India-Pakistan Relations, Past, Present and Future | By Tariq Aqil
India-Pakistan relations, past, present and future
RELATIONS between India and Pakistan continue to be the most antagonistic rivalries in the field of international relations in the 21st century.
Since the dawn of independence in 1947, the two countries have been in a constant state of rattling leading to major military conflicts in 1965 and 1971 as well as numerous border skirmishes, including the highly volatile Kargil conflict.
The spectacle of hatred and enmity continued and the two states did their best to diplomatically outwit each other in the UN and other diplomatic forums.
For the past two decades, both countries have been armed with nuclear weapons and certain highly lethal means of delivery and this capability has made the Indian subcontinent the most likely nuclear flashpoint in the world.
The India-Pakistan rivalry has even impacted superpower politics and the United States, Russia and China have been deeply involved in the political struggle between the two nuclear nations of the subcontinent.
This bitter rivalry between the two Asian countries has the potential to have a very negative effect on peace in Asia or for that matter the whole world.
It can be said that the causes of the long and bitter rivalry between the two countries are ideology, territory, geopolitics and domestic politics.
Ideology or religion is the root cause and the other causes have been added over time and the love-hate relationship has sometimes mitigated and sometimes heightened the bitterness between the two countries.
The fundamental differences between the two countries lies in the ideology based theory called the two nation theory which believed in religion as the basis of the state and that Hindus and Muslims were two different nations living in the same territory.
Differences in ethnicity or language were seen as secondary issues, this was the political stance of the All India Muslim League led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah while the All India Congress led by Nehru and Gandhi believed in a united India as that secularly governed state. by parliamentary democracy.
Many prominent Muslims like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and others also supported the Congress Party and they were called the Nationalist Muslims.
The Pakistani request was eventually accepted by the British government and what followed was the bloodiest period in the history of the subcontinent.
During partition, millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs crossed the borders of the two independent states in 1947.
This phase resulted in extreme religious violence, bloodshed and killings on a monumental scale.
Indian leaders rejected the two-nation theory and Pakistani leaders embraced it, which deepened the discord, bitterness and enmity between the two countries.
More bitterness and hatred was created after the emergence of the territorial dispute when the Maharaja of Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession and joined his state in India.
This act of the Maharaja of Kashmir led to the first Indo-Pakistani conflict but the fighting was confined to the Kashmir region and the international border was not crossed by any of the fighters in Kashmir.
Today, the Indo-Pakistani conflict is classified as an enduring rivalry which can be defined as a conflict spanning more than two decades.
Religious ideology and territorial disputes are the two main causes of the rivalry and conflict between the two countries, and other causes may be the geopolitical situations immediately after independence from the British.
In the post-World War II era, at the start of the Cold War, Pakistan quickly became an ally of the United States and in 1954 joined two US-led military pacts, namely SEATO and CENTO, not only that the United States also received the use of an air base in Peshawar from which to fly their U-2 aircraft to spy on the Soviet Union.
India, on the other hand, decided to remain non-aligned during the Cold War and Nehru along with Nasser and Marshal Tito laid the foundations of the Non-Aligned Movement or NAM.
Hostility and aggression reached a boiling point in 1971 because of the East Pakistan crisis and subsequent war and the emergence of Bangladesh.
In this conflict, both the United States and China showed a definite fondness for Pakistan, and in response India concluded a Defense and Friendship Treaty with the Soviet Union.
The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s pushed Pakistan further into the American camp and reinforced US dependence on Pakistan in its bid to defeat Soviet designs in Afghanistan. .
After the September 11 attacks, Pakistan once again became a frontline state in the US-led global war on terrorism, while India very adroitly managed to stay on the sidelines avoiding any discontent from its Russian ally.
The potential for peace between the two countries is truly immense.
They share a common culture, many languages, cuisine, dress and many festivals, they have more in common than many European countries which now live in peace and harmony after centuries of conflict under the umbrella of a political pact called the European Union.
To eliminate the horrors of a nuclear holocaust and for the sake of future generations, the two countries must eliminate all causes of conflict and unite in a political and economic pact.
—The author is a professor of history, based in Islamabad.