Indo-Pak Relationship

Pakistan profile – Timeline

A chronology of key events:

Muhammed Ali Jinnah – founding father of Pakistan

Muhammed Ali Jinnah – founding father of Pakistan

  • Born in Karachi, 1876
  • Pakistan’s first head of state until his death in 1948

Screening the life of Jinnah

1906 – Muslim League founded as forum for Indian Muslim separatism.

1940 – Muslim League endorses idea of separate nation for India’s Muslims.

1947 – Muslim state of East and West Pakistan created out of partition of India at the end of British rule. Hundreds of thousands die in widespread communal violence and millions are made homeless.

1948 – Muhammed Ali Jinnah, founding leader of Pakistan, dies. First war with India over disputed territory of Kashmir.

Military rule

1951 – Jinnah’s successor Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated.

1956 – Constitution proclaims Pakistan an Islamic republic.

1958 – Martial law declared and General Ayyub Khan takes over.

1960 – General Ayyub Khan becomes president.

War and secession

1965 – Second war with India over Kashmir.

1969 – General Ayyub Khan resigns and General Yahya Khan takes over.

1970 – Victory in general elections in East Pakistan for breakaway Awami League, leading to rising tension with West Pakistan.


1971 – East Pakistan attempts to secede, leading to civil war. India intervenes in support of East Pakistan which eventually breaks away to become Bangladesh.

General Zia’s death in 1988 ended 11-year military rule

Echoes of General Zia

1972 – Simla peace agreement with India sets new frontline in Kashmir.

1973 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister.

Zia takes charge

1977 – Riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). General Zia ul-Haq launches military coup.

1978 – General Zia becomes president, ushers in Islamic legal system.

1979 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged amid international protests.

1980 – US pledges military assistance to Pakistan following Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1985 – Martial law and political parties ban lifted.

1986 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s daughter Benazir returns from exile to lead PPP in campaign for fresh elections.

1988 August – General Zia, US ambassador, and top army brass die in air crash.

Benazir Bhutto addressing a rally

Benazir Bhutto: Twice prime minister of Pakistan

  • Daughter of hanged PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
  • Served as PM 1988-1990 and 1993-1996
  • Died in a bomb blast in 2007, shortly after returning from exile

Obituary: Benazir Bhutto

Bhutto comeback

1988 November – Benazir Bhutto’s PPP wins general election.

1990 – Benazir Bhutto dismissed as prime minister on charges of incompetence and corruption.

1991 – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif begins economic liberalisation programme. Islamic Sharia law formally incorporated into legal code.

1992 – Government launches campaign to stamp out violence by Urdu-speaking supporters of the Mohajir Quami Movement.

1993 – Prime Minister Sharif resigns under pressure from military. General election brings Benazir Bhutto back to power.

Nuclear tests

1996 – President Leghari dismisses Bhutto government amid corruption allegations.

1997 – Nawaz Sharif returns as prime minister after Muslim League party wins elections.


1998 – Pakistan conducts its own nuclear tests after India explodes several nuclear dev

Nawaz Sharif, ousted in 1999 coup, exiled, back in government in 2008

Profile: Nawaz Sharif

1999 April – Benazir Bhutto and husband convicted of corruption and given jail sentences. Ms Bhutto stays out of the country.

1999 May – Kargil conflict: Pakistan-backed forces clash with the Indian military in the icy heights around Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir. More than 1,000 people are killed on both sides.

Musharraf coup

1999 October – General Pervez Musharraf seizes power in coup.

2000 April – Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on hijacking and terrorism charges over his actions to prevent the 1999 coup.

2000 December – Nawaz Sharif goes into exile in Saudi Arabia after being pardoned by military authorities.

2001 June – Gen Pervez Musharraf names himself president while remaining head of the army.

2001 September – Musharraf swings in behind the US in its fight against terrorism and supports attacks on Afghanistan. US lifts some sanctions imposed after Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998.

Pakistani soldiers build bunkers at Line of Control separating Pakistani- and Indian-held Kashmir

2001 December – India, Pakistan prompt fears of full-scale war by massing troops along common border amid growing tensions over Kashmir following suicide attack on Indian parliament.

Tensions with India over Kashmir go back decades

Q&A: Kashmir dispute

Kashmir conflict ‘unfinished business’

The future of Kashmir?

2002 January – President Musharraf bans two militant groups – Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad – and takes steps to curb religious extremism.

2002 April – President Musharraf wins another five years in office in a referendum criticised as unconstitutional and flawed.

2002 May – Pakistan test fires three medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, amid rumours of impending conflict with India.

2002 August – President Musharraf grants himself sweeping new powers, including the right to dismiss an elected parliament.

Thaw with India

Pervez Musharraf

2003 November – Pakistan declares a Kashmir ceasefire; India follows suit.


Military ruler put under pressure by US’s “war on terror”: Pervez Musharraf

Profile: Pervez Musharraf

2003 December – Pakistan and India agree to resume direct air links and to allow overflights of each other’s planes from beginning of 2004, after a two-year ban.

2004 February – Leading nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan admits to having leaked nuclear weapons secrets, reportedly to Libya, North Korea and Iran.

2004 June – Pakistan mounts first military offensive against suspected Al-Qaeda militants and their supporters in tribal areas near Afghan border. US begins using drone strikes to target Al-Qaeda leaders in the area.

2004 April – Parliament approves creation of military-led National Security Council, institutionalising role of armed forces in civilian affairs.

2004 May – Pakistan readmitted to Commonwealth.

2005 April – Bus services, the first in 60 years, operate between Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

2005 August – Pakistan tests its first nuclear-capable cruise missile.

Kashmir quake

2005 October – Earthquake kills tens of thousands of people in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Gunmen defending the Red Mosque, Islamabad, in 2008 Image copyrightAFP

The 2008 storming of the radical Red Mosque killed more than 100 people.

Profile: Islamabad’s Red Mosque

2006 September – Government signs peace accord to end fighting with pro-Al-Qaeda militants in Waziristan tribal areas near Afghan border.

2007 February – Sixty-eight passengers are killed by bomb blasts and a blaze on a train travelling between the Indian capital New Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Pakistan and India sign an agreement aimed at reducing the risk of accidental nuclear war.

Musharraf targets judiciary

2007 March – President Musharraf suspends Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, triggering a wave of protests across the country.

2007 July – Security forces storm the militant-occupied Red Mosque complex in Islamabad following a week-long siege.

Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry.

Two women mourn assassinated former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto Image copyrightAFP

The assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto shook Pakistani politics

Special: Bhutto assassination

2007 October – Ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns from exile. Dozens of people die in a suicide bomb targeting her homecoming parade in Karachi.

Army launches offensive against militants in North Waziristan. Nearly 200 people die in the fighting.

2007 October-November – Musharraf wins presidential election but is challenged by Supreme Court. He declares emergency rule, dismisses Chief Justice Chaudhry and appoints new Supreme Court, which confirms his re-election.

2007 November – Former PM Nawaz Sharif returns from exile.

Bhutto killed, Musharraf resigns

2007 December – State of emergency lifted.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated at political rally at election campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

2008 February-March – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) nominee Yusuf Raza Gilani becomes PM at head of coalition with Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League party following parliamentary elections in February.

2008 August – President Musharraf resigns after the two main governing parties agree to launch impeachment proceedings against him.

Taliban fighters train in South Waziristan tribal area

Taliban militia expanded their influence in Pakistan’s tribal areas in 2008

Who are the Taliban?

Nawaz Sharif pulls his PML-N out of the coalition, accusing the PPP of breaking its promise to reinstate all judges sacked by Mr Musharraf.

2008 September – MPs elect Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari – the widower of assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto – president.

Suicide bombing on Marriott Hotel in Islamabad kills 53 people. Soon after, government launches major offensive in Bajaur tribal area, killing more than 1,000 militants.

