Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Explained: Sir Creek DisputeExplained


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sir Creek

Mains level : Disputes over Sir Creek



Former Pakistan Minister recalls plan for Sir Creek pact.

Sir Creek

  • Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative.
  • The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.

What’s the dispute?

  • The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh. Before India’s independence, the provincial region was a part of the Bombay Presidency of British India.
  • But after India’s independence in 1947, Sindh became a part of Pakistan while Kutch remained a part of India.
  • Pakistan claims the entire creek as per paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 signed between then the Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch.
  • The resolution, which demarcated the boundaries between the two territories, included the creek as part of Sindh, thus setting the boundary as the eastern flank of the creek popularly known as Green Line.
  • But India claims that the boundary lies mid-channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925, and implemented by the installation of mid-channel pillars back in 1924.

The Genesis 

  • The marshland of Sir Creek first became disputed in the early 20th century when the Rao of Kutch and the Chief Commissioner of Sindh Province of British India, due to different perceptions of the boundaries, laid claims over the creek.
  • The case was taken up by then Government of Bombay, which conducted a survey and mandated its verdict in 1914.
  • This verdict has two contradictory paragraphs, which make the India and Pakistan contenders on the same issue.
  • Paragraph 9 of this verdict states that the boundary between Kutch and Sindh lies ‘to the east of the Creek,’ (Green Line) which effectively implied that the creek belonged to Sindh and, therefore, to Pakistan.
  • On the other hand, Paragraph 10 states that since Sir Creek is navigable most of the year.
  • According to international law and the Thalweg principle, a boundary can only be fixed in the middle of the navigable channel, which meant that it has be divided between Sindh and Kutch, and thereby India and Pakistan.
  • India has used this para to consistently argue that the boundary needs to be fixed in the middle of the creek.
  • Pakistan, however, claims that Sir Creek isn’t navigable but India claims that since it’s navigable in high tide, the boundary should be drawn from the mid channel.

What’s the importance of Sir Creek?

  • Apart from the strategic location, Sir Creek’s core importance is fishing resources. Sir Creek is considered to be among the largest fishing grounds in Asia.
  • Another vital reason for two countries locking horns over this creek is the possible presence of great oil and gas concentration under the sea, which are currently unexploited thanks to the impending deadlock on the issue.

UNCLOS supports India’s stand

  • If Thalweg principle is to be upheld, Pakistan would lose a considerable portion of the territory that was historically part of the province of Sindh.
  • Acceding to India’s stance would mean shifting of the land/sea terminus point several kilometres to the detriment of Pakistan, leading in turn to a loss of several thousand square kilometres of its Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

War in 1965 and tribunal

  • After the 1965 war, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostilities and set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute.
  • The verdict of the tribunal came in 1968 which saw Pakistan getting 10% of its claim of 9,000 km (3,500 sq. miles).
  • Since 1969, 12 rounds of talks have been held over the issue of Sir Creek, but both sides have denied reaching any solution.
  • The region fell amid tensions in 1999 after the Pakistan Navy shot down a MiG-21 fighter plane, but the last rounds of talks were held in 2012. Since then it’s been status quo.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Same country, different scriptop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2-Foreign relations with Pakistan, Issues and need to resume the talks.


Pakistan is changing significantly, which is good for itself and its neighbour as well.

Changing Pakistan

  • Major stakeholders in favour of peace: The civil society, the political parties, and even the military establishment of Pakistan have come to favour peaceful and cooperative relations with India.
  • Both the power-centre on the same page: Both Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan’s two centres of power, are now on the same page in seeking “honourable peace” with New Delhi on the basis of “sovereign equality”.
    • Heavy price paid by Pakistan: There is a broad consensus in Pakistani society and polity that their country has paid a very heavy price by supporting the forces of Islamist extremism and terrorism.
    • The futility of using terrorism as foreign policy: There is also consensus that using terrorism for achieving mistaken foreign policy ends in Afghanistan and India.

Conducive conditions for dialogues

  • Four factors have influenced the welcome winds of change in Pakistan.
  • First-Realisation that Pakistan has suffered a lot:
    • Harm at home and to the global image: There is the across-the-board realisation that Pakistan has suffered a lot, both domestically and in terms of damage to its global image, by supporting religious extremism and terrorism.
    • A large number of casualties: Terrorists have killed a shockingly large number of civilians -certainly far many more than in India. Several thousand soldiers have lost their lives in the army’s “war on terror”-more than the number of casualties in all the wars with India.
    • The threat of FATF blacklisting: Furthermore, Islamabad is under relentless pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to act decisively and irreversibly against terrorist organisations.
  • Second-Decrease in religious radicalisation in Pakistan
    • The decrease in the financial support to radicalism: What has contributed to the diminished importance of religious radicalism is also the shrinking inflow of petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries that promoted this agenda.
    • The ideological influence of religious radicalisation on Pakistan’s civil society is clearly declining.
    • Change in Saudi Government Policy: Export of Wahhabism is no longer a foreign policy priority of the Saudi Arabian government.
    • Changing policies in UAE: The United Arab Emirates has gone a step further, under the leadership of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it is pursuing inter-religious tolerance with a zeal that has surprised Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
  • Third-Interest of China
    • Rise of China as an economic and security partner: The third factor is China, which has emerged as Pakistan’s most important economic and security partner.
    • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and BRI: The flagship projects under Beijing’s BRI has begun to modernise Pakistan’s infrastructure spectacularly, but its security is which could be threatened by terrorism is also the concern for China.
    • Connection with China’s Xinjiang Province: China has urged Pakistan’s ruling establishment to take firm steps to curb the activities of Islamist groups because they can easily foment trouble in China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.
    • India-China relation factor: Beijing is also engaged in a steady effort to improve relations with New Delhi, in recognition of India’s rising economic and geopolitical stature in Asia and globally.
    • Possibility of India-China-Pakistan cooperation: China’s President Xi Jinping even mooted cooperation among China, India and Pakistan at Mamallapuram summit.
  • Fourth-Military establishment in favour of peace.
    • The military establishment seems to be fully convinced of the need for normalisation of India-Pakistan
    • Opening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor: The opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, perhaps the greatest confidence-building measure between the two countries since 1947, is almost entirely due to Gen. Bajwa’s personal commitment to the project.
    • The economic crisis in Pakistan: Bajwa’s is also said to be convinced of the need to open the doors for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries given a serious economic crisis Pakistan is going through.
    • Discussion on the Kashmir issue: The Pakistan Army may also be ready to discuss a solution to the Kashmir issue on the basis of a formula Gen. Pervez Musharraf had discussed with PMs Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Manmohan Singh.


India needs to seize the opportunity to resume the talks with Pakistan on all the contentious issues and try to resolve the disputes so that the improved relations could help both the countries and the neighbouring countries.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India-Pakistan TradePriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Cross LoC trade

Tensions between India and Pakistan in 2019 have reduced the already low volumes of trade between the two countries to near zero.

India-Pakistan trade, in the beginning

  • In 1948-49, about 56% of Pakistan’s exports were to India, and 32% of its imports came from India.
  • From 1948-65, India and Pakistan used a number of land routes for bilateral trade; there were eight customs stations in Pakistan’s Punjab province and three customs checkpoints in Sindh.
  • India remained Pakistan’s largest trading partner until 1955-56. Between 1947 and 1965, the countries signed 14 bilateral agreements on trade, covering avoidance of double taxation, air services, and banking, etc.
  • In 1965, nine branches of six Indian banks were operating in Pakistan.

Close to vanishing

  • Following the terrorist attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama in February, India withdrew Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status for Pakistan and raised customs duty on Pakistani imports to 200% .
  • In April, India suspended cross-LoC trade to stop the misuse of this route by Pakistan-based elements.
  • Pakistan on its part closed its airspace to India for a prolonged period.
  • The decisions by both countries, while targeted at hurting the neighbour, have severely impacted the livelihoods of individuals and families involved in cross-border trading activities.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Seize the summitop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Relations with Pakistan and need to resume the talks to resolve the issues.


India announced that it will invite all heads of government of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation member countries, including Pakistan.

Significance of the invitation

  • First since 2014: The summit will assume significance should Pakistan Prime Minister accept the invitation.
    • As it will be the first by a head of government or state of that country to India since former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister in 2014.
  • Hopes belied: Nothing came from that meeting and hopes created by the invitation were belied.
  • Failed attempts to engage: Attempts to engage after that failed, including at a previous SCO summit at Ufa in 2015.

Latest events that further reduced the engagement

  • Pulwama attack: First, there was the February 2019 Pulwama attack, India’s Balakot response, and Pakistan’s counter-response.
  • Article 370: After India did away with Jammu & Kashmir’s special status, India and Pakistan have downgraded even their diplomatic presence in each other’s countries.
  • Both the countries withdrew their high commissioners after the Article 370 issue.
  • Trade stopped completely: Bilateral trade, which had managed to survive earlier shocks to relations, has stopped completely.

Opportunities presented by SCO summit

  • “Inputs of all stakeholders”: In deciding whether to accept the invitation, the Pakistan PM will have to take into consideration “inputs of all stakeholders”.
  • A polite way of saying that the final yes or no will rest with the Pakistan Army.
  • A chance for a high-level meeting: Even if Imran Khan stays away and sends a minister instead, it would still be a chance for a high-level bilateral meeting.
  • The world wants India and Pakistan to engage: The world wants India and Pakistan to engage, and this was evident in the way the UNSC refused to take up the Kashmir issue, saying it was not the forum for it.
  • Opportunity for India to make a start: India has declared several times recently that it wants to peel away from historical foreign policy baggage.
    • India should make a start with Pakistan by making it possible for such a meeting to take place.
  • Making acceptance of invitation easier: India can make it easier for the Pakistan Prime Minister to accept the invitation.
  • Resuming trade: A start could be made by resuming trade, which has ground to a dead halt
  • Sending High Commissioner back: India can start by sending India’s High Commissioner back to his office in Islamabad.


The SCO summit presents an opportunity for both the countries to end the long hiatus in the relations which is essential for both the countries to resolve the long-standing issues and progress of both the countries.




Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Non-Nuclear Aggression AgreementPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement

Mains level : Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement

Pakistan has recently shared a list of its nuclear installations with India under the said bilateral agreement.

Exchange of list of nuclear installations

  • The list was handed over to an Indian High Commission in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India.
  • It was signed on December 31, 1988.
  • The agreement contains the provision that both countries inform each other of their nuclear installations and facilities on 1st of January every year.

What is Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement?

  • The Non-nuclear aggression agreement is a bilateral and nuclear weapons control treaty between India and Pakistan, on the reduction (or limitation) of nuclear arms.
  • Both pledged not to attack or assist foreign powers to attack on each’s nuclear installations and facilities.
  • The treaty was drafted in 1988, and signed by the PM Rajiv Gandhi and his counterpart Benazir Bhutto on 21 December 1988; it entered into force on January 1991.
  • The treaty barred its signatories to carry out a surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.
  • Starting in January 1992, India and Pakistan have annually exchanged lists of their respective military and civilian nuclear-related facilities.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU)IOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Mains level : India-Pakistan relations in recent times

  • In a unilateral decision, Pakistan has stopped exchange of postal mails with India since August 27.
  • Pakistan’s decision was taken without any prior notice and is in direct contravention of international norms.

Who regulates postal exchange between one country and another?

  • The United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU) frames rules for international mail exchange, and fixes rates for international postal services.
  • The UPU has 192 member-countries and is headquartered in Bern.
  • Constituted in 1874, the UPU has four units: the Congress, the Council of Administration, the International Bureau, and the Postal Operations Council.
  • It regulates 6.40 lakh postal outlets worldwide.
  • India joined the UPU on July 1, 1876 and Pakistan on November 10, 1947.

What has mail exchange between India and Pakistan been like?

  • Before Pakistan’s move, mailbags were being exchanged almost daily.
  • With no regular, direct flight connectivity between the two countries, mail was being routed through the Saudi Arabia air route.
  • In India, all international posts are handled through the 28 Foreign Post Offices, with those in Delhi and Mumbai designated to handle mails for Pakistan.
  • The mailbags of both countries were exchanged at airports after a customs check.
  • Other than the UPU, three agreements cover postal exchange between India and Pakistan — Exchange of Value Payable Article, 1948; Exchange of Postal Article, 1974; and International Speed Post Agreement, 1987.

Can one UPU member-country unilaterally stop postal exchange with another?

  • Under UPU rules, when a country decides to suspend exchange with a country, it must notify the operator of the other country and if possible, the duration for which services is being stopped.
  • The UPU’s International Bureau too has to be notified.
  • The International Bureau issued a Convention Manual in 2018, in which Article 17-143 details ‘Steps to be taken in Event of Temporary Suspension and Resumption of Services’.
  • If services are temporarily suspended, the designated operator concerned must be notified of the fact by telecommunications, indicating, if possible, the probable duration of the suspension of services.
  • The same procedure shall be applied when the suspended services are resumed,” the Manual reads.
  • According to the three bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan, too, a prior notice has to be served before suspending services, sources in India Post said.

