Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Downgrading Indo-Pak ties — what this means, when has it happened earlier


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Brief history of India Pak tensions

Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) has taken the decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with New Delhi

What it means

Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back


  1. This is not the first time that India and Pakistan are downgrading ties.
  2. In 2001, India pulled out it’s high commissioner to Islamabad after the JeM attack on Parliament. Pakistan reciprocated by pulling out its high commissioner.
  3. In 2003, India expelled Deputy high commissioner and Pakistan’s acting high commissioner, accusing him of espionage. Pakistan retaliated by sending back the Indian acting high commissioner.
  4. Both India and Pakistan also decided to downgrade the strength of their respective missions to 51, half of the full strength.
  5. India had suspended air, train and bus links to Pakistan.
  6. This time, Pakistan has announced its decision to recall its envoy and expel the Indian High Commissioner. 
  7. It also announced the suspension of bilateral trade, review of bilateral arrangement, taking India’s actions in Kashmir to the United Nations, and observing August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.

Background of the relationship

  1. The India-Pakistan official bilateral trade is worth about $2 billion. According to a recent report by ICRIER, it peaked to about $ 2.5 billion, but fell again after the Uri attack.
  2. India’s top exports to Pakistan are chemicals and textiles, accounting for almost 70% of the bilateral trade.
  3. Pakistan’s top exports to India are vegetable fats and oils, and minerals, accounting for about 70% of its trade with India.
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