2008 November – The government borrows billions of dollars from the International Monetary Fund to overcome its spiralling debt crisis.

Tribal areas turmoil

2008 December – India blames Mumbai attacks in November on Pakistani-based militants and demands Pakistan take action. Islamabad denies involvement but promises to co-operate with the Indian investigation.

2009 February – Government agrees to implement Sharia law in north-western Swat valley in effort to persuade Islamist militants there to agree to permanent ceasefire.

2009 March – After days of protests, government yields to demands for reinstatement of judges dismissed by former President Musharraf.

2009 April – Swat agreement breaks down after Taliban-linked militants seek to extend their control. Government launches offensive to wrest control of Swat from militants.

A boy makes his way through flood waters in a village south of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, 21 August 2010

The 2010 monsoon floods were the worst in 80 years

  • At least 1,600 people killed
  • 20 million people affected
  • 4 million lost livelihoods and homes

2009 August – The leader of Pakistan’s Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, is killed in US drone attack in South Waziristan. He is succeeded by Hakimullah Mehsud.

Suicide bombing in northwestern city of Peshawar kills 120 people.

Reform efforts

2010 April – Parliament approves package of wide-ranging constitutional reforms. Measures include transferring key powers from office of president to prime minister.

2010 August – Worst floods in 80 years kill at least 1,600 people and affect more than 20 million. Government response widely criticised.

Compound where Osama Bin Laden was found and killed on outskirts of Abbottabad, northwest Pakistan Image copyrightBBC

Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in a suburban compound in Pakistan

Ridicule and rage for Pakistan’s army

BBC News – Death of Bin Laden

2010 October – Rise in targeted political killings, bombings in commercial hub of Karachi.

2011 January – A campaign to reform Pakistan’s blasphemy law leads to the killing of two prominent supporters, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in January, and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti in March.

2011 April – The founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is killed by American special forces in Abbottabad.

2011 November – Pakistan shuts down Nato supply routes after a Nato attack on military outposts kills 25 Pakistani soldiers, boycotts the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.


2011 December – Government comes under pressure over a leaked memo alleging senior officials sought US aid against a military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden in April.

2012 January – Amid growing tension between government and military over “memogate” scandal, army chief Gen Pervez Kayani warns of “unpredictable consequences” after PM Yousuf Raza Gilani criticises army leaders and sacks top defence official.

Supreme Court threatens to prosecute Prime Minister Gilani for contempt of court over government’s refusal to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and other political figures.

2012 May – A US Senate panel cuts $33m in aid to Pakistan over the jailing of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi who helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden.

Christians protest against Pakistani blasphemy laws, August 2012

2012 June – Supreme Court disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani from holding office after he declines to appeal against a token sentence in President Zardari corruption row. Parliament approves Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as his successor.

2012 July – Pakistan agrees to reopen Nato supply routes to Afghanistan after the US apologises for killing Pakistani soldiers in November.

Sunni extremist violence increases

2012 September – Muslim cleric Khalid Chishti is arrested on suspicion of planting burnt pages of the Koran on a Christian girl briefly detained for blasphemy. Amid widespread condemnation of the case against the girl at home and abroad, a court dropped it November.

2012 October – Taliban gunmen seriously injure 14-year-old campaigner for girls’ rights Malala Yousafzai, whom they accused of “promoting secularism”. The shooting sparked a brief upsurge of anger in Pakistan against the militants.

2012 November – Taliban suicide bomber kills at least 23 people at a Shia Muslim procession in the Rawalpindi.

2013 January – Supreme Court orders the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over corruption allegations dating back to his time as a minister in 2010. He denies wrongdoing.

The government sacks Balochistan chief minister over bomb blasts in the provincial capital Quetta that kill at least 92 Shia Muslims. Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claims responsibility.

Populist cleric and anti-corruption campaigner Tahirul Qadri leads a nationwide march on Islamabad. The government responds by agreeing to dissolve parliament early and to consult Mr Qadri over the formation of a caretaker government.

2013 February – Bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims in Quetta kills 89 people. Police detain Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group founder Malik Ishaq after the group claims responsibility.

2013 June – Parliament approves Nawaz Sharif as prime minister after his Muslim League-N wins parliamentary elections in May. Taliban conduct systematic campaign of attacks and intimidation, but fail to deter largest turnout of voters since 1970.

2013 September – More than 80 people are killed in a double suicide bombing at a church in Peshawar. It is the deadliest attack so far against Christians in Pakistan. Taliban-linked Islamists claim responsibility.

2014 March – Government and Taliban representatives meet in North Waziristan for peace talks, with a cease-fire top of the agenda.

2014 June – A deadly assault on Karachi’s international airport leaves dozens dead. Uzbek militants fighting with the Pakistani Taliban say they carried out the attack. Peace talks with the Taliban collapse and the army launches a major offensive on Islamist hideouts in north-west Pakistan.

2014 September – Arrests of opposition activists amid days of violent anti-government protests on the streets of Islamabad. Government and opposition figures hold talks but fail to resolve differences.

2014 October – Teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban but survived to become a campaigner for girls’ education, becomes the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Peshawar school attack

2014 December – Taliban kills nearly 150 people – mostly children – in an attack on a school in Peshawar.

Government responds to the massacre by lifting a moratorium on the death penalty and launching round-up of terror suspects, although critics complain major terror organisers are left alone.

2015 January-February – Taliban attack Shia mosques in Sindh and Peshawar in two incidents, killing nearly 80 people and injuring dozens more.

2015 April – India protests over Pakistan court release on bail of suspected mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Human rights activist Sabeen Mehmud shot dead in Karachi.

2015 June – Pakistan acknowledges that eight out of ten Taliban members allegedly jailed for the gun attack on teenage education activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai were secretly acquitted at their trial in April.

2016 January – Islamist extremists attack Bacha Khan University in Charsadda in north-west Pakistan, killing 19 people and injuring 17 others before security forces killed the four suspected assailants.

2016 March – Taliban offshoot Jamaat-ul-Ahrar says it carried out a suicide attack at a popular park in Lahore on Easter Sunday killing 72 people, saying it had targeted Christians.

2016 March – Former president Pervez Musharraf leaves the country for Dubai after the Supreme Court lifts a three-year travel ban. His lawyers say he needs urgent spinal treatment and will return to face treason and murder charges against him.

2016 September – Pakistan’s military acknowledges for the first time the presence of so-called Islamic State militants in the country, but says it has foiled attempts by the group to expand there.

2016 September – Taliban offshoot Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claims suicide attack on a court in the northern city of Mardan in which 12 people are killed and 50 are injured.

Pakistan was born by curving out two geographically far flung areas from the earst-while British India. The basis of this division itself was a pseudo sense of difference in identity, which gave rise to instability in government, inefficiency of political parties and a weak political culture leading to the scenario for a politically and socially unstable state.

The partition of British India led to the creation of two sovereign states ‘The Union of India’ and ‘The Dominion of Pakistan in the August of 1947.

‘Partition’ was not only in respect of the division of the Bengal province of British India into East Pakistan and West Bengal (India) and the similar partition of the Punjab province into Punjab of West Pakistan and Punjab of India but also to the respective divisions of other assets, including the British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Service and other administrative services, the Railways and the central treasury.

Pakistan was virtually divided into two geographically far flung divisions with distinctly separate cultures, never to be assimilated in a single nationhood.

Major Crisis

The relationship between the two umbilical twin states got sour from the very beginning. In fact there had been two full scale wars (1965 & 1971), two limited wars (1947 & 1999) and an ongoing proxy war waged by the Pakistani side with the help of various anti-state and terrorist elements. The causes between this enimity are many, which are briefly discussed below:

The Kashmir Issue

This northern state was populated predominantly by Muslims and was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja. The Maharaja, Hari Singhji, did not take any decision regarding the state’s accession before, or immediately after, August 15, 1947. Pending final decision, the Maharaja concluded a standstill agreement with Pakistan. India did not accept such a temporary arrangement.