So, did Pakistan skip the UPU protocol?

  • India was not given prior notice when Pakistan suspended postal exchange.
  • Even two months later, India is yet to receive a direct communication.
  • Pakistan only handed over a copy of an internal order to airline operators, which handed them to Indian representatives.
  • On August 23, the customs and postal departments of Pakistan issued an internal order stopping postal exchange with India and handed its copy it to airlines.
  • India is also unaware if Pakistan has notified the UPU about suspension of postal service with India.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Kartarpur milestoneop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India - Pakistan Kartarpur


The signing of the India-Pakistan agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor, providing visa-free access from the closest point in India, is a historic moment in relations between the two countries.

Importance of the step

  • It has come at a time when there has been high accumulated hostility. 
  • The year has been bad, starting with Pulwama, the IAF operation inside Pakistan, and the war of words over the government’s decisions in Kashmir. 
  • Kartarpur Corridor agreement is the only positive development. It came to fruition because both sides showed the good sense to delink it from the rest of the relationship. 

The self-interest of both sides

  • With so many important Sikh shrines on its side, Pakistan believes it can forge a special relationship with the Sikh community and has done so pro-actively. 
  • India cannot afford to be seen as lagging behind on this, given Punjab’s complex post-Partition political history. 
  • The agreement is a boon to the Sikh community in India, who have the opportunity to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, directly through a road from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab to the shrine. It heals one of the wounds of Partition for the Sikh community.

The issue over pilgrim charges

  • Pakistan will levy US$20 fee per pilgrim. Punjab Chief Minister called this a jazia tax, invoking specters of the medieval oppression of Sikhs by Mughals. 
  • The Indian claim that such charges are not in keeping with the religious-cultural ethos of the country is not even accurate. 
  • Big Indian temples charge worshippers for “special darshans” or “quick darshans”, and pilgrims pay these fees without complaint. 
  • China levies charges on pilgrims visiting Lake Mansarovar and India has never objected, even when the fee was hiked a few years ago. 
  • India has dropped the demand that Pakistan does not levy this charge. The amount is protected by the agreement, and any hike will have to be re-negotiated by the two governments.

Similar to IWT

  • In some ways, the Kartarpur agreement is comparable to the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.
  • It was negotiated and signed by the two countries despite the bad blood over Kashmir. 
  • That, too, was a standalone agreement of its time and has withstood the repeated shocks it has been subjected to by the bilateral ups and downs. 


Hopefully, the Kartarpur Agreement will remain as enduring as the IWT. It may be unrealistic to hope at this moment that this agreement will pave the way for a wider constructive engagement between the two countries. But it shows that the two sides are not entirely without the capability to do this.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pak. sign Kartarpur pactPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kartarpur Corridor

Mains level : Pilgrimage diplomacy and Kartarpur corridor

  • India and Pakistan finally signed an agreement to operationalize the Kartarpur corridor that will facilitate pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

About the agreement

  • The agreement is valid initially for five years.
  • India will hand over the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days in advance and those granted permission to go may be informed only four days before the proposed date of travel.
  • The agreement said pilgrims would be allowed to carry a maximum of Rs. 11,000 and a 7-kg bag that could contain drinking water, and they would not be allowed to venture beyond the shrine.
  • They would travel in the morning and return the same day.
  • However there has been no progress on resolving the disagreement over a $20 fee that Pakistan intends to levy on each traveller.

Why is Pakistan seeking fees?

  • The fees is being criticized as “jazia” tax on pilgrims from Indian side.
  • However, Pakistan has spent about Rs 1,000 crore on the Kartarpur corridor infrastructure.
  • It said it would be providing langar to the pilgrims who visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
  • It would also be providing e-rickshaws to ferry the pilgrims from Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side.

Guidelines  issued

  • According to the “do’s and don’ts” issued by the MHA children below 13 years and persons of about 75 years and above will have to travel in groups.
  • All pilgrims who propose to visit will have to necessarily register online. Registration does not confer a right to travel.
  • Pilgrims would be allowed to carry kirpans (dagger), one of the five articles of faith worn by Sikhs.
  • Smoking, drinking and use of tobacco are not allowed inside the PTB complex at Dera Baba Nanak.


Kartarpur Corridor

  • The first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, founded Khartarpur in 1504 AD on the right bank of the Ravi River. The name Kartarpur means “place of God”.
  • The corridor is being built to connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak.
  • It is held to commemorate his 550th birth anniversary celebrations on November 12.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

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


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.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Twenty years agoMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Background of Kargil War


India and Pakistan had fought three wars before the Kargil War 20 years ago: In 1948, 1965 and 1971.

Special about Kargil War

  • There was something different about the Kargil War.
  • The two countries had become declared nuclear weapon states in 1998, a war was never formally declared in 1999 and it ended without a ceasefire, as in 1948 or 1965, or a surrender document, as in 1971.
  • Moreover, it was limited to about a 150-km frontage of the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government by choice, contrary to what Lal Bahadur Shastri did in 1965 when he chose to open a front in Punjab.
  • Fought in the full glare of the media, it was a war which captured the Indian imagination.
  • As it occurred during the 1999 election campaign, the military victory was closely enmeshed with the political narrative of the period.
  • In late 1998, four generals in Pakistan conspired to launch intrusions on the LoC in the Kargil-Dras sector for the purpose of internationalising the Kashmir issue — remember, this was before 9/11 — and cutting the India lifeline to Siachen glacier.
  • By the first four months of 1999, Pakistani soldiers established approximately 140 posts and pickets.
  • The intrusions went undetected till early May when they were grossly underestimated by the Army, which thus pushed soldiers piecemeal, leading to heavy losses with no breakthrough in the initial stages.
  • The army eventually pushed more than 30,000 soldiers in the area, flooded it with Bofors guns and attained some initial success as the Indian Air Force was also brought in.
  • Eventually half of the Pakistani pickets and posts were captured by the Indian military.
  • Under huge global diplomatic pressure, Pakistan vacated the rest of the posts, which almost restored the status quo ante.

Result of war

  • In the final analysis, it was a humiliating military and diplomatic loss for Pakistan.
  • While it is true that Pakistan achieved initial tactical surprise, it failed abysmally when confronted by a determined Indian military.
  • Globally, Pakistan came to be seen as an irresponsible country despite possessing nuclear weapons.
  • The Kargil war also punctured the Pakistani myth that no conventional conflict was possible under a nuclear umbrella.
  • It demonstrated that there was enough space for a limited conflict, and that principle has only been buttressed since, as seen at Balakot.


  • Pakistan refused to learn the lessons but India established a review committee under K Subrahmanyam and followed up on most of the recommendations.
  • Twenty years on, undertaking reforms in the spirit of the Kargil review committee to prepare for the challenges for the future will be the best tribute to the 527 soldiers who lost their lives on the icy heights of Kargil.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] India’s shifting strategic concernsMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : India Pakistan and third party mediation


The U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest gaffe has introduced another thorn in what is now clearly an unsettled India-U.S. relationship. While India’s hand is not as strong as we sometimes believe it to be, there might be opportunities to leverage the international situation further down the road.

 Perceived advantage

  • If we step back and evaluate the India-Pakistan equation over the past five years, what stands out is that both sides proceeded from a perception that each holds an advantageous position.
  • India’s confidence emanated from Mr. Modi’s electoral victory in 2014 that yielded a strong Central government and expectations of stable ties with all the major powers.
  • Mostly overlooked in India, Pakistani leaders too have displayed confidence that the international environment was moving in a direction that opened options for Pakistan that were unavailable in the previous decade.
  • This included the renewed patterns of Pakistan’s ties with the U.S. and China, with the latter reassuring Pakistan and, most importantly, the Army on their respective strategic commitments and bilateral partnerships.

Pakistan’s leverage

  • China’s angle – Historically, U.S. policymakers have always sought to restore the alliance with Pakistan whenever Islamabad’s ties with China became stronger. India has borne the brunt of this recurring geopolitical dynamic.
  • Afghan Situation – Much of Pakistan’s contemporary leverage can of course also be traced to the ongoing phase of the Afghan conflict. It fended off the most dangerous phase when U.S. policy might have shifted in an adversarial direction, or instability in the tribal frontier areas might have completely exploded.
  • So, both India and Pakistan perceive themselves to be in a comfortable strategic position.

Pakistan’s benefactors

  • Both the U.S. and China have overlapping interests in regional stability and avoidance of a major subcontinental conflict.
  • While each maintains deep ties with Pakistan for different reasons, it is unclear to what extent their longer term interests coincide with India, which seeks a structural transformation in Pakistan’s domestic politics and external behaviour.
  • The U.S. and China appear content with, or probably prefer, a Pakistan with a strong Rawalpindi, along with competent civilian governance structures and an elite with a wider world view.
  • For China, a stable Pakistan can be a partner in the Belt and Road initiative and future continental industrial and energy corridors.
  • In sum, both the U.S. and China seek a strong, stable and secure Pakistan that controls its destabilising behaviour because that undermines their wider regional interests. For the U.S., a revisionist Pakistan pulls India inward and away from potential India-U.S. cooperation on Asian geopolitics.
  • For China, it undermines its industrial and connectivity projects in Pakistan, while negatively impacting India-China ties.

India’s Stand –

Maintaining that India has the right and the capacity to adopt an active defence posture — that is, blocking the flow of cross-border terror by proactive operations on the Line of Control (LoC) along with reserving the option for more ambitious punitive strikes in response to major terrorist attacks on Indian military targets — would play an important part in shaping how third parties view Indian interests and thereby assume constructive roles in managing Pakistani behaviour.


If India ever asks third parties to assist in the region, it should be for a cessation of Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir, and, once an atmosphere of peace has been established, to persuade Pakistan to accept the LoC as part of a final territorial settlement similar to the offer by Indira Gandhi in the 1972 Shimla negotiations.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed of the day] A bridge across the India-Pakistan abyssMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Impact of kartarpur talks on future bilateral talks

Note- Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. Aspirants should try to cover at least this editorial on a daily basis to have command over most important issues in news. It will help in enhancing and enriching the content in mains answers. Please do not miss at any cost.


Ties between India and Pakistan are at an ebb — their lowest in two decades. The thread from this phase, as a series of events — the Kargil war (1999), the Agra Summit (2001), the attack on Parliament (2001) and Operation Parakram (2001-02) — meant a sustained period of deep hostilities, with diplomatic missions downgraded and travel routes truncated.

Kartarpur corridor

  • What has been disconnected from all those tensions are the talks on the Kartarpur corridor.
  • That the talks have continued through one of the most difficult years in the relationship is equally remarkable; there have been three rounds of technical-level meetings to ensure both sides complete the infrastructure needed before November 2019, the 550th anniversary of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak.
  • The symbolism for pilgrims who will be able to travel from Dera Baba Nanak town in Punjab to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur just a few kilometres inside Pakistan, which are sites where Guru Nanak spent his last few years, goes well beyond the date and year.

Some irritants

  •  The Kartarpur corridor project is an issue that has been raised by India for several decades, with New Delhi’s reasons for wanting the corridor clear.
  • However, in the case of Pakistan, these have not been as transparent, with the military establishment’s surprise backing only raised doubts on whether Islamabad has an ulterior motive.

1.Allowing Separatist groups –

  • In a dossier handed over during the last round of talks on Kartarpur on July 14, India spelt out its apprehensions over Pakistan allowing separatist Khalistani groups, including those funded by groups based in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, to try and influence pilgrims.
  • Of specific concern is the ‘Referendum 2020’ plan by the Sikhs for Justice group (banned by India).

2.Drugs and Arms Supply –

  • The other irritant is the possible use of the corridor for drugs and arms movement; there are many routes and tunnels at the border between the two Punjabs.
  • The terror threat by Pakistani Punjab-based anti-India groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad is also a constant concern.

Hope for future Talks

  • With such strictures in place, New Delhi’s decision to embark on a course that will need regular and repeated India-Pakistan meetings is nothing short of a breach of its otherwise firm “no talks without terror ending” policy.
  • For example, at a time when Indian and Pakistani Ministers do not even hold talks when they meet at multilateral conferences, New Delhi sent two senior Ministers to Pakistan to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for the event.

A range of possibilities

1.Other faith-based corridors – The obvious extension from this would be for having other faith-based “corridors” for Hindu, Muslim and Sikh pilgrims in both countries; this would be in addition to the list of 20 shrines (15 in Pakistan, five in India) that were negotiated under the 1974 Protocol on visits to Religious Shrines.

