unlikely to have any major impact in India-Pakistan relations, beyond reinforcing negative perceptions about Pakistan amongst the people in India. The government of India appears determined to extend a fig leaf to the government in Pakistan and engage it in a constructive dialogue where all these issues can be taken up for discussion, without lowering its guard on the security front. The rise in extremism in Pakistan is an issue of concern for India as a neighbour; however, India has no other option but to put pressure on the Pakistan government— both through bilateral engagement and by working with the international community— to take adequate measures to contain this tide.

    India-Pakistan Energy Trade: Need to think out of the box

    Nawaz Sharif’s political comeback has resulted in a fresh sense of optimism within the Indian industry. But it has to be seen whether it will it help in normalizing relations and bringing people together.

    May 27, 2013

    Will it be a new phase in India-Pakistan Relations?

    Nawaz Sharif’s sentiments for better relationship with India are laudable in spite of being still premature. There are constituencies within Pakistan for whom Kashmir continues to remain the core issue but the bigger challenge is whether Sharif will be able to bring the army on board.

    May 16, 2013

    Pakistan elections: Implications for domestic and foreign policy

    Nawaz Sharif having expressed his intentions of improving relations with India will try to give trade a big push. Yet, one should not expect policy changes related to terrorism targeted at India or its aversion to India’s presence in Afghanistan.

    May 13, 2013

    Siachen: Possible New International Moves for ‘Mediation’

    India must develop comprehensive and workable proposals to not just tone down the present Indo-Pak standoff on the glacier and the international attention it may be inviting, but also to ensure reasonable security arrangements against treachery by any third country.

    March 20, 2013

    Abhishek Tyagi: What is the dispute over Sir Creek between India and Pakistan? What is the importance of this region for India?

    P.K. Upadhyay replies: Sir Creek issue is defying solution because of the deep rooted syndrome of lack of trust in Pakistan. Unless the element of trust is restored through Pakistani actions, attitudes and utterances, any real and meaningful progress on this, as well as other issues like Siachen, looks somewhat remote. Sir Creek is an area that has not been demarcated between India and Pakistan by a clearly delineated maritime border.

    The Indo-Pakistan international border starts from the point where coming from the Arabian Sea Sir Creek joins the land mass. This area had not been demarcated as it had not been properly surveyed due to its being somewhat desolate and inhospitable. Nonetheless, taking advantage of a 1914 Bombay Government Resolution that sought to demarcate Sir Creek between Sindh and Kutch divisions of the Bombay state as an internal administrative measure, Pakistan began to lay claim over the entire Creek. They conveniently ignored the reality of Sindh and Kutch having become parts of two sovereign states, India and Pakistan, and thus their maritime boundary now needed to be settled as per international norms, mainly the Thalweg Doctrine, which follows the meridian principle. In fact, another resolution of the erstwhile Bombay Government adopted in 1925 did install mid-channel pillars in Sir Creek. Pakistan does not agree with India since an acceptance of these provisions would lead to redrawing of the maritime boundary in the area, re-delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and other fishing areas in the Arabian Sea. This could be detrimental to Pakistani hopes as it anticipates the presence of hydro-carbon resources in the area.

    India is not inclined to take any chances simply on the basis of pious hopes and intentions. If India gives up control of the eastern bank of the Creek, there is no guarantee that Pakistan would not claim any new territory in the sector, particularly if any oil or gas discovery is made in the region. Thus, the trust deficit in Pakistan that bedevils the overall Indo-Pak relations also makes any progress in resolving the Sir Creek issue that much more difficult.