In the month of October 1947, an attack took place on Kashmir by the so called tribal elements of North West Frontier region of Pakistan. Immediately before the attack by Pakistan-sponsored tribals on Kashmir began, a senior official of Pakistan Foreign Office visited Kashmir and tried to persuade Hari Singh to agree to join Pakistan. Maharaja refused to take any decision in haste.

Soon thereafter the aggression began. They launched the attack on October 22, 1947 in a number of sectors. They were well-trained and equipped. Within a short period of five days they reached Baramula, just 25 miles away from Srinagar. It was only after the commencement of aggression that a nervous Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession in favour of India.

The accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was finalized by October 27, and the army was airlifted to clear the aggressions. Pakistan refused to accept the accession. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan said that, ‘the accession of Kashmir to India is a fraud perpetrated on the people of Kashmir by its cowardly ruler with the aggressive help of the Government of India.’ In this way started the root cause of enimity between the two neighbours.

East Pakistan/Bangladesh

When India was partitioned in 1947, the basis for partition was religion. The Muslim majority areas in the West as well as East constituted the new state of Pakistan. Between the two wings of Pakistan there was about 1200 miles of Indian territory. The majority of Pakistani population lived in the East, but the country’s politics was largely controlled by leadership in the West, particularly Punjab.

The notion that Islam would unite the two parts and that it was one nation proved to be a myth. Languages and cultural traditions in the two parts of Pakistan were different. Rather than bringing about emotional integration, Pakistan’s bureaucratic-military rulers sought to dominate East Bengal. Imposition of Urdu was totally unacceptable to people of East Pakistan.

The immediate cause of conflict was denial of the office of Prime Minister of Pakistan to the leader of Awami League, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, even when his party had won 160 out of 300 seats in Pakistan National Assembly elections held in December 1970.

Unprecedented violence erupted in East Bengal where Pakistani Security forces let loose a reign of terror. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and wounded and women in very large numbers were raped. About one crore people arrived in India as refugees.

This brought India into the picture. Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Gandhi established contacts with all major Powers of the world to pressurize Pakistan to stop massacre of people in East Bengal so that Bangla refugees could be sent back to their homes. Mrs. Gandhi’s visits to western capitals were not fruitful.

Finally, India had to intervene to provide humanitarian support to the people coming from East Pakistan. Pakistan used it as a pretext and launched air raid on Indian air bases in the western sector. Thus started the war of 1971, which ultimately ended with the liberation of Bangladesh.

Shimla Accord

After diplomatic level negotiations for several months, India-Pakistan Summit was held at Shimla at the end of June 1972. Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, assisted by their high-level delegations, held complex and extensive discussions on various issues arising out of the war, as well as on general bilateral relations.

The issues ranged from the repatriation of prisoners of war, the recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan, normalization of diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, resumption of trade and fixation of international line of control in Kashmir.

With these objectives in view Indira Gandhi and Bhutto agreed to (i) seek peaceful solutions to disputes and problems through bilateral negotiations, and neither India nor Pakistan would unilaterally change the existing situation and (ii) not to use force against each other, nor violate the territorial integrity, nor interfere in political freedom of each other.


Terrorism remains our core concern in the relationship with Pakistan and has been repeatedly raised with Pakistan, including at the highest level, whereby India has consistently urged Pakistan to fulfill its repeated assurance given to us not to allow the territory under its control to be used for supporting terrorism directed against us or for any other anti-India activity.

More recently, during the meeting of Indian PM with Pak PM, PM underlined our concerns regarding terrorism and stressed that it was imperative to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice.

The Siachen Issue

It is a military conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir. The conflict began in 1984 with India’s successful Operation Meghdoot during which it wrested control of the Siachen Glacier from Pakistan and forced the Pakistanis to retreat west of the Saltoro Ridge.

India has established control over all of the 70 kilometres (43 miles) long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier-Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La.

The conflict in Siachen stems from the incompletely demarcated territory on the map beyond the map coordinate known as NJ9842. The 1949 Karachi Agreement and 1972 Simla Agreement did not clearly mention who controlled the glacier, merely stating that the Cease Fire Line (CFL) terminated at NJ9842. UN officials presumed there would be no dispute between India and Pakistan over such a cold and barren region.

  • It is not just avalanches; the challenging terrain of the glacier and its surroundings as a whole have been regularly claiming lives.
  • According to reliable estimates, over 2,000 soldiers from both sides have died on the Siachen glacier since 1984, when India beat Pakistan by a few days to occupy many of the strategic locations on the glacier.

Where is it located?

Siachen Glacier

The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.

  • At 76 km long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world’s non-polar areas.
  • It is situated at an average altitude of 5,400 meters above sea level.
  • It lies South of the great watershed that separates Central Asia from the Indian subcontinent, and Pakistan from China in this region. It lies between the Saltoro ridge line to the west and the main Karakoram range to the east.
  • The entire Siachen Glacier, with all major passes, is currently under the administration of India since 1984, while Pakistan controls the region west of Saltoro Ridge.


Ever since the two militaries began a costly engagement on the glacier, there have been numerous efforts by both countries to find a way to demilitarise the glacier. In June 1989, they came very close to clinching a final deal.

  • The two sides had agreed to “work towards a comprehensive settlement, based on redeployment of forces to reduce the chance of conflict, avoidance of the use of force and the determination of future positions on the ground so as to conform with the Shimla Agreement and to ensure durable peace in the Siachen area”.
  • Ever since then, India and Pakistan have tried diplomatically to find a way to demilitarise the region. However, a lack of political will on both sides has meant that the status quo holds, and soldiers continue to pay a very high price in that remote snowy outpost.
  • India has in the past suggested delineation of the Line of Control north of NJ 9842, redeployment of troops on both sides to agreed positions after demarcating their existing positions, a zone of disengagement, and a monitoring mechanism to maintain the peace.
  • Deeply divergent positions held by New Delhi and Islamabad on the dispute is one of the primary reasons why the negotiations on demilitarising the Siachen glacier and the adjoining areas have not progressed much.

Why India doesn’t want to leave this place?

The most obvious reason for India’s continuing presence at Siachen is its strategic importance. Military experts also believe that it drives a wedge between Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and China, and is the only tenuous link India has with Central Asia.

  • Other fears include the Chinese presence in the vicinity, concerns about a Pakistani incursion and the difficulty in retaking the glacier once gone.
  • India also insists that the present ground positions on the Saltoro ridge should be demarcated and authenticated on a map before any demilitarisation could be conducted, fearing that once India withdraws from the region, the Pakistan Army could occupy the high ground.
  • Moreover, India does not want a disagreement on the posts and locations to be vacated by the Indian side. This feeling has further strengthened after the Kargil intrusion by Pakistan.
  • India has therefore insisted that joint demarcation of the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) on the ground as well as the map should be the first step to be followed by a joint verification agreement and redeployment of forces to mutually agreed positions.

Pakistan’s arguments:

  • Presently, India is the occupying party in Siachen and hence, it should unconditionally withdraw and the pre-1984 status quo should be maintained.
  • By agreeing to a joint demarcation, Pakistan would be accepting the Indian claims in Siachen, at least theoretically.
  • Pakistan also feels that if it accepts such demarcation, it would amount to endorsing the Indian occupation of 1984.
  • Pakistan has therefore proposed that demilitarisation of the region, withdrawal of forces and authentication proceed simultaneously.

What can be done?