2.Template for bilateral negotiations

  • The template that Kartarpur has given both sides is also worth considering for the format of other bilateral negotiations given that the talks have been immunised from both terror attacks and election rhetoric.
  • The venue of the talks, at the Attari-Wagah zero point, lends itself to more successful outcomes too away from the glare of the media, without focus on arrangements for both parties.
  • The two sides can cross over, meet for the duration of talks and return after issuing a pre-arranged joint statement.

Impact of FATF

  • Ahead of the next plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October, Pakistan will remain under pressure to keep terror groups subdued.
  • According to various reports, infiltration figures at the LoC are significantly lower (a 43% reduction since the Balakot strikes in February); officials have marked about 20 terror camps in PoK they believe have been “shut down” recently.
  • Civilian and military casualties from ceasefire violations have also reduced.

Way Forward

Thus, it would be a travesty to waste the opportunity made possible by the Kartarpur corridor, and by extension, the founder of the Sikh faith himself (revered by Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan) to bring both countries back to the table for talks.


Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] A global labelMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Way forward to ensure UNSC's labelling of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.


Masood Azhar’s listing as a designated terrorist by the UN Security Council at long last closes an important chapter in India’s quest to bring the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief to justice.


  • He eluded the designation for 20 years, despite his release in 1999 in exchange for hostages after the IC-814 hijack, and his leadership of the JeM as it carried out dozens of deadly attacks in India, including the Parliament attack of 2001, and more recent ones like the Pathankot airbase attack in 2016 and the Pulwama police convoy bombing this year.
  • China’s opposition to the listing has long been a thorn in India’s side, given the toll Azhar and the JeM have exacted, and Beijing’s veto of the listing three times between 2009 and 2017 had driven a wedge in India-China relations.
  • Despite the frustration over China’s last hold on a proposal moved by the U.S., the U.K., and France just weeks after Pulwama, the government has done well to approach Beijing with what the Ministry of External Affairs called “patience and persistence”.


  • No mention of Mr. Azhar’s role –There is much disappointment, however, over the final listing released by the Security Council, with no mention of Mr. Azhar’s role in any of the attacks against India, or directing the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Pulwama reference dropped – A specific reference to Pulwama, which was in the original proposal, was also dropped, presumably to effect China’s change of mind on the issue.
  • Pakistan’s claims of a victory in this are hardly credible; Masood Azhar is one of about twenty 1267-sanctioned terrorists who have Pakistani nationality, and more are based there, which is hardly a situation that gives it cause for pride.
  • It is necessary to recognise that India’s efforts and those of its partners in the Security Council have been rewarded with a UNSC designation at its 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee. The focus must now move to ensuring its full implementation in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Track record

  • Pakistan’s actions against others on the 1267 list have been far from effective, and in many cases obstructionist.
  • Hafiz Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba chief, roams free, addresses rallies, and runs a political party and several NGOs without any government restrictions.
  • LeT’s operations commander Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi was granted bail some years ago despite the UNSC sanctions mandating that funds and assets to the sanctioned individuals must be frozen.

Way forward

  • It will take constant focus from New Delhi, and a push from the global community, to ensure that Masood Azhar is not just starved of funds, arms and ammunition as mandated, but that he is prosecuted in Pakistan for the acts of terror he is responsible for.
  • Azhar and his JeM must lose all capacity to carry out attacks, particularly across the border.
  • Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force will also be watching Pakistan’s next moves closely, ahead of a decision, that could come as early as in June, on whether to “blacklist” Pakistan or keep it on the “greylist”.
  • Both financial and political pressure should be maintained on Islamabad to bring the hard-fought designation of Masood Azhar to its logical conclusion.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] India’s perilous obsession with PakistanMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Obsession with Pakistan is detrimental for India's growth in political as well as economic sphere


Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner, with the Prime Minister and other Ministers’ relentless branding of the Congress/Opposition as ‘anti-national’ and as ‘agents of Pakistan’. Further, the Prime Minister even made an unprecedented threat of using nuclear weapons against Pakistan.The hyper-nationalistic frenzy to ‘defeat’ Pakistan comes with huge human and material costs.

Historical Hostility

  • As a country born of the two-nation theory based on religion, and then having to suffer dismemberment and the consequent damage to the very same religious identity, it is obvious why Islamic Pakistan must have a hostile Other in the form of a ‘Hindu India’.
  • But what is not obvious is why India, a (much larger) secular nation, must have a hostile antagonist in the form of Pakistan.

Self-defeating goal

  • It is widely recognised that the fulcrum of the Pakistani state and establishment is an anti-India ideology and an obsession with India.
  • But what has scarcely received notice is that India’s post-Independence nationalism has been equally driven by an obsession with Pakistan. .
  • Huge cost associated with jingoism – But, this hyper-nationalistic urge to ‘defeat’ Pakistan and to gloat over every victory, both real and claimed, is ultimately self-defeating, and comes with huge human and material costs. Much of these costs are hidden by jingoism masquerading as nationalism.

Self destructive to Pakistan

  • Words often used regarding the Pakistani state’s actions, even by critical Pakistani voices, are ‘delusional’ and ‘suicidal’, and rightly so.
  • For, no level-headed state would seek to attain military parity with a country that is six and half times larger in population, and eight and a half times bigger economically.
  •  Disproportionate spending on the military  –Hussain Haqqani, the Pakistani diplomat and scholar, compared it to “Belgium rivalling France or Germany”. Pakistan’s vastly disproportionate spending on the military has been self-destructive for a poor nation.
  •  Ruinous policies – In 1990, Pakistan was ahead of India by three places in the Human Development Index. In 2017, Pakistan was behind India by 20 ranks, a sad reflection of its ruinous policies.
  • Sponsorship of Islamist terror groups – More critically, the Pakistani state’s sponsorship of Islamist terror groups has been nothing less than catastrophic.
  •  Victims of Islamist terrorism – What the world, including India, does not recognise is that Pakistan, ironically, is also one of the worst victims of Islamist terrorism.
  • In the period 2000-2019, 22,577 civilians and 7,080 security personnel were killed in terrorism-related violence in Pakistan (the number of civilian/security personnel deaths from Islamist terrorism in India, excluding Jammu and Kashmir, was 926 in during 2000-2018).

Muscular policy

1.No dialogue’ policy –

The fact that Pakistan has suffered much more than India in their mutual obsession cannot hide the equally serious losses that India has undergone and is willing to undergo in its supposedly muscular pursuit of a ‘no dialogue’ policy with Pakistan.

 2. Human and economic costs

  • Wars and military competition produce madness. Nothing exemplifies this more than India-Pakistan attempts to secure the Siachen Glacier, the inhospitable and highest battle terrain in the world.
  • India alone lost nearly 800 soldiers (until 2016) to weather-related causes only. Besides, it spends around Rs. 6 crore every day in Siachen.
  • Operation Parakram (2001-02), in which India mobilised for war with Pakistan, saw 798 soldier deaths and a cost of $3 billion. This is without fighting a war. Add to this the human and economic costs of fighting four wars.

Power Complex in Sub continent

Ten years ago, Stephen P. Cohen, the prominent American scholar of South Asia, called the India-Pakistan relationship “toxic” and notably termed both, and not just Pakistan, as suffering from a “minority” or “small power” complex in which one is feeling constantly “threatened” and “encircled”.

Why is India competing with Pakistan?

  • Here, one should ask the most pertinent question: why does India compete with Pakistan in every sphere, from military to sport, rather than with, say, China, which is comparable in size and population, and which in 1980 had the same GDP as India? (China’s GDP is almost five times that of India’s now.)
  • Of course, emulating China need not mean emulating its internal authoritarianism or its almost colonial, external economic expansionism.
  • On the contrary, it is to learn from China’s early success in universalising health care and education, providing basic income, and advancing human development, which as Amartya Sen has argued, is the basis of its economic miracle. It is precisely here that India has failed, and is continuing to fail.
  • Therefore, despite India being one of the fastest growing major economies in the world since 1991 (yet, only ranked 147 in per capita income in 2017), its social indicators in many areas, including health, education, child and women welfare, are abysmal in comparison with China’s.
  • Worryingly, in the focus on one-upmanship with Pakistan, India’s pace in social indicator improvement has been less than some poorer economies too. The phenomenal strides made by Bangladesh in the social sector are an example.


  • The more India, the largest democracy in the world, defines itself as the Other of Pakistan, a nation practically governed by the military, the more it will become its mirror. Any nation that thrives by constructing a mythical external enemy must also construct mythical internal enemies.
  • That is why the number of people labelled ‘anti-national’ is increasing in India. India has to rise to take its place in the world.
  • That place is not being a global superpower, but being the greatest and most diverse democracy in the world. That can only happen if it can get rid of its obsession with Pakistan.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] LoC trade, in perspectiveMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LoC

Mains level : Suspending trade across Loc might not prove to be a good idea.


India last week suspended the cross-LoC trade, alleging misuse of the facility by individuals linked to terrorist groups.


1. Origin of trade – These measures seems to have originated in a four-point proposal for Kashmir that began to get regular airing from about 2005 from then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf. The four points were:

    • The LoC will stay but Kashmiris on both sides will be allowed to move freely back and forth;
    • Self-governance or autonomy to the region, but not independence;
    • Gradual demilitarisation on both sides;
    • A joint supervision mechanism with India, Pakistan and Kashmir represented on it.
  • In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke about “soft borders” and “making borders irrelevant” in Kashmir.
  • On July 7 that year, the Indian Embassy in Kabul was bombed, killing an Indian diplomat and a senior Army officer and several Afghans. The US and India said the ISI was behind the bombing.
  • But the India-Pakistan foreign secretaries’ talks were held as scheduled later that month on July 21 under the composite dialogue format, and they agreed to the opening of trade routes across the LoC.

The two sides then rushed to finalise the details in the following weeks, including at a meeting of the “working group of cross LoC CBMs” on September 22, 2008.

Positive Response

  • Both sides of Kashmir welcomed the opening of the trade routes.
  • PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said at the time “it is a dream come true”, and Sardar Attique Khan, the prime minister of POK, named the day “Youm-e-Karvaan-e-Commerce” (Day of the Caravan of Commerce).
  • The Mumbai attacks put a freeze on India-Pakistan relations, but the cross-LoC trade remained unaffected by that.

Hiccups and demands

  • The agreement was for zero duty trade for a list of 21 items.
  • It ran into problems almost immediately as traders on both sides floundered on currency and communication issues.

1. Establishment of Intra Jammu & Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IJ&KCCI) – A chamber of commerce, called the Intra Jammu & Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IJ&KCCI), came into existence.


Banking Relations – They pointed to the need for banking relations and mutual acceptance of letters of credit, a communication network, a regulatory network to determine the composition of trade, and a legal network for dispute resolution.

Expansion of list, travel arrangements – The joint chamber recommended expansion of the list of items for trade, facilitation of travel and traders’ access to each other, infrastructure facilities, banking services, use of dual currency of both countries as the mode of payment with the US dollar as the reference point, inclusion of the services sector, and opening of more trade routes.

Complaints – There were complaints that the trade had expanded to include non-Kashmiri goods. The complaints were particularly loud from the traders at Wagah border who catered to the same markets and were envious of the zero-duty cross LoC trade.

Previous suspension

  • Once in 2015, trade was suspended for 40 days after drugs were discovered in a truck from Muzaffarabad.
  • The longest suspension came during the post-Burhan Wani killing agitation in the Valley, for three months.
  • There were other brief spells when trade was suspended, mostly at Chakan da Bagh, on account of heavy cross-border shelling.
  • However, Kashmiris point out that trade has never been suspended for under-invoicing or other such violations at any other port in the country where Customs and other enforcement officials strictly monitor the inflows and outflows, and the same could have been done at the LoC.
  • As for the involvement of former militants in the trade, this was seen as a welcome development towards creating “constituencies of peace” and building stakes for normalcy in the Valley.

Benefits of trade

  • In 2011, a four page report called Intra Kashmir Trade, jointly prepared by the Delhi-based IPCS, Conciliation Resources of London, and the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, said cross border trade had proved it could be insulated from the ups and downs in the India-Pakistan relationship, and had begun to establish a “bottom up” approach to peace-building.
  • Trade has attracted divided families and some former combatants and provided a non-violent and alternative vision for change and conflict transformation,” the report said.
  • It spoke about 40 former militants who had chosen to participate in the economic activity.
  • More than its value in currency terms, the cross Loc trade holds much symbolic value in Jammu & Kashmir, especially in the Poonch-Rawalakot sector, where there are more divided families and villages than at the Uri crossing point.
  • They would be hoping that the current suspension is not permanent.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] A bad dealMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LoC

Mains level : Suspending trade across Loc mightnot prove to be a good idea.


Suspension of LoC trade is a poorly-thought move that shrinks the space for manoeuvre in Kashmir and with Pakistan.