  • One, both countries can agree to a glacier of peace with neither side occupying it. Then there would be no strategic reason for soldiers to serve in such inhospitable terrain.
  • The second option is mutual withdrawal of forces without delineation and authentication. This is both undesirable and unlikely.
  • The third option is mutual withdrawal after jointly recording current military positions and exchanging them as part of an annexure without prejudice to each other’s stated positions, pending the final settlement of the Line of Control (LoC) and AGPL. This is perhaps the best option and takes on board India’s demand, and may not meet too much resistance from the Pakistani side given that they had agreed to it in 1992.
  • It can also be converted into an international destination for glacial research and other scientific experiments. International scientific presence would act as a deterrent against any potential Pakistani attempts at occupying the territory and it could also check the Chinese activities in the greater Karakoram region. This perhaps is the best option under the circumstances.

Way ahead:

Given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal initiative to visit Lahore in December 2015 and to push forward peace with Pakistan, it would only be the next logical step to look at the low-hanging fruits in bilateral issues to build trust.

  • The demilitarisation of Siachen is definitely doable. This is not only because it is diplomatically possible, but also because there is a critical mass of opinion in both India and Pakistan that neither can sacrifice, or put in harm’s way, so many lives on the inhospitable glacier.
  • If the initiative is not seized by both sides now, the vagaries of nature will continue to exact a toll on forces deployed in Siachen, even if peace holds.


It is important to recognise that just because we have militarily and materially invested in the Siachen region over the years or incur lower casualties than Pakistan, it does not provide us with a strategically sound rationale to continue stationing troops there, only to keep losing them year after year.

The February 3 avalanche on the Siachen glacier that buried 10 Indian Army soldiers is a stark reminder to both India and Pakistan about the cost of military deployment in such inhospitable territory.

While we as a nation remain indebted to our brave soldiers who laid down their precious lives on the glacier, there is neither valour nor glory in death due to cerebral edema or hypothermia, guarding a few kilometres of ice whose strategic value is ambiguous at best.

Sir Creek

The resolution to the Sir Creek dispute has been considered a low-hanging fruit for sometime now. The demarcation of the 96 km strip of water in the Rann of Kutch marshlands was one of the factors that contributed to the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

  • Pertinently, it is tied to the larger issue of delineating maritime boundaries and exclusive economic zones. That the creek has changed its course significantly over the years complicates matters further.


Sir Creek is a strip of area between Pakistan and India in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. It is situated in south east of Karachi, and divides the Kutch region of the Indian state of Gujarat with Sindh province of Pakistan.

  • Both countries have many creeks in the delta region such as Kajhar, Kori, Sir and Pir Sanni creek. The significance of Sir Creek is that it lies between the boundary of India and Pakistan. The far ends starts from Border Pillar (BP) 1175 and other end opens up into the Arabian Sea.
  • A dispute arose on the issue of drawing a dividing line between the two countries. The demarcation becomes significant when the line extends seawards to divide the sea boundary between India and Pakistan. The line then directly affects the division of sea resources including minerals, fish and other marine life between the two countries.
  • Going over to the history of this dispute, it is worth mentioning that the Bombay Presidency, a British Indian Province established in the 17th century, was divided into four commissionerates and twenty-six districts with Bombay city as its capital. The four divisions were Sindh, Gujarat, Deccan and Karnataka.
  • In 1908, the commissioner of Sindh brought to the notice of government, an act of encroachment on the part of Kutch State and Kutch Darbar was asked for an explanation by Government of Bombay. During several sessions and series of meetings, both representatives of Sindh and Kutch states were provided ample opportunity to explain their positions before final decision. In 1914, with Kutch Darbar awarding a triangular area to Sindh state in the north and some area to Kutch state in south, resolved the issue.
  • The boundary demarcation as per 1914 resolution was marked on the map B-44. To demark the boundary on land, 66 pillars were erected vertically and 67 pillars were erected horizontally. Last Border Pillar (BP) 1175 was at the far end of the Sir Creek and a green line was marked on the eastern bank of the Sir Creek.

During recent past history, the question of boundary in the Sir Creek region came up first time for discussion during 1969, when a delegation from the Government of India visited Islamabad for the purpose of actually settling the question of boundary alignment from BP 1175 to Mouth of Sir Creek opening up into the Arabian Sea. Since then twelve rounds of talks and three technical level meetings have been held in this regard but any success could not be met due to Indian evasive attitude.

Significance of this region:

The issue may not have risen, since the creek itself is located in the uninhabited marshlands, has limited military value but holds immense economic gain. The region being rich in oil and gas below the sea bed, control over the creek will add enormously to the energy potential of each nation.

How Convention of the Laws of the Sea has further increased the tension?

Initially territorial waters extended only till 12 nautical miles but since the advent of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a coastal state can now have control over five sea zones: internal water, territorial sea area (12 nautical miles wide), contiguous zone (12 nautical miles wide), the (EEZ) Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles wide), the continental shelf (from 200 nautical miles up to maximum 350 nautical miles wide).

The EEZ can thus be exploited commercially both for the undersea energy as well as nutrient sources.

  • The said Convention gives additional rights to both India and Pakistan over sea resources up to 200 nautical miles in the water column and up to 350 nautical miles in the land beneath the water column.
  • It also provides principles on the basis of which sea boundaries have to be drawn between the states adjacent to each other with a concave coastline. In short, the land boundary’s general course of direction on the land leading up to the coast can make a difference of hundreds of square nautical miles of sea when stretched into the sea as a divider between the said two states.
  • With the adaptation of 1982 Law of the Sea Convention by both countries, the governments have suddenly realised the enormous sea resources that can be lost or won on the basis of the land terminal point where the border between India and Pakistan ends. That is why Sir Creek has now become more contentious than ever before.
  • Besides, both countries are bound to protect their sea-lanes of communications and make efforts for increasing the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area through claiming Continental Shelf by submitting claim to UN Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf (CLCS).
sir creek

Pakistan’s arguments:

Pakistan claims the entire Sir Creek based on a 1914 agreement signed between the government of Sindh and rulers of Kutch.

India’s arguments:

India contests Pakistan’s claim, stating that the boundary lies mid-channel of the Creek. In its support, it cites the Thalweg Doctrine in International Maritime Law, which states that river boundaries between two states may be divided by the mid-channel if the water-body is navigable.

Who is being affected?

The biggest casualty of not delimiting the Sir Creek is the incarceration of thousands of innocent fishermen from the border region who are routinely arrested and their boats and materials confiscated under the premise of illegal intrusion, even though there is no cognisable territorial and maritime boundary delimitation in the area.

  • These innocent civilians are deprived of their fundamental human rights. They are denied consular assistance; many are allegedly tortured and languish in jails while being subjected to horrible living conditions and without any meaningful access to judicial process.
  • Some prisoners go missing and may even be presumed victims of custodial killings. In goodwill gestures, some prisoners are fortunate enough to be freed, often in swaps.
  • Various studies have also shown that this region has become a safe haven for international drug mafia.

Why deadlock?

One of the chief reasons for the deadlock is that India wants the dispute resolved solely through bilateral dealings in the spirit of the Shimla Agreement of 1972, while Pakistan favours third-party involvement and wants to link the resolution of the dispute to contested territories under Indian occupation.

Options before both the countries:

  • Designating the non-delineated area — Sir Creek and its approaches — as a zone of disengagement or a jointly administered maritime park. Such a joint administration could see licensed fishermen from both countries fish in the area without fear of incarceration.
  • Alternatively, given the creek’s ecological sensitivity, both countries could designate the area a maritime sensitive zone. In fact, given the challenges posed by climate change, environment protection offers a significant opportunity for bilateral cooperation.
  • Another option available is the constitution of an arbitration tribunal under Article 287 (c) of the UN 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
  • The solution to the Sir Creek issue also lies in the adoption of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914, which demarcated the boundaries between the two territories, included the creek as part of Sindh, thus setting the boundary line known as the “Green Line” or the eastern flank of the creek.


Both India and Pakistan are passing through a crucial phase that offers huge potential for collaboration. While issues such as terrorism remain, the youthful demography of both countries holds out significant hope. The post-1971 generation in both countries is increasingly stepping into leadership roles. Unburdened by the baggage of history, and tackling issues on the basis of pragmatism, a paradigm shift in bilateral relations is within grasp

 Indus Water Treaty

Kashmir and adjoining area is the origin point for many rivers and tributaries of the Indus river basin. They include the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, which primarily flow into Pakistan while other branches-the Ravi, Beas, and the Sutlej- irrigate northern India.

The Boundary Award of 1947 meant that the headwaters of Pakistani irrigation systems were in Indian territory. Pakistan has been apprehensive that in a dire need, India (under whose portion of Kashmir lies the origins and passage of these rivers) would withhold the flow and thus choke the agrarian economy of Pakistan.

The Indus Waters Treaty signed in 1960 resolved most of these disputes over water, calling for mutual cooperation in this regard. But the treaty faced issues raised by Pakistan over the construction of dams on the Indian side which limit water flow to the Pakistani side.

Baglihar Dam

Baglihar Dam, also known as Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project, is a run-of-the-river power project on the Chenab River in the southern Doda district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

This project was conceived in 1992, approved in 1996 and construction began in 1999. Pakistan claimed that design parameters of Baglihar project violated the Indus Water Treaty of 1960.

After failure of talks on January 18, 2005, Pakistan raised six objections to the World Bank, a broker and signatory of Indus Water Treaty.

In April 2005 the World Bank determined the Pakistani claim as a ‘Difference’, a classification between theless serious ‘Question’ and more serious ‘Dispute’, and in May 2005 appointed Professor Raymond Lafitte, a Swiss civil engineer, to adjudicate the difference. Lafitte declared his final verdict on February 12, 2007, in which he upheld some minor objections of Pakistan, declaring that pondage capacity be reduced by 13.5%, height of dam structure be reduced by 1.5 meter and power intake tunnels be raised by 3 meters, thereby limiting some flow control capabilities of the earlier design.

However he rejected Pakistani objections on height and gated control of spillway declaring these conformed to engineering norms of the day. India had already offered Pakistan similar minor adjustments for it to drop its objection.

 Kishanganga Project

The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project is located on the Kishanganga River and was initially being constructed by the state government of Jammu & Kashmir and was subsequently transferred to NHPC for implementation. Pakistan has articulated its objections in the form of six questions; three are related to the design, two on diversion and one on power house.

The diversion tunnel would reduce the flow of water by 27%. Besides Pakistan has a plan to construct 969 MW hydropower project on the river Neelam. In fact, they have already spent 71 million rupees on it. Similarly the Indian side has completed 75% tunnel construction work. On May 17, 2010, Pakistan moved for arbitration against India under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. In February 2013, the International Court of Arbitration (ICA), Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum

of water for their project. In this partial award, the court upheld India’s main contention that it has the right to divert waters of western rivers, in a non-consumptive manner, for optimal generation of power.

 Tulbul Project

The Tulbul Project is a ‘navigation lock-cum-control structure’ at the mouth of Wular Lake. There has been an ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan over the Tulbul Project since 1987, when Pakistan objected that it violated the 1960 Indus Water Treaty. India stopped work on the project that year, but has since pressed to restart construction.

The Jhelum River through the Kashmir valley below Wular Lake provides an important means of transport for goods and people. India says suspension of work is harming the interests of people of Jammu and Kashmir and also depriving the people of Pakistan of irrigation and power benefits that may accrue from regulated water releases.

Cease Fire Violation issue

line of control


India desires peaceful, cooperative and friendly relations with Pakistan. This requires an environment free from violence and terrorism, which is difficult to attain. Any dialogue between India and Pakistan is quite often followed by a ceasefire violation along the LOC lines.

As a result, bilateral engagement is taking two steps back after taking one step forward. This whole process is not something new, owing to a shared disputed and disturbed border since 1947 between them.

To curb cycle of violence along the 725km long Line of Control (LOC), which divides J&K into two parts, a landmark ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan was signed in 2003. It included framework of military confidence building∙ measures(CDMs) that kept the artillery pieces at least 20 km away from the LoC non- military CBMs such as a cross-LoC bus service and trade However, the peace didn’t last very long and was hampered by a string of actions by both sides.

This situation leads to loss of lives of not only army jawans but also innocent people. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said there were 199 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the border with India till June this year. In 2014, the number of violations was 583, and in 2013, it was 347.

 Reasons behind ceasefire violations

  • The drastic increase in the ceasefire violations can be termed as a show of power.
  • Both countries vehemently shifts blame on each other for it. Pakistan believes India is taking up border works which in “violation of ceasefire agreement” of 2003.
  • On other occasions, it simply retaliates to open firing from Indian Territory.∙ A thorough analysis from Indian side proves that Pakistan’s deep state is in not in sync with political leadership.∙ It wants to display its ability to start a proxy war.
  • Apart from aiding infiltration, currently violations are used as an instrument of diplomacy to send veiled messages.
  • Pakistan’s internal peace highly depends on proving up India as its external enemy.
  • Pakistan army’s identity and its ideology will get defeated if ever peace is achieved between the two nations.
  • Pakistan’s ISI and army may never let the political leadership override their decision.∙ They want to keep the pot boiling by disrupting any peace process between the two nations. The recent∙ 3 Gurdaspur terror attack, which came ahead of the NSA-level talks, is an example of it. Practice is not new, it is only being used more often now for psychological gains.

Impact on villagers living near the border

The borderlands in J&K represent a case of ‘alienated borderlands’. Caught in the hostility between India and Pakistan, the people in border areas of J&K are struck up in the situation of uncertainty.

It refers to those kind of borders which reflect ‘extremely unfavourable conditions’ defined by warfare, political disputes, intense nationalism, ideological animosity, etc. Such conditions while leading to control over people living in the border areas, impact on their quality of life.

While multiple wars (1947–48, 1965, 1971, 1999) created havoc in the border areas, even peacetime did not provide any relief to the people there. The situation during last two and a half decades has been more unstable. With the onset of militancy, the border became more active.

In 2003, a formal ceasefire was declared, which brought the border people some relief. But this ceasefire has often been violated and the uncertainty of the borders has not ended. Continuous volatility of borders has resulted into:

1. Militarization of the borderlands overwhelming presence of security forces – many towns in the border areas almost seem like military towns.

2. Life and livelihood loss

  • Huge land area are under the control of the army.
  • It is generally out of bounds for the local residents.
  • There are various kinds of restrictions including restriction of movement. People have become prey to the communalized violence on both the sides of the border.
  • What can be described as normal life – the children attending school, the farmers cultivating the land, or even people living in their own homes – can be disrupted at any moment.

The situation is worsen due to inadequate or lack of compensation, the conditions in the relief camps, the conditions of schools, college and other education facilities. Partition is not a settled history, but a living problem for tens of thousands of people living along the LoC. Although for a short duration, any ceasefire agreement between two nations comes as a huge relief to them.

Impact on bilateral ties

  • Ever since the two countries started the peace process, scepticism about the longevity of bilateral dialogue∙ has been a perennial feature of discourse on India-Pakistan relations.
  • Crafting a durable Pakistan policy has been a challenge for every Indian Prime Minister since Independence.
  • Each one of them, from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru onwards, has tried to put their own individual imprint. Yet, it remains a complex relationship. Even Narendra Modi government, after its initial enthusiasm, couldn’t ensure a lasting breakthrough with Pakistan.
  • It is widely acknowledged on Indian side that elements in Pakistan’s decision-making circles tries to sustain a∙ hostile relationship with India. As long as these elements remain influential, a normal state to state relationship will be very difficult to achieve. Pakistan’s internal politics will need to change before these elements can be neutralized.
  • In India, there is consensus on the need to have normal and peaceful relations with Pakistan. There is also a∙ strong sentiment that Pakistan’s support to terrorism against India prevents normalization. Hence, the peace efforts will take a long time to yield conclusive results.
  • Meanwhile India should continue to expand the range of options in its political tool kit thereby increasing∙ India’s leverage.