Importance of trade

1.Confidence building In Kashmir – That it was launched at all, and survived the deep freeze of India-Pakistan ties that followed 26/11, growing in value and symbolic importance to Kashmiris on either side of the LoC over the next decade, was due to the all around acknowledgment that Kashmir needs special specific confidence-building measures, and that these need to be kept separate from the India-Pakistan relationship.

2.Symbolic Value – Cross LoC interaction carried huge symbolic value in Kashmir, even though the trade itself has been far below its actual potential, and was tied up with red tape and the absence of banking facilities and telephone connections.

3.High Monetary Value – Moreover, it was being conducted through a barter system, as India and Pakistan could not reach agreement on currency transactions, even though its annual value grew from Rs 1 crore in 2008-09 to over Rs 3,000 crore at the present time.

1.Misuse of trade

  • It is unfortunate that the government has decided to “suspend” this Kashmir-specific confidence building measure now on the ground that it was being misused to push drugs, weapons and counterfeit currency into the Valley from across the border, as well as for trade in goods excluded from the list meant for cross-LoC trade.
  • After all, no trade routes into India are free from misuse.

2.Hawala –

  • Hawala, despite a severe crackdown, continues to exist as a channel through which Indians continue to send and receive money from abroad.
  • In the case of Kashmir, the absence of banking channels must have exacerbated the situation.

Alternatives –

1.Monitoring of trade routes-

  • If the government had apprehensions that the trade across the two sides of Kashmir was being used by terrorist benamis or other unscrupulous elements, the better course of action would have been to monitor the crossing points at Uri and Chakkan da Bagh through which it was taking place four times a week.
  • This is all in a day’s work for customs and other enforcement agencies, and this is how drugs were caught being smuggled in trucks from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.


1. Signals loss of control – Calling off an entire trade route because it is being misused by some sends out the message that the government has lost control, as with the highway closure.

2. Push to alienation – Plus, drawing increasingly tighter red lines in Kashmir, India only makes it more difficult for itself to get out of the corners it has painted itself into when the time for dialogue comes, as it will eventually.

3. Election motives – But if this has been done to create the impression in the rest of the country in the midst of election season that the government is unsparing with Kashmiris, it can only be described as cutting the nose to spite the face.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap]A case for aggressive diplomacy: on India-Pakistan relationsop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:Not Much

Mains level: India Should Change it’s Response and strategy from defensive to aggressive.



Tensions between Pakistan and India post Pulwama are rising and diffusing at the same time.

Confusing behaviour

  • akistan alleged on March 5 that it had thwarted the entry of an Indian submarine into its waters. India responded that Pakistan was indulging in false propaganda.
  • On the same evening, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry issued a statement that its High Commissioner to India, Sohail Mahmood, would be returning to Delhiand talks with India on the Kartarpur Corridor would go ahead.

Agenda  behind such acts

  • Pakistan, through its morning assertion, was playing to its domestic audience, while its evening statement was a signal to the international community that it had no further desire to climb the escalation ladder with India.

Winding Down Tensions

  • It was U.S. President Donald Trump who provided the first clear indication of the involvement of major powers in defusing tensions between India and Pakistan.
  •  If the Indian intention post-Pulwama was to isolate Pakistan, that doesn’t seem to have happened.
  • For the two governments, given that the score was level — one had shot down a F-16 and the other had shot down an MiG-21 — they could now respond positively to global concerns.
  • There is little doubt that India got away with its pre-emptive strike in Balakot because Pakistan’s denials that it has nothing to do with fostering groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) carry no credibility, including among thinking members of its own civil society.
  • Further, the JeM even claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror strike.

Past conflicts and Tensions

  • The India-Pakistan nuclear ‘deterrent’ was first put to test by General Pervez Musharraf, who planned the Kargil incursion months after Pakistan went publicly nuclear in response to the Indian nuclear tests of May 11 and 13, 1998.
  • As India began clearing the Kargil heights of the Pakistani Northern Light Infantry masquerading as ‘mujahideen’, there was enormous pressure on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to use the Indian Air Force across the Line of Control after the loss of two MiG aircraft.
  •  But Vajpayee held firm against both public and IAF pressure.
  • Pakistan’s conduct during Kargil exposed the state as irresponsible and led to numerous international calls for respecting the LoC.
  • Pakistan went to great lengths to obtain its nuclear capability to insulate itself against India and no “miltablishment” can survive there if it’s unable to even the score with India. The nuclear option is built into the trajectory of its survival as a state.
  • During the Kargil war in 1999, after the Parliament attack in 2001, and post the Mumbai attack in 2008, two Prime Ministers of India had the option of retaliation, but they did not exercise it.
  • Instead, India’s patience projected the responsible nature of the state, which was in stark opposition to Pakistan’s tattered credibility.

Way Forward

  • A conventional response to terrorist groups can demonstrate intent, but does very little to whittle down their abilities.
  • Covert capabilities coupled with deft and persistent diplomacy is the only way forward in such difficult circumstances.
  • The government’s inability to reach out to Kashmiris and its actions against the Hurriyat leadership at a time when the separatists have lost control of the public mood underline an uncaring attitude.
  • This has also created a fertile ground for Kashmiri youth to join terrorist ranks.
  • Indian state responses cannot be reactive to the agenda of terrorist groups, howsoever brutal their actions are.
  • A calm, mature, informed and long-term strategy with aggressive diplomacy at its core, one that leverages India’s economic strength, remains the country’s best bet to deal with the terrorist threat from Pakistani soil.



Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Explained: How a Prisoner of War must be treatedIOCR


Mains Paper 2: IR | Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Geneva Convention

Mains level: Prospects of the Geneva Convention



  • India has demanded the immediate return of IAF pilot Wg Cdr Abhinandan captured by Pakistan after his Mig-21 fighter aircraft was shot down in PoK during a dogfight with Pakistani fighter jets.
  • India has also lashed out at the “vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention”.
  • A look at the provisions of the Geneva Conventions:

The Geneva Conventions

  • The 1949 Geneva Conventions are a set of international treaties that ensure that warring parties conduct themselves in a humane way with non-combatants such as civilians and medical personnel, as well as with combatants no longer actively engaged in fighting, such as prisoners of war, and wounded or sick soldiers.
  • All countries are signatories to the Geneva Conventions.
  • There are four conventions, with three protocols added on since 1949.

Does the captured pilot count as a prisoner of war?

  • The provisions of the conventions apply in peacetime situations, in declared wars, and in conflicts that are not recognised as war by one or more of the parties.
  • Even though India and Pakistan have been careful not to use the ‘w’ word for the operations each has conducted on the other’s territory over two successive days.
  • India has said its airstrikes were a “non-military” intelligence-led operation — both sides are bound by the Geneva Conventions.
  • This means the IAF officer is a prisoner of war, and his treatment has to be in accordance with the provisions for PoWs under the Geneva Conventions.

What are the provisions for PoWs?

  • The treatment of prisoners of war is dealt with by the Third Convention or treaty.
  • Its 143 articles spread over five sections and annexure are exhaustive, and deal with every kind of situation that may arise for a captive and captor, including the place of internment, religious needs, recreation, financial resources, the kinds of work that captors can make PoWs do, the treatment, and the repatriation of prisoners.
  • The Third Convention is unambiguous about how prisoners must be treated: “humanely”.
  • And the responsibility for this lies with the detaining power, not just the individuals who captured the PoW.

What rights is a PoW entitled to?

  • Article 14 of the Convention lays down that PoWs are “entitled to in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour”.
  • In captivity, a PoW must not be forced to provide information of any kind under “physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion”.
  • Refusal to answer questions should not invite punishment. A PoW must be protected from exposure to fighting.
  • Use of PoWs as hostages or human shields is prohibited, and a PoW has to be given the same access to safety and evacuation facilities as those affiliated to the detaining power.
  • Access to health facilities, prayer, recreation and exercise are also written into the Convention.
  • The detaining power has to facilitate correspondence between the PoW and his family, and must ensure that this is done without delays.
  • A PoW is also entitled to receive books or care packages from the outside world.

Releasing prisoners

  • Parties to the conflict “are bound to send back” or repatriate PoWs, regardless of rank, who are seriously wounded or sick, after having cared for them until they are fit to travel”.
  • The conflicting parties are expected to write into any agreement they may reach to end hostilities the expeditious return of PoWs.
  • Parties to the conflict can also arrive at special arrangements for the improvement of the conditions of internment of PoWs, or for their release and repatriation.
  • At the end of the 1971 war, India had more than 80,000 Pakistani troops who had surrendered to the Indian Army after the liberation of Dhaka.
  • India agreed to release them under the Shimla Agreement of 1972.

Monitoring the Geneva Conventions

  • The Geneva Conventions have a system of “Protecting Powers” who ensure that the provisions of the conventions are being followed by the parties in a conflict.
  • In theory, each side must designate states that are not party to the conflict as their “Protecting Powers”.
  • In practice, the International Committee of the Red Cross usually plays this role.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Explained: Decoding the OIC’s invite to ‘Guest of Honour’ IndiaPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: OIC

Mains level: Implications of India’s invite to OIC


  • India overcame a five-decade-old hurdle to get itself invited to Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meet.
  • It is a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world.
  • The meeting will be held in Abu Dhabi on March 1 and 2, for which Swaraj has been invited by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister of the UAE as the “Guest of Honour”.

Why the OIC matters

  • The OIC — formerly Organisation of Islamic Conference — is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the UN, with a membership of 57 states in four continents.
  • The OIC describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.
  • Its stated objective is “to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world”.

Membership of OIC

  • The OIC has reserved its membership for Muslim-majority countries.
  • Russia, Thailand, and couple of other small countries have Observer status.
  • At the 45th session in May 2018, Bangladesh, the host country, had suggested that India, where more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live, should be given Observer status.
  • However Pakistan had opposed the proposal.

Why India is the Guest of Honour?

I. Improved ties with UAE, Saudi

  • The first-time invitation to India to be a Guest of Honour at the Plenary, especially at a time of heightened tensions with Pakistan is a significant diplomatic victory.
  • The invitation indicated “the desire of the enlightened leadership of the UAE to go beyond our rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level”.
  • It is considered as a milestone in our comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE.

II. Hosting the Prince

  • The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was a very special Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations in 2017.
  • It was the first time that India laid out the Republic Day red carpet for a leader who was neither a Head of State nor Head of Government.
  • The invite may be an important outcome of the MBS visit, apart from being an indication of New Delhi’s improved ties with both Saudi and the UAE, and the Gulf region as a whole.

But, it has been pro-Pak on J&K

  • The OIC has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and has issued statements criticizing the alleged Indian activities in the state.
  • The 2017 session of the Council of OIC Foreign Ministers had adopted a resolution “reaffirming the unwavering support… for the Kashmiri people in their just cause.
  • At the 2018 meeting in Dhaka, however, “J&K” figured in only one of the 39 resolutions adopted, that too, along with 12 other states or regions worldwide.
  • Pakistan had complained about the Dhaka Declaration, and accused Bangladesh of circulating the text very late.

A new India-Pak tussle is expected

  • Indeed, India has excellent relations individually with almost all member nations of the OIC.
  • This is a reason why it can at times afford to not take the statements issued by the group as a whole seriously.
  • Despite the invitation to MEA — who can be expected to bring up the terrorist attacks in India in her address — it is important to watch what line the OIC takes on J&K in its final declaration.
  • It is certain that Pakistan would be making every effort and behind-the-scenes negotiations for a statement on Kashmir, perhaps using last year’s report of the UN Human Rights Office that criticized India.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[pib] Indus Waters Treaty 1960 : Present Status of Development in IndiaPIBPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Permanent Indus Commission, Indus Water Treaty

Mains level: Rising tensions between India and Pakistan over various issues


Indus Waters Treaty, 1960

  1. The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank signed in Karachi in 1960.
  2. According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three “eastern” rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India
  3. The control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan
  4. The treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic, industrial and non-consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects
  5. India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run of the river (RoR) projects on the Western Rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation is unrestricted.

Present Status of Development

  1. To utilize the waters of the Eastern rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use, India has constructed Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi.
  2. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, Indira Gandhi Nahar Project etc has helped India utilize nearly entire share (95 %) of waters of Eastern rivers.
  3. However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilized to Pakistan below Madhopur.
  4. The three projects will help India to utilize its entire share of waters given under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960:

I. Resumption of Construction of Shahpurkandi project

  • It is a dam project under construction on Ravi River.

II. Construction of Ujh multipurpose project

  • It is a dam project under construction on Ujh , a tributary of Ravi River.

III. 2nd Ravi Beas link below Ujh

  • This project is being planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through river Ravi, even after construction of Thein Dam.
  • It aims constructing a barrage across river Ravi for diverting water through a  tunnel link to Beas basin.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Explained: What is MFN status, how can India hurt Pak by withdrawing itPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: MFN status, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, WTO

Mains level: India-Pakistan trade relationship


  • In a major terrorist attack, 40+ CRPF personnel were martyred in J&K’s Pulwama district when a terrorist attacked with an explosives laden vehicle into one of the vehicles of the CRPF convoy.
  • In response to the effect, India withdrew MFN status accorded to Pakistan.