 How should the government respond?

  • In a recent interview, India’s foreign secretary has made it clear that any unprovoked firing from the∙ Pakistani side would meet with an effective and forceful response from our forces.
  • While the Pakistani defence minister has lightly warned India that it does not want convert border tension between two nuclear neighbours into confrontation.
  • The response by the Indian army will meet the immediate psychological need of the hour. But this rising tension needs to be cooled down. The response has to be on different fronts – military,∙ political and diplomatic and these cannot be stand alone.
  • The fact remains that both countries have too much at stake in the peace process. For India, it provides an opportunity to rise above the security concern and establish credible relations with Pakistan. For Pakistan, it is a way out of the multiple crises, especially its internal security situation that has worsened over time threatening the stability of the state and the societal structure.


There is no alternative to a dialogue to resolve the issues. It is too utopian to think that peace can prevail only after all opposition to the moves aimed at bringing about the peace between both the countries vanishes completely. There are various ways in which the ceasefire agreement can be implemented as long as there is a will to do so from both sides.

Pakistani Army

 Civil Military relationship

Healthy civil military relations contribute a lot to enhance the efficiency of a nation. In open societies civil establishment and military institutes work in hand and gloves with political government; where political government is having the final control on national decisions. Although, in developing democracies incidences of military over step their powers is common.

Ever since its creation, Pakistan has witnessed very dominating military relations with civil government, where the military ‘take over’s were common.

Since independence in 1947, Pakistan has experienced 30 years of military rule (1958 to 1971, 1977 to 1988 and 1999 to 2008); even when not in government the military has constantly sought to centralise and consolidate political power and the military (notably military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)) exerts significant overt and covert control over the civilian authorities in both domestic and foreign affairs.

Even presently, since Pakistan’s third, disastrous stint of military rule ended in 2008, the generals have tried hard to be seen to be getting out of politics. Behind the scenes the army still wields immense influence. Yet they have tried hard enough to not being seen to boss around civilian governments.

Army as a driver of foreign policy; especially towards India

In any democratic country, Foreign Policies are designed by the head of government, normally the democratically elected government, with the aim of achieving complex domestic and international agendas but this is not the case with Pakistan.

Assessing the role played by core decision-making bodies in Pakistan’s foreign policy is interesting as the National Security Council (NSC) and the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) reflect the civil-military problematique that affects nearly every aspect of decision making in the country.

Especially, Indian military superiority, that led to the Pakistani defeat in the 1971 conflict with India, which culminated in the independence of Bangladesh and the Kargil war in 1999, provided more impetus to the overly aggressiverole played by the Army in decision making of the Foreign Policy.

As the above mentioned background highlights, the lack of institutionalisation of the foreign policy decision making process had immediate consequences in the policy outcomes during those crisis. The unending tensions between the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) prevented cohesion and coherence in Pakistan’s foreign policy-making.

The apparent democratic renaissance that the country witnessed in 2008 and in the wake of the May 2013 elections provides a few tokens that the decision-making mechanism, includingmthe DCC and Parliamentary committees on foreign policy, is starting to work properly under civilian control.

Current Internal Scenario

Economic Condition

Pakistan happens to be world’s 44th largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. After decades of war and social instability, as of 2013, serious deficiencies in basic services such as railway transportation and electric power generation has developed. The economy is semi-industrialized, with centers of growth along the Indus River. Primary export commodities include textiles, leather goods, sports goods, chemicals, carpets and rugs.

The economy has suffered in the past from internal political disputes, a fast-growing population, mixed levels of foreign investment. Foreign exchange reserves are bolstered by steady worker remittances but a growing current account deficit – driven by a widening trade gap as import growth outstrips export expansion – have draw down reserves and dampened GDP growth in the medium term.

Given the structural inadequacies of the governance, especially confined revenues and savings coupled with rising expenditures have caused situation of persistent fiscal deficit over the years. One war after another and one coup after another has always kept the coffer empty. Plus came the demand of the military establishment for state of the art weaponry and other means of war, which compounded the impact. One has to admit about the economy being in shambles.

 Political Unrest

Of late, Pakistan had once again been suffering from another self-induced political crisis. For days, street protests led by opposition politicians Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri had paralyzed Islamabad and threatened the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Although both opposition leaders had been eager to pick fights with the ruling government, they have been equally careful not to clash with the army.

For the time being, the army’s strength and relative unity limited the prospects for a genuinely revolutionary turn in Pakistan’s political order. But this is also the bad news.

The repressive, anti-democratic character of a political order in which the military plays a dominant role staves off revolution, but it also stymies healthy reform and progress. As many of political analysts have concluded, the only ‘winner’ in the recent political crisis has been the military and its associated intelligence service, the ISI.

 Pakistani Taliban

The origin of the Pakistani Taliban can be traced to two significant developments after the United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. First, thousands of Pakistani Pakthun tribesmen were mobilized for armed action and crossed the Durand Line into Afghanistan to resist both the American and the NATO forces.

The second development was the arrival in the tribal areas of the Afghan Taliban’s and Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership, along with hundreds of Afghan, Arab, Chechen, Uzbek, East Asian, and Sudanese fighters.

Al-Qaeda militants distributed million of dollars among tribal elders in return for shelter. Most of the two groups’ leadership and cadre escaped to South Waziristan, where they were offered protection by the Ahmedzai

Wazir tribe, who, after two decades of engagement, had become sympathetic toward both groups. Al-Qaeda also began leasing compounds from tribesmen to establish training camps and command and control centers, as well as recruiting local tribesmen. This rekindling of old alliances and forging new ones renewed a culture of militancy that had been cultivated during the Soviet-Afghan War.

This insurgency, which was initially limited to North and South Waziristan, spread during the next few years throughout FATA. On December 13, 2007, these militant groups formed the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to coordinate their activities against the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan and against the Pakistan Army in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Impact on India

India should learn from the past record of Pakistan’s military power take over and try to strengthen the whole system. And cope up the political instability in India, so that political instability do not hinder growth and development of India like Pakistan.

If Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri’s politics of disruption ever becomes successful, Taliban’s becomes powerful and gets the center-stage in Pakistani polity. This time in India, with a single party majority government at centre, this may lead to another crisis like situation between the two countries.

Moreover, in Pakistan, due to political instability, there are less feasibility of inclusive growth and development to take place, which in the long run, will keep on preparing the ground for social-political unrests. Due to lack of proper direction in youth they will be exploited by the terror groups. And this can be used as a strong weapon against India.

There are already incidents like 26/11, Parliament attack etc., in this backdrop the current scenario is truly explosive. These kinds of activities will hamper Indian economy and society in direct or indirect manner. Consequently social unrest, in Pakistan, will have an altar ego effect over India.


Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest, but least developed province, which is home to over 13 million people, mostly Balochis.

  • The roots of the conflict go back to the country’s independence. When Pakistan was born in 1947, the rulers of the Khanate of Kalat, which was a princely state under the British and part of today’s Balochistan, refused to join the new nation.
  • Pakistan sent troops in March 1948 to annex the territory. Though Yar Khan, the then ruler of Kalat, later signed a treaty of accession, his brothers and followers continued to fight.

Insurgency and human rights violations

  • There are several separatist groups in the province.
  • The strongest among them is the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), designated as a terrorist group by Pakistan and the U.K.
  • Islamabad has claimed that India is backing the BLA.
  • The Pakistani atrocities in the province had attracted international condemnation.
  • Extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances are the most common practice.

Lack of socio-economic development

  • The Balochi nationalists accuse Islamabad of deliberately keeping the mineral-rich province poor, while
  • Pakistan’s rulers say the pace of development is slow due to insurgency.
  • Attempts by Pakistan government to change the demography.
  • Being denied a fair share of the natural gas revenue.
  • The province remains the most backward of Pakistan.

Big-ticket projects

The province is now holding greater importance in Pakistan’s grand economic and geopolitical strategies.

  •  CPEC passes through Balochistan. China is building Gwadar port in Balochistan.
  • The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is also planned to go through Balochistan.


Gilgit-Baltistan is a chunk of high-altitude territory at the northwestern corner of Jammu and Kashmir. The region was a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, but has been under Pakistan’s control since November 4, 1947.

  • The region was renamed ‘The Northern Areas of Pakistan’, and put under the direct control of Islamabad. The Northern Areas were distinct from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • After the Pakistani government enacted the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order in August 2009, the ‘Northern Areas’ came to be known as Gilgit-Baltistan.

What is Gilgit-Baltistan’s current status?

  • It has an elected Assembly and a Council headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This Council wields all powers, and controls the resources and revenues from the region.
  • Gilgit-Baltistan or Northern Areas do not find any mention in the Pakistani constitution: it is neither independent, nor does it have provincial status. This helps Pakistan maintain ambiguity about the region, in the way it does with PoK.

What is India’s Stand?

  • India sees Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan.
  • The unanimous parliamentary resolution of 1994 had reaffirmed that the region is a “part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession to it in 1947”.

China role

Since the Pakistan-China agreement in 1963 which saw the transfer of the Shaksgam Valley to China, Beijing has been an important player in the region.

  • China constructed the Karakoram Highway linking Kashghar in Xinjiang with Gilgit.
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through this region.
  • India has opposed CPEC since it passes through disputed territory of J&K.


Pakistan invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the “international obligation” of both the countries to resolve the issue.

India’s response

  • India rejected Pakistan offer of talk on Kashmir.
  •  India is prepared to talk to Pakistan only about terrorism issues, including the investigation into the

Pathankot airbase attack in January 2016 and the Mumbai 26/11 attacks in 2008, with the addition of a new demand that Pakistan vacate Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) immediately.

Pakistan stands on Kashmir unrest

  • Pakistan sought to escalate tension over Kashmir and called Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, a “Kashmiri leader” and accusing Indian forces of “extrajudicial killings.”
  • Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had praised Wani and called him a martyr. Besides observing July 19 as a ‘Black Day’ to support the people of Kas/”
    {}hmir, Sharif had said Pakistan would “continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support for Kashmiris”.


On September 18, a Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen group attacked the administrative station of the Indian Army’s 12 Brigade, killing 19 soldiers. Data on GPS sets seized from the slain terrorists suggested Pakistan links.

Fidayeen militants stormed an Army camp in Uri near the Line of Control (LoC). It was the largest attacks on the Army in Kashmir by militants “belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad tanzeem,’’.


  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has started the investigation of the Uri terrorist attack.
  • The NIA would collect DNA samples of the terrorists and look at the commonalities in the Uri and the Pathankot air base attacks in January.

Vacuum on the intelligence

  • South Kashmir has been simmering with protests since the killing of Burhan Wani,Hizbul Mujahideen’s commander, in an encounter in July.
  • The three-month unrest has left a huge vacuum on the intelligence front as several areas were put under curfew, affecting the movement of informers.
  • The continuing unrest in Kashmir is affecting the Army’s routine movements and operations as well as intelligence gathering.

Spike in infiltration

  • Not only violent protests, the Valley has also witnessed an unprecedented spike in infiltration bids since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani
  • Infiltrating LeT militants were trying to rope in local boys to emerge as the most influential militant group in the Valley, capitalising on the rising anger and desperation among the youth.

India’s response to Uri attack


  • In the wake of the Uri attack, Indian government has launched diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan internationally and in its neighbourhood.
  • India has decided to pull out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad this November, with Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh deciding to follow suit.

India Summons Pak Envoy: India’s foreign secretary summoned Pakistan High Commissioner and shared evidence of Pakistani involvement in the Uri attack, which Islamabad rejected.

India has decided to review Indus Water Treaty (IWT). Officials made it clear that the IWT will hold, at least for the moment. Instead, the Centre drew up a list of measures to optimise use of the Indus waters that India has so far failed to do.

Review of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) provisions further indicates that government is determined to demonstrate that it is not business as usual.

In her address at the United Nations General Assembly, foreign minister took on Pakistan on the issue of terrorism. She told the world’s nations that all India has got in response for its peace overtures were cross border attacks. She also took up the issue of human rights violations in Balochistan.

Military response

  • India has carried out surgical strikes targeting “launch pads” for terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC). It is first time India has openly declared that it had carried out surgical strike in side LoC. Similar strike was carried out along Indo-Myanmar border by Indian army against NSCN (K) militants in 2015.
  • Indian commandos entered three kilometres across the Line of Control and conducted the ‘surgical strikes’in Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel & Lipa sectors. The location was 500 meters-2 Km across LoC
  • 7 terror launch pads were destroyed during the surgical strike .
  • The strike across the LoC was reportedly carried out by Para Commandos and Ghatak platoons of the Indian Army

Before we go further deep into the news, let us decode surgical strike for you in quick points:

  1. A surgical strike is a military attack which is intended to demolish something specific or specific target to neutralise it.
  2. It is done with an intention to not harm the surroundings.
  3. No damage is intended to any structure, building etc.
  4. An example of surgical strike is precision bombing which is conducted systematically and with much coordination.
  5. These are methodically planned and coordinated on various levels.
  6. Surgical strike also needs Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) support from the commanders.

What are the wrong lessons to draw from the surgical strike?

  • It does not show that India has “called Pakistan’s nuclear bluff”.
  • No serious analyst, scholar, or military officer ever argued that the threat of nuclear use against Indian forces was salient, or even possible, for operations across the LoC.
  • It is only operations across the international border — and more likely in the desert sector where India’s 21 Corps has a quantitative and manoeuvre advantage over Pakistan’s forces — which present possible targets for tactical nuclear use (such as logistics, bridgeheads, or concentrated armoured forces) where the threat of Pakistani nuclear use becomes salient.
  • The strike does not mean that India can now conduct operations that significantly attrite the Pakistan military or seize valuable territory across the international border.
  • The surgical strike does not herald a new era of conventional retaliatory options for India. This was not evidence that India has a proactive strategy (popularly known as Cold Start) option available for deeper punitive strikes — either on the ground or with air and stand-off capabilities.
  • The Narendra Modi government was very careful not to use helicopters across the LoC, and even the drone that recorded the strike could have easily loitered over Indian territory to do so.
  • This strike should therefore not be read as evidence that India has advanced its so-called Cold Start options.
  • The strike in no way suggests that the government has abandoned strategic restraint as a general grand strategy towards Pakistan.

There is a lot of confusion about what strategic restraint means. Most precisely, it means avoiding operations that risk major conventional escalation: attriting the Pakistan military or seizing valuable territory across the international border.

Strategic restraint does not mean “do nothing”. It means responding in a way that does not potentially become strategically costly for India by risking a broader conventional war, which carries with it not only human and economic costs, but also the risk of nuclear use if the war spills across the international border.

So what, then, are the major implications of the surgical strike?

Although the surgical strike demonstrated immense strategic restraint, it suggests that visibly “doing nothing” militarily may no longer be domestically politically tenable.

  • Although the Indian national security establishment is often given a lot of grief — for one, was there adequate force protection at Uri, and why were the jawans not in fire-retardant tents? — it deserves a lot of credit for how this finely calibrated operation was conceived, planned, executed, and managed.
  • The surgical strike shows Pakistan that it must now consider potential Indian responses in the future. And the nature of those responses may be unpredictable.

Why Pakistan downplayed this attack?