MFN status to Pakistan

  1. India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after the formation of WTO.
  2. Pakistan still hasn’t granted India with MFN status. On the other hand, it came up with a dissimilar but globally popular Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) agreement.
  3. The reason Pakistan has chosen to adopt the NDMA with India is due to political mistrust and a history of border conflicts.
  4. On November 2, 2011, the Pakistani cabinet decided formally to accord India MFN status. But that decision remains unimplemented.

Trade between India and Pakistan

  1. Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stands at $2.61 billion.
  2. The major commodities and goods in which both countries trade include cement, sugar, organic chemicals, cotton, man-made filaments, vegetables and certain fruits and tubers, mineral fuels, mineral oils, salts, earths, stone, lime, dry fruits, steel and plastering material.
  3. In FY17, India-Pakistan trade was a mere $2.29 billion, or about 0.35% of India’s overall trade.

Does MFN mean preferential treatment?

  1. In literal explanation, MFN doesn’t mean preferential treatment.
  2. Instead it means non-discriminatory trade that ensures that the country receiving MFN status will not be in a disadvantageous situation compared to the granter’s other trade partners.
  3. When a country receives MFN status, it is expected to raise trade barriers and decrease tariffs.
  4. It is also expected to open up the market to trade in more commodities and free flow of goods.

Pros of MFN

  1. MFN status is extremely gainful to developing countries.
  2. The clear upsides are access to a wider market for trade goods, reduced cost of export items owing to highly reduced tariffs and trade barriers.
  3. These essentially lead to more competitive trade.
  4. MFN also cuts down bureaucratic hurdles and various kinds of tariffs are set at par for all imports.
  5. It then increases demands for the goods and giving a boost to the economy and export sector.
  6. It also heals the negative impact caused to the economy due to trade protectionism.


  1. The decision by India to withdraw MFN status to Pakistan is intended to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and squeeze the country’s industry.
  2. Even though the low volumes of trade limit the impact that such a step can have, the stoppage of input materials such as chemicals and cotton from India will push up costs of production for the relevant Pakistani industries.
  3. However, it will also give a handle to extremist elements in Pakistan to scale up the rhetoric against India.


What is MFN Status?

  1. Most Favoured Nation is a treatment accorded to a trade partner to ensure non-discriminatory trade between two countries vis-a-vis other trade partners.
  2. Article 1 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 1994, requires every member country of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to accord Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to all other member countries.
  3. Under WTO rules, a member country cannot discriminate between its trade partners.
  4. If a special status is granted to a trade partner, it must be extended to all members of the WTO.

Benefits of MFN

  1. MFN essentially guarantees the most favourable trade conditions between two countries.
  2. These terms include the lowest possible trade tariffs, the least possible trade barriers and very crucial to trade relations– highest import quotas.
  3. The WTO rules allow discrimination in certain cases like in cases when a country signs free trade agreements in a region.
  4. In that situation, a country may grant special favours and trade concessions to a country as compared to non-member countries of that group.


  1. The main disadvantage is that the country has to give the same treatment to all other trade partners who are members of the WTO.
  2. This translates into a price war and vulnerability of the domestic industry as a result.
  3. The country is not able to protect domestic industry from the cheaper imports and in this price war, some domestic players have to face heavy losses or growth restrictions.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Why SAARC is still relevantop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR|  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate..

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics aspects of SAARC

Mains level: The newscard discusses the relevance and issues with respect to SAARC, in a brief manner.


  • Imran Khan earned a lot of popular support in Pakistan by opening up the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara to Sikh yatris from across the border with India. He talked of “peace and trade” and was hailed by the man in the street.
  • In fact, Prime Minister Khan was so sure of “real” public support that he began toying with the idea of mid-term polls to bag a two-thirds majority in parliament that would enable him to change the laws which obstruct his political agenda.


  1. The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has come under serious scrutiny in the last few years. Even after three decades of its existence, SAARC’s performance has been less than satisfactory, and its role in strengthening regional cooperation is being questioned.
  2. SAARC faced setback after the 19th summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan in 2016 was suspended for an indefinite period, as member countries declined to participate, pointing to what they said was the absence of a conducive regional environment.
  3. Though SAARC has established itself as a regional forum, it has failed to attain its objectives. Numerous agreements have been signed and institutional mechanisms established under SAARC, but they have not been adequately implemented.
  4. The South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) is often highlighted as a prominent outcome of SAARC, but that, too, is yet to be implemented. Despite SAFTA coming into effect as early as 2006, the intra-regional trade continues to be at a meagre five percent.

Lack of trust among the member countries

  • In the many failures of SAARC, lack of trust among the member countries has been the most significant factor between India and Pakistan. In recent times, Pakistan’s non-cooperation has stalled some major initiatives under SAARC.
  • For example, despite India’s keen interest in cooperating and strengthening intra-regional connectivity by backing the SAARC–MVA during the 18th summit of SAARC, the agreement was stalled following Pakistan’s reluctance.
  • Similarly, the SAARC satellite project that India proposed was abandoned following objection from Pakistan in 2016.

Security cooperation

  • SAARC has also faced obstacles in the area of security cooperation. A major hindrance in this regard has been the lack of consensus on threat perceptions, since member countries disagree on the idea of threats.
  • For instance, while cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan is a major concern for India, Pakistan has failed to address these concerns.

Other significant reasons for SAARC’s failures include the following:

  1. The asymmetry between India and other member countries in terms of geography, economy, military strength and influence in the global arena make the smaller countries apprehensive. They perceive India as “Big Brother” and fear that it might use the SAARC to pursue hegemony in the region. The smaller neighbouring countries, therefore, have been reluctant to implement various agreements under SAARC.
  2. SAARC does not have any arrangement for resolving disputes or mediating conflicts. Disputes among the member countries often hamper consensus building, thus slowing down the decision-making process. SAARC’s inability in this regard has been detrimental to its growth.
  3. Given SAARC’s failures, member countries have turned to bilateralism, which in turn has adversely affected the organisation. Bilateralism is an easier option since it calls for dealings between only two countries, whereas SAARC—at a regional level—requires one country to deal with seven countries.
  4. Thus, bilateralism decreases the countries’ dependence on SAARC to achieve their objectives, making them less interested in pursuing initiatives at a regional level.
  5. SAARC faces a shortage of resources, and countries have been reluctant to increase their contributions.
  6. Lack of connectivity between different SAARC countries is another reason for the lackluster performance of SAARC so far. Trade and other relations between India and Afghanistan are hampered by the fact that they don’t share any border and connectivity through Pakistan, and is dependent upon good relations between India and Pakistan.

Why SAARC is still relevant

  1. Although it has not met the expectations it has generated, but it gives opportunities for the leaders as well as the operating level officials to interact regularly and discuss issues of mutual concern is reason enough for SAARC to remain relevant.
  2. The problems faced by the SAARC countries are similar and distinct from other regions. The solutions, therefore, are best found with mutual cooperation in the region. For this reason itself SAARC continues to be relevant.
  3. There is no denying the fact that growth in trade and commerce within the region is an extremely important step in this direction. Agreements for this purpose that have been signed earlier do exist. What is required is to operationalise these. If for whatever reasons some countries are not in a position to do so, it will be better for those countries that can do so to move forward.

Way forward

  1. What is also required is for SAARC to concentrate its activities in core identified areas and not lose its direction by getting involved in too many activities. Since India is literally the pivot around which SAARC revolves, the major responsibility for making SAARC a success is upon India. It, therefore, needs to show willingness and undertake asymmetric responsibilities where required.
  2. To give momentum to this process, one or two projects at the sub-regional level could be identified and vigorously implemented within a specific time frame. These projects, if successful, can show the benefits of mutual cooperation and could persuade the doubting Thomas’s to join in.
  3. Each SAARC country also has to realize that while the political situation in individual countries may keep on changing, the economic situation does not change so rapidly and, as it exists, requires really serious efforts for improvement.
  4. At the end of the day, it is the economy which matters for the impoverished people of the region. SAARC can and should be the instrument for leaders of the region to improve the economic situation of the people of the region, even if to begin with, it is in baby steps.
  5. To make SAARC more effective, the organisation must be reformed and member countries must reach a consensus regarding the changes required. However, considering the differences that exist among the members, particularly between India and Pakistan, such a consensus will be difficult to reach. Until the member countries resolve their issues, the future of SAARC remains uncertain.


What Is SAARC & SAARC Countries?

  1. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.  Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  SAARC was founded in Dhaka in 1985.
  2. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu.
  3. The organization promotes the development of economic and regional integration.
  4. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
  5. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nation as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities.

Observers Of SAARC: – 

States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.

Objectives Of SAARC:-

The objectives shall be:

  1. To promote the welfare of the peoples of SOUTH ASIA and to improve their quality of life.
  2. To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural developmentin the region.
  3. Toprovide all individuals with the opportunity to live in dignity and to realise their full potentials.
  4. To promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of SOUTH ASIA
  5. To contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another are problems.
  6. To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
  7. To strengthen cooperationwith other developing countries.
  8. To strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests.
  9. To cooperate with international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes.

SAARC Law Conference

  • It was established in Sri Lanka in 1991.
  • Since then conference has provided a platform for legal professionals from South Asian region to meet and discuss issues of mutual interests pertaining to justice, legal reforms, good governance and enforcement over a span of 25 years.
  • 14th Conference held in Colombo, SL in October 2017

With inputs from:  ORF

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installationsPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Non-nuclear Aggression Agreement

Mains level: India-Pakistan Strategic Relations


  • India and Pakistan has exchanged for the 28th consecutive year a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.

Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement

  1. It is a bilateral and nuclear weapons control treaty between India and Pakistan, on the reduction (or limitation) of nuclear arms and pledged not to attack or assist foreign powers to attack on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.
  2. It was signed on December 31, 1988 and came into force on January 27, 1991.
  3. The agreement says that the two countries will inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on January 1 of every calendar year.
  4. The two countries have adhered to the practice of exchanging the lists of prisoners and nuclear installations despite recurring tensions.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] The China-Pakistan love affair in troubled watersop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CPEC, Belt & Road initiative

Mains level: New challenges for CPEC and Sino-Pak bilateral relations


Strain in Sino-Pak relationship

  1. Recently, the Chinese consulate in Karachi came under attack with three gunmen trying to enter it and killing four people in the process
  2. The Balochistan Liberation Army took responsibility for the attack
  3. This attack is part of a series of assaults on Chinese projects and personnel in the restive province of Balochistan over the years as China’s footprint has grown in the region

Turmoil in Balochistan

  1. Balochistan sits at the very heart of the ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China’s flagship investment project in Pakistan
  2. Despite being rich in minerals, gas and coal, Balochistan is Pakistan’s most impoverished region, resulting in perpetual political turmoil
  3. Baloch nationalists have gained traction by accusing Islamabad of pursuing exploitative policies and never giving the region its rightful share
  4. The ongoing tussle between security forces and Baloch nationalists has made the region’s security precarious, diminishing the region’s economic prospects

Importance of CPEC for Pak as well as China

  1. China has come up with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as part of which it plans to link its western Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan
  2. With a network of highways, railways and pipelines in conjunction with energy, industrial and other infrastructure development projects, the CPEC aims to enhance connectivity across Pakistan and as well as the country’s overall economic growth prospects
  3. CPEC is being talked about as a potential game changer as it could revive the economic profile of a region that has traditionally been an economic backwater
  4. The CPEC is as much about China’s growing strategic bond with Pakistan as it is about Beijing’s efforts to stem the growing tide of insurgency and radicalism from flowing into its own territory
  5. It is hoping that by generating economic growth and opportunities in Pakistan, it will be able to manage its troubled provinces

Challenges for CPEC increasing

  1. There is growing domestic political opposition in Pakistan—not only from Baloch nationalists but also due to widening differences between provinces and the central government—over the allocation of investments
  2. This has been exacerbated by Pakistan’s economic crisis, which has seen Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves rapidly depleting and the country facing a mounting balance-of-payments crisis, requiring about $12 billion to meet its liabilities
  3. CPEC has been blamed for part of this problem, with imports of heavy machinery and other equipment resulting in Pakistan’s massive trade deficit

Global challenges for China & Pakistan

  1. Pakistan is facing a difficult global environment on the whole
  2. Its relationship with the US has nosedived under the Donald Trump administration which has warned the International Monetary Fund against lending money to Pakistan, arguing that a bailout package could not be used to settle Chinese debts
  3. China is also coming under growing global criticism for its BRI projects with nations as diverse as Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Maldives all voicing complaints about the terms of the loans from China
  4. China’s debt trap diplomacy is facing a global pushback

Way forward

  1. Though Chinese interests have been repeatedly targeted over the years, Beijing so far has continued to repose its faith in the Pakistani government’s ability to manage the security situation so as to guarantee Chinese investment
  2. Recent attacks in Balochistan merely emphasize that challenges for CPEC and for the China-Pakistan economic relationship are only going to mount in the future
  3. Some kind of a reset in Sino-Pak engagement is inevitable
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Corridor of hope: On the Kartarpur proposalop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Ray of hope in India-Pakistan ties through the kartarpur corridor


Green signal to kartarpur corridor

  1. The announcement by India and Pakistan of plans to operationalise a visa-free corridor between Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab heeds a longstanding plea of Sikh pilgrims
  2. That demand had gathered pace in 1995 when Pakistan renovated the Kartarpur gurdwara, situated on the site on the bank of the Ravi
  3. It is a shrine built at the place where the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev, is believed to spent his last 18 years and died

Why is this a positive development?