  • Pakistan has denied this operation as a surgical strike because they don’t want it to be full blown crisis. They realize that the international opinion understands the justification that India has in order to carry out such a strike.
  • Pakistan cannot open its nuclear umbrella every time to launch cross border attacks and international opinion needs to understand this. This is a part of overall package of steps that India has taken to examine the premises of its policies towards Pakistan. If Pakistan acknowledges that this was a surgical strike, the army leadership there will be under tremendous pressure to act and it would confirm that Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorists.
  • On the diplomatic front, this operation was fairly organized by Indian Government in order to stop any blow back that India was aggressive, it violated LoC ceasefire etc. This can be said because Indian DGMO conveyed the details of the strike to its Pakistani counterpart thus differentiating Pakistani military from the terrorists.
  • There was also a connection between India and US before the strike regarding exchange of information. Earlier also, such strikes have been carried out but in a covert manner. This time it has taken the limelight because of the outrage that was within India after Uri incident.

Was India’s surgical strike across LoC a strategic mistake?

From military point of view, the surgical strike was limited and was carefully calibrated. Pakistani military installations were not targeted.

The operation was against the terror camps and not against Pakistani army. (Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) telephoned his Pakistani counterpart after the operations ended and conveyed the counter-terrorist intent behind the strike).

However, some quarters have criticized India’s post-strike triumphalism, as it had a negative reputational impact on Pakistani army and for the Pakistan government. Also, such strikes, based on the assumption of Pakistani indulgence is rife with multiple challenges:

  • It would be difficult to fix the degree of complicity of state in an attack within the limited time frame for any retaliatory operation.
  • The local commanders along the LoC on the Pakistani side could misread the assumption and act differently than expected when attacked.
  • Indian side could exaggerate the success of the retaliatory strike. Pakistan could, on the other hand, deny the operation altogether. Trying to exploit a fine balance between the two positions may be setting out on a dangerous course of action.
  • Pakistan’s response: though Pakistan did not acknowledge any strike from Indian side, it is responding by firing on the border and organizing coordinated attacks on Indian Army bases/convoys through its proxies such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The LoC and the IB have become the new battlefield
  • Vertical military escalation: While border firing might seem less escalatory than cross-border raids, ceasefire violations are a slow killer: as ceasefire violation-related casualties continue to rise, they could lead to political and diplomatic escalation. Such sustained violations could lead to vertical military escalation.
  • Attacks on army camps: While border firing hurts both parties, low-intensity strikes (for example, Nagrota and Pampore) hurt only India since it loses soldiers in such raids, whereas Pakistan only loses proxies. Some argue that precious lives of soldiers could have been saved if India had not followed an aggressive policy towards Pakistan.
  • Kashmir uprising: Pakistan may continue to fan the Kashmir uprising with even more vigor. This will keep Kashmir on the boil. Pakistan may internationalize Kashmir issue.
  • Collateral damage: lives and livelihood of people living across the border is lost. The year-long violations in 2014, for instance, had displaced them for several months. This is a collateral damage that goes unsung and unacknowledged.
  • Loss of moral high ground: India now enjoys a moral high ground in the international community. Such surgical strikes could hit a blow to this advantageous position.

The strike, however is justified on following grounds:

  • Failure of talks: the diplomatic channels failed to yield results. NSA level talks, foreign secretary level talks did not lead to any stringent action on part of Pakistan to contain any terror attacks on India and to bring terror suspects to books
  • National morale: after the Uri attack, morale of the army and the nation in general had fallen. This will create insecurities and is antithetical to national security and development.

China Pakistan Economic corridor

China Pakistan Economic Corridor, popularly known as CPEC, is an ambitious infrastructure development project of Pakistan in partnership with China. It is a part of Chinese One-Belt-One-Road initiative. It includes country-wide rail-road and gas-pipeline network and development of other transit corridor facilities. The project includes development of a port in Gwadar region, known as Gwadar port; construction of power plants which will generate 4500 MW of electric power.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor Finances

China has included CPEC into its 13th Five Year Plan which proves its importance for China. China has invested a huge sum of 46 billion dollars in Pakistan.

The investment is made in the form of highly subsidized interest loan to Pakistan. Out of this, $ 11 billion of this investment will be dedicated to development of countrywide rail-road transit network connecting Chinese Xinjiang city Kashgar to port city Gwadar.

A loan of $33 billion will be provided to private consortium under the aegis of China Pakistan Economic Corridor for development of energy generation capacity in Pakistan.

CPEC China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project

Gwadar Port and Gwadar City

The construction of a deep sea port in Gwadar region of Balochistan province started in 2002 and and initial infrastructure construction finished by 2006. Now upgrade and expansion of Port is going on under CPEC agreement. Apart from port China has also granted $230 billion build Gwadar International Airport. Apart from this China is also going to invest $4.5 billion on roads, power, hotels and other infrastructure for the industrial zone as well as other projects in Gwadar city.

Gwadar port is connecting point of Chinese ambitious One Belt One Road project and Maritime Silk Route Project.

Economic Impact on Pakistan

Pakistan views the economic corridor as a game changer in Pakistani economic development. It will generate huge revenue for government, boast private sector and industry, build world class infrastructure, attract foreign direct investment, minimize electricity deficiency to zero, supply of enough gas and oil through proposed pipe lines, create better opportunities of employment,

Pakistan has a chronic energy shortage issue and it requires 4500 MW of electricity to alleviate this crisis. Even best of its cities suffering from long power cuts. Under CPEC has private consortium will develop 10,400 MW energy generating capacity by 2020. Most of these plants are coal based but

Pakistan is critically dependent on CPEC and cannot afford losing it in any case. All government machinery, state functionaries, special agencies, media and even military all are unanimously supporting and focused on guaranteeing the success of this China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Employment Opportunities in CPEC

The CPEC is considered to generate 7,00,000 new jobs in Pakistan, which is essential for Pakistan today in order to bring their young generation in mainstream.

String of Pearls Policy of China

Gwadar port is also seen as a part of China’s strategic policy to contain India in Indian Ocean known as String of Pearls Policy. U.S. consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton was first to mention about this geopolitical theory.

China is building naval bases in the form of various ports in Indian Ocean. China has been denying about any such strategic interest and claiming it as pure economic projects but facts are contrary to Chinese claim.

According to theory, China has been establishing a network of ports, dubbed the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, extending from their own coastlines through Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, the east coast of Africa, and up through the Mediterranean to Greece.

China has been working on building 15 ports from Hong Kong to Sudan including Sittwe in Myanmar, Hambantota in Sri Lanka and a Port in Maldives.

string of pearls china cpec

The security concern of India proved to be true when Chinese navy ships came to its Sri Lankan Port, India registered a strong protest against this activity of China in Indian region. With China already building ports in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, and Myanmar, Bangladesh was the last remaining link on a chain that would leave India completely surrounded.

Indian Concern

India has raised its concern to Chinese authorities over construction in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan occupied Kashmir which is a disputed area between India and Pakistan. Under the aegis of CPEC the Karakoram Highway will be reconstructed and developed to connect China to Pakistan passes through the disputed region.

India was never against CPEC, until Chinese state media started calling Gilgit-Baltistan a Pakistani territory, which is actually a disputed region between India and Pakistan. India believes that a such development projects may address many problems in Pakistan and may bring stability there which is beneficial for the region.

Balochistan Issue and CPEC

Balochistan is least developed province of Pakistan and epicenter of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistani government has been ignoring the Baloch region since its incorporation into Pakistan. At the time of independence Balochistan was an independent princely state but later Pakistan annexed it.

Since its annexation the demand and struggle for independence is going on which is being suppressed from time to time by excessive use of force by Pakistani military by killing thousands. As Balochistan’s Gwadar city is crux of CPEC but people are raising voice against this project. Pakistan need to build install confidence in Baloch people instead of killing them.

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By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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indrakanti ajay
indrakanti ajay
5 years ago

Fantastic Content, thank you Civils daily


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