  1. Given its easy logistics, the 4-km-long Kartarpur corridor is a low-hanging fruit as a meaningful confidence-building measure
  2. The initiative can also become a template for cross-border exchanges based on faith, which could provide a balm for many communities
  3. Kashmiri Pandits have long asked for access to visit the Sharda Peeth in the Neelum Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
  4. Sufis in Pakistan wish to visit the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan
  5. Sikhs in India and Pakistan want to visit important shrines on both sides of the border

Implementation of the announcement crucial

  1. Much will depend on how quickly India and Pakistan act on their commitment
  2. Even more will depend on how the two governments manage their relationship in a way that avoids making pilgrims a pawn in bilateral tensions
  3. It is important that issues related to the corridor are managed in a non-political manner and details left to diplomats and officials to sort out
  4. India and Pakistan entered into an agreement on pilgrimages in 1974 under which both sides issue visitor visas for a handful of shrines on either side
  5. The visa-free corridor is only for Indians
  6. But it will require a separate agreement for operationalisation, which will involve complex negotiations given the security ramifications

A renewed opportunity for both the sides

  1. The proposed corridor holds great potential for a wider thaw in India-Pakistan relations, which have languished in sub-zero temperatures for a full decade now since the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks
  2. This is probably the first instance of the two sides setting aside mutual hostility to bend to the will of the people
  3. A large part of the failure of the two countries to come out of the holes into which they have dug themselves owes to the vacuum created in citizen interaction

Way forward

  1. Given the bilateral freeze, the Kartarpur project will compel India and Pakistan to engage in a positive and purposeful manner, at a time when few other avenues for engagement exist
  2. It is a reminder that dialogue and search for areas of concord are the only way forward for both countries
  3. India should build on the leap of faith that it took on the Kartarpur corridor

With inputs from the editorial: Kartarpur opening

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pakistan commit to Kartarpur corridorPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kartarpur Sahib (Location, importance)

Mains level: India-Pakistan Cultural Relations


Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

  1. India and Pakistan exchanged letters committing to build the required infrastructure for visa-free direct travel by Indian Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan’s Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
  2. This has been done to allow them to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
  3. In a rare sign of concord between the two countries, the letters were exchanged on the same day.

Inception of the Proposed Corridor

  1. The Kartarpur Sahib corridor was first proposed in 1999 when former PM Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore.
  2. He raised a long-standing demand from the Sikh community for easy access to the revered shrine across the border where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

Work to begin soon

  1. India proposed building a passage for the pilgrims accessible “365 days and 24 hours.
  2. Officials from India and Pakistan will meet soon to discuss the logistics of the corridor and point of border crossing.
  3. The pilgrims will traverse on the Indian side from Dera Guru Nanak Dev in Gurdaspur district directly to the border and from the Pakistani side of the border directly to Kartarpur Darbar Sahib Gurdwara.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Embers of hope: on India-Pakistan relationsop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kartarpur Sahib (Location, importance)

Mains level: How sports and cultural connect can be used to rebuild India Pakistan ties


Indo Pak ties

  1. With tension permeating the India-Pakistan military and diplomatic relationship for the larger part of seven decades, people-to-people and economic links have borne the brunt of this mutual aggression
  2. In September, bilateral tensions further soured after the killing of a Border Security Force soldier and the cancellation of a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers

Rays of hope

Two other developments have rekindled hopes of creative collaborations

  • Pakistan’s willingness to open the Kartarpur corridor
  1. This would connect Dera Baba Nanak in India with a historic Sikh shrine, the Darbar Sahib, Narowal, in the town of Kartarpur, Pakistan
  2. Darbar Sahib is where Guru Nanak Dev, the first Guru of the Sikhs, spent the last few years of his life
  3. Various ministers of Pakistan’s newly formed government have given assurance about the opening of the corridor as well as willingness to provide visa-free access to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara
  4. This has been a long-standing demand of the Sikh community
  5. This issue is relevant not merely to the Sikh community but to all those who believe in Guru Nanak’s message of peace and compassion
  • India-Pakistan trade
  1. The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan spoke of Pakistan’s willingness to allow India-Afghanistan trade via Pakistan
  2. Bilateral trade with Afghanistan through Pakistan matters strategically to New Delhi and Kabul
  3. With this move, Pakistan could change the narrative in South Asia

Learning from China

  1. The India-Pakistan relationship could use the India-China relationship as a template
  2. Despite tensions such as the Doklam standoff, bilateral trade rose in 2017-18
  3. People-to-people linkages (for example, in terms of pilgrimages to Kailash Mansarovar through Nathu La) have not been affected

Way forward

  1. It is unfortunate that steps such as opening up the Kartarpur corridor, which can help in building better ties, get relegated to the background once political tensions rise
  2. Such steps could act as the game changer in the process of bringing Indo Pak ties back on track
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: The world beyond Pakistanop-ed snapPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: India’s focus on less relevant issues at UN and how this affects India’s diplomacy


Shadow of India Pak relations at UN meeting

  1. India has decided against talking to Pakistan on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly that is convening this month for its annual session in New York
  2. For more than two decades now, the only question that seems to animate the Indian public interest in multilateral gatherings — from non-aligned summits to the ASEAN Regional Forum and UNGA to SAARC gatherings — is the prospect of a diplomatic encounter between India and Pakistan
  3. One unfortunate casualty of this war of words has been the deepening inability of the two countries to engage with the larger global issues

Reduced impact of India as well as Pakistan

  1. There was a time when the voices of both Pakistan and India mattered on the world stage
  2. India’s political voice mattered a lot at the UN even when its economic weight was rather limited
  3. Today, despite its growing economic salience and expanding global footprint, India seems obsessed with a few issues rather than engage with the unfolding structural changes in the international system
  4. Pakistan was a key member of the Western alliance system in Asia
  5. Islamabad rightly saw itself as a pragmatic Islamic nation capable of exercising influence in the Middle East and acting as a bridge between America and China, which did not have diplomatic relations with each other
  6. Today, Pakistan’s diminished diplomacy plods on about the Kashmir issue and revels in provoking India into a public argument

Mistakes being made by India

  1. Delhi persists with the futile quest for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council when all indications are that it is unlikely to happen
  2. Delhi has also devoted far too much energy in the pursuit of the international convention against terrorism that is unlikely to do very much in addressing India’s security challenges
  3. If India looks beyond Pakistan, terrorism and a seat at the UNSC, it will find much to discuss and reflect upon with its partners

Issues that can be discussed

  • The question of sovereignty and multilateralism
  1. If defending sovereignty was the theme song of India’s UN diplomacy since the end of the Cold War, it is President Donald Trump who has appropriated it now
  2. Since he took charge, Trump has walked out of the Paris agreement on climate change, withdrew from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the UN Human Rights Council, and threatened the International Criminal Court with punitive actions
  3. He insists that he will not let multilateral organisations restrain America’s pursuit of its national interests
  • Global trade
  1. While India’s rhetoric at the UN remains steeped in the old verities of the so-called “global South”, Trump is threatening to pull out of the World Trading Organisation and choking its dispute-settlement mechanism, again in the name of sovereignty
  2. Key trading nations are already beginning to respond with proposals for reform
  • Repositioning in Gulf
  1. Trump is making big moves in the Middle East that breaks away from the conventional thinking on the region
  2. He has junked the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and is trying to construct a new Middle East Security Alliance of Arab nations threatened by Iran

Way forward for India

  1. For India, this is not a question of taking formal positions on these issues
  2. The geopolitics of the Gulf region where India has massive economic and political stakes is undergoing unprecedented change along with the world trading system and the nature of multilateralism
  3. India’s diplomatic engagements at the UN this year should be about crafting a new strategy to address these challenges
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Indus water panel to discuss Pakistan’s objection to Indian projectsPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indus water treaty

Mains level: Issues related to IWT between India & Pakistan

Indus water commission meeting

  1. India and Pakistan are expected to discuss two under-construction hydroelectric projects, initiated by India on the Chenab basin, at the 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission
  2. Pakistan feels that design of two under-construction Indian hydroelectric projects in Chenab basin — Pakal Dul (1,000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) — violate the Treaty provisions
  3. The Indian side affirms its right to build these projects and holds that their (projects’) design is fully in compliance of the Treaty

About the treaty

  1. The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, brokered by the World Bank and signed by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s president Ayub Khan, administers how the water of the Indus river and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised
  2. Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi — had been allocated to India and the western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — to Pakistan, except for certain non-consumptive uses for India
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Maritime dialogue resumes


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Importance of the dialogue


A sign of the efforts to improve India-Pakistan relations in recent months

  1. The heads of maritime security agencies of both sides met after a gap of two years and agreed to work on improving exchange of information regarding fishermen apprehended by each other
  2. The dialogue is held annually as per the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two agencies in 2005
  3. The meeting was chaired by Director General Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh and head of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Rear Admiral Zaka Ur

Why is this important?

  1. The dialogue is significant as last year India had refused to participate in the talks following the controversy over the arrest of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistani agencies
  2. Further, both sides also agreed on the need for expeditious exchange of the information about the apprehension of fishing boats and fishermen

India’s demand

  1. During the meeting, the Indian side reiterated the need for instituting Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for immediate release and repatriation of fishermen who cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) inadvertently

Agreement on working for maritime environment

  1. The two agencies also agreed to collaborate in preservation and protection ofmarine environment
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India to join anti-terror meet in Pak.


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: RATS

Mains level: SCO is seriously focusing on the issue of counter-terrorism.


Legal experts to discuss counter-terror strategy among  Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) members

  1. India is sending senior representatives to discuss legal modalities of counter-terrorism for a meeting that Pakistan will host along with the members of the SCO
  2. India, China and other member countries will participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) that will be meeting in Islamabad from May 23 to 25

Why is this meeting important? 

  1. The event will be the first such time Pakistan will host India and other members of SCO to discuss a response to terrorism

SCO focus on counter terrorism

  1. As members of the SCO, countries are expected to be active in the SCO Secretariat and also participate in the RATS, headquartered at Tashkent
  2. Counter-terrorism has been on the agenda of the SCO since its inception in 2001 but has been boosted since membership was granted to India and Pakistan in 2017


  1. The RATS held its meeting in the first week of April to finalise a draft for counter-terror cooperation for 2019-’21
  2. The organisation also held a discussion in Delhi during January 31 to February 2


Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS)

  1. The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism
  2. The Head of RATS is elected to a three-year term
  3. Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pakistan to hold Permanent Indus Commission meet

Image source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Permanent Indus Commission, Indus Water Treaty

Mains level: Rising tensions between India and Pakistan over various issues

Meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission

  1. India and Pakistan will hold a two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission
  2. The meeting will discuss various issues under the Indus Water Treaty
  3. This will be the 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which should meet at least once a year as per the Indus Water Treaty (IWT)

India to raise the issue of dams

  1. The issues relating to India’s Ratle hydroelectricity, Pakul Dul, and Lower Kalnai projects, located in Jammu and Kashmir, may come up for discussion during the meeting
  2. Pakistan contends that these projects located in the Chenab basin were violating the IWT


Indus Water Treaty

  1. The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank
  2. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960
  3. According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three “eastern” rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India
  4. The control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan
  5. The treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic, industrial and nonconsumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects
  6. As per the provisions of the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pak. extends Thar Link Express for 3 years


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the train

Mains level: The extension shows positive side(though not significant) of the relationship between the two nations.

Extension for the Thar Link Express

  1. The rail link between India and Pakistan received an extension from Pakistan
  2. The Thar Link Express that connects Khokhrapar in Pakistan and Munabao in Rajasthan received an extension for three more years from 1 February 2018 to 31 January 2021

Particulars of the train

  1. The weekly train connects Jodhpur and the bordering region of Rajasthan with the province of Sindh in Pakistan
  2. The agreement to run the Thar Link Express was signed in 2006 and is one of the cheapest means of transport between the two rival countries
  3. The rail link facilitates people-to-people contacts which are essential for improving relations between both the countries
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan examining proposal for DGMO-level talks with India: report


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DGMO

Mains level: Rising tension along India-Pakistan border and ways to resolve it

Reducing tensions along LoC

  1. Pakistan is examining a proposal for a DGMO-level meeting with India after a gap of four years
  2. This is to reduce tensions along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary through fresh confidence-building measures

Measures being planned

  1. According to the report, one of the confidence-building measures being considered for the planned meeting of DGMOs is “calibre reduction” of the arms being used at the LoC

Previous attempts

  1. In November, a telephonic conversation between the two DGMOs took place following a request by the Pakistani side
  2. Pakistan-India DGMOs have a frequent hotline contact, but they last met face-to-face four years ago at Wagah
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Govt says no proposal to review Most Favored Nation status to Pakistan


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: MFN status, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, WTO

Mains level: India-Pakistan relationship despite long standoff

MFN status to Pakistan

  1. The government has denied any proposal to review the ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) status to Pakistan
  2. India has accorded MFN status to all WTO members, including Pakistan, in accordance with the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

What does MFN status mean?

  1. Under MFN, a WTO member country is obliged to treat other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

  1. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) covers international trade in goods
  2. Its overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas
  3.  The workings of the GATT agreement are the responsibility of the Council for Trade in Goods (Goods Council) which is made up of representatives from all WTO member countries
  4. GATT was signed by 23 nations in Geneva on October 30, 1947, and took effect on January 1, 1948
  5. It remained in effect until the signature by 123 nations in Marrakesh on April 14, 1994, of the Uruguay Round Agreements, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 1, 1995
  6. In addition to facilitating applied tariff reductions, the early GATT’s contribution to trade liberalization include
  • binding the negotiated tariff reductions for an extended period (made more permanent in 1955),
  • establishing the generality of nondiscrimination through most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment and national treatment,
  • ensuring increased transparency of trade policy measures, and
  • providing a forum for future negotiations and for the peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

‘230% increase in ceasefire violations’

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges and their management in border areas

Prelims level: BSF and other paramilitary forces

Mains level: Ceasefire violation is an important cause of concern for India. Also, these topics are specially mentioned in the mains syllabus.


Increase in ceasefire violations

  1. According to government, there was a 230% increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) this year compared with the 2016 figure


  1. The 740-km LoC is under the operational control of the Army and 192 km of the International Border in Jammu is manned by the Border Security Force
  2. The truce between India and Pakistan along the IB, the LoC and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November 2003

Data on terror incidents

  1. The government also released data on the impact of demonetisation on terror incidents
  2. Terror incidents showed an increase in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017 in comparison with last year
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Responding to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor challengeop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Suggestions and Concerns discussed in the newscard; regarding the CPEC, security issues, etc.



  1. The article talks about some important concerns of India related to the CPEC and suggests some possible solutions

Construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam

  1. Pakistan has reportedly rejected China’s offer of assistance for the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam
  2. Pakistan’s demand: Pakistan wants Beijing to take the project out of the $60 billion CPEC so that Pakistan can build the dam on its own
  3. Why: Because the project was in a disputed territory, the Asian Development Bank had refused to finance it
  4. So China was keen to step in but Pakistan realized that the tough conditions being imposed by Beijing, the dam would make the project politically and economically untenable

Controversy over use of Yuan in Pakistan

  1. The dam project was followed by differences on the use of the Chinese yuan in Pakistan along the lines of the US dollar
  2. Pakistan had to reject this demand as well
  3. Pakistan’s demand: common use of the yuan in any part of Pakistan, exchangeable like the dollar, has to be on a reciprocal basis

Some important issues related to the CPEC

  1. China is demanding greater autonomy and security in operationalizing the project and Pakistan is finding it difficult to accede to most of these demands
  2. There are growing voices in Pakistan that China seems to be a bigger beneficiary from CPEC than Pakistan
  3. China’s strategy of getting more benefit: China is saying that Pakistan is not producing the goods that are needed in China
  4. This has reinforced the perception that all China wants is to use the infrastructural advancement of CPEC for the benefit of Chinese companies

India’s take on One Belt and Road Initiative

  1. India so far has steadfastly refused to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative
  2. And maintains opposition to China’s investment in CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir

Long term security concerns for India

  1. The long-term strategic consequences of Obor for India could also allow China to consolidate its presence in the Indian Ocean at India’s expense
  2. China may use its economic power to increase its geopolitical leverage and, in doing so, intensify security concerns for India
  3. CPEC gives China a foothold in the western Indian Ocean with the Gwadar port, located near the strategic Strait of Hormuz(where Chinese warships and a submarine have surfaced)
  4. CPEC can also resolve China’s “Malacca dilemma” which is about its over-reliance on the Malacca Straits for the transport of its energy resources

What should be done from India’s side?

  1. Indian opposition has taken attention of those who remain suspicious of Chinese motives behind Obor in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the world
  2. The West is now more vocal in its concerns and voices in Pakistan are demanding a reappraisal of the project
  3. But India needs to do more than just articulate its opposition
  4. It needs to provide a new template for the world on global connectivity projects
  5. Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC): India has moved in that direction recently with an articulation of the Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC)
  6. Alternative to OBOR: The AAGC, structured to connect East Asia, South-East Asia and South Asia with Africa and Oceania, provides a normative alternative to Obor with its promise of being more consultative and inclusive
  7. This is a welcome first step but given the challenges that CPEC is facing, India will need to do much more to provide an effective counter-narrative
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Trump’s Pakistan testop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Q.) “US president’s new South Asia doctrine threatening Pakistan with dire consequences if it fails to check jihadists could lead Rawalpindi to revive the policy of strategic defiance.” Critically examine.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Article critically analyse the consequences of the new Afghan Policy.



  1. The article talks about the US president’s new South Asia doctrine

The idea of Strategic Defiance

  1. In 1991, a war began to descend over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
  2. Pakistan, at that time, believed the war would create a Zionist-led order in West Asia
  3. Once the United States started the war, Pakistan would lead a fightback by mid-sized powers like Iraq and Iran, helped by China
  4. This new idea was called “strategic defiance”
  5. However, strategic defiance didn’t actually work for a country(like Pakistan) addicted to United States’ patronage

Consequence of Trump’s new South Asia Doctrine

  1. This new doctrine is threatening Pakistan with severe consequences
  2. And this has made strategic defiance relevant again

The new South Asia strategy of the US

  1. The pillars of the new South Asia strategy are
    (1) Open-ended commitment to the Afghan war, with the use of all the instruments of American power
    (2) A greater role for India there, strategic partnership with India and destroying terror safe-havens in Pakistan
  2. And with it, growing Iranian, Chinese and Russian influence

Up and Down of the US aid to Pakistan

  1. Each time the United States has cut aid to Pakistan, geopolitical situations forced it to reverse course
  2. In 1954, Cold War alliance-building led economic and military assistance to surge steadily to $3 billion in 1963
  3. Aid fell to near-zero levels after the United States detected Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons programme in 1980
  4. But the anti-Soviet Union jihad in Afghanistan saw the United States change course yet again, and started giving aid of over $ 1 billion per year through most of the 1980s
  5. The 1990s saw a sharp reduction in aid yet again, after the anti-Soviet jihad ended
  6. But it surged after 9/11, rising to historic levels of $4.5 billion in 2010

Options in front of the US against terrorism(originated from pakistan)

  1. The United States has the capacity to target jihadist infrastructure and individuals deep inside Pakistan
  2. It could also unleash its Afghan allies’ covert assets to execute retaliatory terrorism in Pakistan
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif loyalist Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected Pakistan Prime Minister

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: New PM

Mains Level: It is important to note political developments in neighborhood.


New PM in Pakistan

  1. The Pakistan Parliament has elected ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim Prime Minister
  2. This follows the ouster of Nawaz Sharif after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office till life in the wake of corruption charges against him and his family members
  3. Mr. Abbasi is expected to hand over power to Shahbaz Sharif once the latter is elected to the National Assembly in six weeks

Who is Shahbaz Sharif?

  1. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif is the Chief Minister of Punjab and the younger brother of Mr. Nawaz Sharif
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Here’s how Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s ouster will impact Indiaop-ed snap

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Not Much

Mains Level: It is important to know the possible effects on Indian Foreign policy after these kind of incidents in the neighbor.



  1. The article is related to the recent ouster of the Pakistan’s PM and its possible effects on India

Why was Nawaz Sharif ousted?

  1. The court ruled that Mr. Sharif was dishonest in failing to disclose in his 2013 election nomination papers his association with a UAE-based company
  2. And therefore was unfit to continue in office

What it means for India?(short run)

  1. For India, it may not mean much in the short term as the Pakistan government has never been free of military interference in its policy towards India
  2. Since the attack on the Indian Army base in Uri last year, India-Pakistan relations have been strained
  3. The Kulbhushan Jadhav case worsened the ties
  4. Therefore, there was little chance of Sharif making any move to improve the ties with India independent of the military

What it means for India?(long run)

  1. It is good for India if Pakistan is demilitarised, as it desists from sending terrorists into the Indian territory
  2. But in the longer term, military dominance in Pakistan is not positive for India
  3. A free hand for military due to the political instability will increase tensions with India
  4. Also, with Sharif’s exit, there is little chance of any strong leader emerging in future
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] General Raheel Sharif begun his farewell calls before his pending retirementop-ed snap

  1. There were speculations about a possible second term of three years for the army chief, with public pressure on PM Sharif to extend his tenure
  2. Appointment system: Pakistan’s PMs have right to “appoint” army chiefs, but do not seem to enjoy the power to “terminate” their services
  3. The civilians have rarely won the battle against the army in Pakistan. That fact makes this exit of General Sharif an important landmark
  4. Effects of this move on India: The on-time retirement of General Sharif will make no difference to the reality of the army’s dominance over the national security politics in Pakistan
  5. Delhi should not rule out change in Pakistan’s civil-military relations and examine if those changes can facilitate a more productive engagement with Islamabad
  6. Delhi’s default position has been to stay away from Pakistan’s internal politics
  7. Some policymakers in Delhi argue that it is not worth supporting the civilian leaders, who have no power to address issues of concern to Delhi such as cross-border terrorism
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan risks relations in South Asia if it keeps blocking SAARC initiatives: Jaishankar

  1. Source: Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar
  2. What: South Asian nations will begin to look at other “alternatives” if Pakistan continues to “block” SAARC initiatives
  3. He said Pakistan risks relations with other SAARC countries if it doesn’t follow “basic standards of regional cooperation”
  4. Context: Pakistan’s decision to reject MFN status for India as well as India’s proposal for a SAARC motor vehicle agreement
  5. He said SAARC countries could opt for “sub-regional initiatives and will look at other initiatives like Bimstec
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pak. cannot control terrorism on its soil: Shivshankar Menon

  1. Source: Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon
  2. Views: Pakistan can no longer control terrorism on its soil as terrorism is hard-wired into Pakistan’s society and polity
  3. He said that the likelihood of tactical nuclear weapons being used against India has increased
  4. Reason: There are younger officers in an Army that is increasingly religiously motivated and less and less professional
  5. The Pak army has consistently produced rogue officers and staged coups against its own leaders
  6. This, in turn, means that there is an increased possibility of an all-out nuclear war when India retaliates against tactical nuclear weapons with massive retaliation of its own
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan II

  1. China is building a network of roads and power plants under a project known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
  2. It is expected to absorb $46 billion in Chinese investment in the coming decades
  3. Gwadar port is located on the Arabian Sea and it occupies a strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia
  4. The port is also located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz
  5. China is seeking convenient and reliable access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean
  6. Chinese ships now use the Strait of Malacca, a narrow passage between the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia
  7. The proposed new route would give China access to the Persian Gulf region and West Asia
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan I

  1. Event: The first convoy of Chinese trucks carrying goods for sale abroad has arrived in Pakistan amid tight security
  2. How: It used a road linking Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang region
  3. This opens a new international trade route by seeing off a Chinese ship that’s exporting goods to West Asia and Africa from the newly-built Gwadar port
  4. The port is located in insurgency-hit Balochistan province where an overnight blast at a shrine killed nearly 50 people
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

After India’s strong statement, World Bank appeals for mediation

  1. Context: Reply to a strong statement from India that the WB, a signatory to the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, was favouring Pakistan by going ahead with an arbitration process
  2. The WB “urged” India and Pakistan to agree to mediation on how to proceed in their dispute over two hydropower dam projects in J&K
  3. According to the WB, it has a strictly procedural role under the Indus Waters Treaty
  4. The treaty does not allow it to choose whether India’s procedure should take precedence over Pakistan’s
  5. A WB official admitted that two parallel processes were “unworkable” in the long run, and therefore mediation was required
  6. The dispute is over the Kishenganga (330 MW) and Ratle (850 MW) hydel plants India is constructing on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India slams World Bank process on Indus Treaty

  1. What: India lashed out at the World Bank over its decision to favour Pakistan on the Indus Water Treaty dispute process
  2. The dispute is over the Kishenganga and Ratle dam and hydropower projects
  3. India had asked for a neutral expert to be appointed over Pakistan’s objections to the projects first
  4. Pakistan appealed directly for a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to be set up as it claims India has violated the 1960 treaty
  5. The WB has begun the process requested by Pakistan under Arbitration Article IX of the Indus Water Treaty rather than India’s appeal for the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC)
  6. Officials said the World Bank’s action of going ahead with Pakistan’s claim had escalated the differences into an international dispute
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Is New Delhi (ND) reducing itself to a South Asian power? IIop-ed snap

  1. Trend of diplomatic efforts: ND’s diplomatic efforts increasingly seem to revolve around Pakistan-backed terrorism
  2. Getting US is not helpful as they unhesitatingly make well-rehearsed statements about terrorism from Pakistan and go back to doing business with Rawalpindi
  3. China’s unwillingness to agree to India’s line on Pakistan-based terror has made Sino-Indian relations thornier than ever
  4. Further damaged Mr. Modi’s global image as a leader focused on governance, trade and growth
  5. Attention has suddenly shifted to self-generated tactical concerns, instead of larger issues such as FDI, global partnerships, institutional reforms, economic diplomacy, etc.
  6. ND has internationalised the Kashmir issue, which it traditionally avoided
  7. ND’s signing of LEMOA is allowing the two militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and supplies
  8. A clear departure from its traditional policy of not getting into military alliances
  9. India’s interests in the Indian Ocean region should be articulated with more vigour, it should rethink the strategic rationale of its forays into the South China Sea
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Is New Delhi (ND) reducing itself to a South Asian power? Iop-ed snap

  1. Context: ND’s decision to reply to Pakistan by raking up Baluchistan in various global fora demonstrates tactical considerations trump strategic thinking in India
  2. Early objectives of this government: Neighborhood first, selling India’s growth story globally, and getting Sino-Indian relations on track- all these lay in tatters
  3. Reason: Foreign policy without a grand strategic blueprint
  4. Result: Reduced to the little box- South Asia because of our never-ending battle with Pakistan
  5. ND’s new-found outrage about human rights violations in Baluchistan is suggestive of misplaced priorities. It is a sheer waste of India’s limited diplomatic energy, owing to shortage of diplomats in MEA
  6. Increasing Sino-Indian disaffection prompts Beijing to confine India further
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] Civilians on LOC and border caught in cross fireop-ed snap

  1. Context: Ceasefire violations have become a daily occurrence since the terrorist attack on the Army camp in Uri in September and the subsequent “surgical strikes” by the Army.
  2. Since then there have been 60 ceasefire violations.
  3. Indians suffering more: The density of civilian settlement is much higher on the Indian side in comparison to Pakistan’s. As a result, the increased firing across the border creates more pressure on India.
  4. Hundreds have been shifted to shelters and bunkers for safety.
  5. Post 2003 ceasefire agreement: After the two countries agreed to a ceasefire in 2003, the resultant calm had won the confidence of local residents.
  6. Villagers began farming right up to the fence, tourism picked up, and even informal border trade increased.
  7. Present situation: After the surgical strikes, the security forces retain a free hand in responding to infiltrations and instances of firing.
  8. Government response: No senior government functionary has publicly addressed the issue.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Arrest of staffer violates Vienna Convention, says Pakistan

  1. Issue: Pakistan on Thursday accused India of violating the international convention for protection of diplomats, under the 1961 Vienna convention
  2. Why: After New Delhi briefly detained a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission
  3. The staffer has been declared a persona non-grata and has been asked to leave India within 48 hours
  4. Context: Heightened tension along the International Border between India and Pakistan
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

BSF Jawan killed in cross-fire in Jammu

  1. What: Another BSF Head Constable was killed in cross-border firing from Pakistan
  2. Where: In Jammu’s Abdullian district
  3. This is the third death of a BSF personnel along the Pakistan border in Jammu in the past one week
  4. The 192-Km long International Border that runs along Jammu has seen ceasefire violations since October 19
  5. Reason: BSF personnel pushed back four terrorists who were trying to infiltrate from the Hiranagar sector
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

No ‘blanket ban’ on Pak artists in India

  1. Source: Ministry of External Affairs
  2. The MEA declared that there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artists and they remain free to perform in the Indian entertainment industry
  3. Context: Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have been campaigning to stop release of films featuring Pakistani artists due to India-Pakistan tensions
  4. Context: A ban on Indian TV and radio channels in Pakistan was declared by the Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Cross-LoC strikes not new: Jaishankar

  1. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar: Army had carried out “target-specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the LoC in the past too
  2. He also said that this is the first time the government has gone public about such strikes
  3. The Foreign Secretary gave these remarks to the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs
  4. Fallout: These remarks contradict Defense Minister Parrikar’s claims that these were the first surgical strikes
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Things changing after Modi highlighted Baloch plight

  1. What? Things are changing rapidly at the international level since Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the plight of the people of troubled Balochistan province in Pakistan
  2. Other countries are coming forward to support the Balochistan issue
  3. The Baloch cause for freedom has received a major diplomatic push
  4. Who said it? Baloch nationalist leader Naela Quadri Baloch
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter Indus Treaty: Pakistan

  1. Pak: The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time-barred and was never intended to be time or event-specific
  2. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision
  3. According to the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of Article XII of the IWT, the treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally
  4. India: There are differences on the treaty.
  5. For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation
  6. It can’t be a one-sided affair
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Indo-Pak border to be sealed by 2018: Rajnath

  1. India will completely seal the border with Pakistan by December 2018 by using all effective means including technological solutions
  2. A proper monitoring mechanism would be in place at the central and state government levels for it
  3. Govt also mooted setting up a border security grid for which suggestions have been invited from all the concerned stakeholders including the States which share border with Pakistan
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Security Council not discussing India-Pak issue

  1. UNSC Prez: The United Nations Security Council is not discussing the issues between India and Pakistan and has no plans to do so
  2. Pakistan: Has been trying to ensure U.N. involvement in the situation
  3. Nawaz Sharif had raised the issue of human rights violations by India in Jammu and Kashmir in the General Assembly, but no other country has mentioned it
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pak. loses $7 bn. by avoiding India goods

  1. Source: ‘Costs of Non-Cooperation’ study by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)
  2. Findings: Pakistan suffered a loss of about $7 billion in 2014 by importing items from other countries at a higher cost instead of sourcing them from India
  3. The loss is substantial considering Pakistan’s GDP (nominal, 2015) is only about $270 billion
  4. Many products that Pakistan imported from third countries were at least three times more costly than the price of the same item from India in export markets
  5. Lessons for Pak: The objective of the study is to show Pakistan that they can save on the foreign exchange front if they cooperate in South Asia
  6. Pak’s trade scenario: It is a net-importing nation with a trade deficit of $22 billion in 2015
  7. In 2015, it imported around $44 billion, while it exported only items worth $22 billion
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[op-ed snap] To revive an old friendship Part 2op-ed snap

  1. The way ahead for India-Russia relations: India needs to rebuild on its strengths and common concerns with Russians e.g. : Need to converge strategies on terrorism, Need to maintain a balancing act between USA and Russia, Need to revive and deepen India-Russia economic, scientific and technological ties, trying for an RIC (Russia, India, China) alliance, leveraging India-Russia ties to isolate Pakistan.
  2. Need to converge strategies on terrorism: India and Russia need to converge their strategies vis-à-vis terrorism in West Asia and Afghanistan and also revitalize the previous India-Russia agreement on intelligence sharing.
  3. Need to maintain a balancing act between USA and Russia: India needs to reassure Russia that India-US relations will not jeopardise Russian interests. India could also consider concluding similar military exercises and logistics agreements with Russia as it has with the US..
  4. Need to revive and deepen India-Russian economic, scientific and technological ties: India needs a continuous engagement and follow-up plan to deepen its scientific and technological relations with Russia eg investments in the oil and gas sector and Joint manufacturing facilities.
  5. Trying for an RIC (Russia, India, China) alliance: India should overcome contradictions with China and build an RIC alliance as suggested by Russia. Russia has its own concerns with China’s increasing international prominence.
  6. This forum can help in effective resolution of mutual concerns.
  7. Leveraging India-Russia ties to isolate Pakistan: The U.S. will always have a dual approach to India and Pakistan, because it needs both. Russia, on the other hand, will not which could be leveraged by India to isolate Pakistan.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India to review MFN status to Pakistan

  1. What? India will review the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to Pakistan at a meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  2. Context: The decision comes in the wake of the Uri attack
  3. Background: The MFN status was accorded in 1996 under the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  4. Both India and Pakistan are signatories to the agreement, according to which they have to treat each other and rest of WTO member countries as favoured trading partners
  5. Indus treaty: PM Modi chaired a review meeting of the Indus Water Treaty, during which it was decided that India will exploit to the maximum the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

PM to review Indus Waters Treaty today

  1. Context: The terror attack on an Army camp in Uri, Kashmir
  2. PM Modi is expected to chair a meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
  3. An indication that the Govt is weighing extreme diplomatic actions against Pakistan
  4. Background: SC recently refused to grant an urgent hearing on a PIL seeking declaration of the IWT as unconstitutional
  5. Petitioner: The treaty was unconstitutional as it was not signed as per the constitutional scheme and hence should be declared void ab initio
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India driven to the wall, must mount response: diplomats

  1. Context: The attack in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC), in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed
  2. India has a wide range of options for a measured and effective response to the attack in Uri, according to veteran diplomats and experts
  3. India can consider a mix of diplomatic and multilateral response
  4. A major challenge in crafting a suitable response to Pakistan was its ability to use its nuclear umbrella as a shield for unconventional warfare with India
  5. However, India could engage the Pakistan military in response for Uri without triggering a war
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India raises Balochistan at UN; hits out at Pakistan

  1. News: Raising the issue of Balochistan for the first time before the U.N., India accused Pakistan of widespread human rights violations there as well as in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  2. The main reason for disturbances in Kashmir is the cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan
  3. It stems from its territorial ambitions over the place that has found concrete expression in repeated armed aggressions
  4. Pak’s dismal record: Many countries have repeatedly called upon Pakistan to end cross- border infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop acting as an epicentre of terrorism
  5. India’s credentials: A peaceful, democratic, pluralistic society that is deeply committed to the welfare of its people are well established
  6. The high number of causalities sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstances
  7. J&K is an integral part of India and will always remain so & we reject attempts by Pakistan to denigrate the democratic choice that has been regularly exercised by the people of J&K
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan govt under fire for hiding details of Pathankot probe

  1. Pakistan Govt has come under fire from the opposition which accused it of hiding the details of the probe into Pakistani nationals’ involvement in the Pathankot terror attack
  2. It has prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce that the findings would be made public
  3. The opposition went to the extent of alleging that the government was patronising militants
  4. Pak Govt: The National Action Plan is being implemented and the terrorist incidents, on average, have come down due to that
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India willing to talk to Pakistan on terror, not Kashmir

  1. News: Lobbing the ball for dialogue back into Pakistan’s court, India said that it is willing to discuss cross-border terror in Kashmir, but not to discuss Kashmir itself, as Pakistan had proposed
  2. Reason: Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, India has proposed that discussions be focussed on them
  3. Also, despite a great effort to reach out to Pakistan, India has faced several terror attacks which have made the relationship difficult to grow
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan for mutual ban on nuclear tests

  1. Pakistan: Hopeful of a bilateral agreement with India over a mutual ban on non-testing of atomic weapons that will ease the entry of the two countries into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  2. An offer regarding non-testing of nuclear weapons agreement has already been made but the proposal did not elicit a favourable response from India
  3. Had proposed to India a simultaneous adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty following the 1998 nuclear tests by both countries
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan invites India for talks on Kashmir dispute

  1. Pak: It is the international obligation of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India’s insistence that it would talk on contemporary and relevant issues in Indo-Pak relations
  2. Context: The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the Kashmir issue
  3. Background: Union Home Minister addressed Parliament on the Kashmir issue and said that India was willing to discuss only Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with Pakistan, and that the question of discussing Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabad just did not arise
  4. India also virtually turned down Pakistan’s proposal that it would invite India for a dialogue on J&K and made it clear that it would talk on contemporary and relevant issues in Indo-Pak relations
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan to take river dispute back to international court

  1. News: Pakistan has decided to return to an international tribunal – Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), The Hague – to settle a dispute with India
  2. The dispute is over sharing waters of the Kishenganga and Ratle river projects
  3. India’s stand: Pakistan is violating provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), 1960, in rushing to a third forum – the PCA – without attempting to avail Treaty provisions in resolving the above matters
  4. Background: Pakistan’s previous attempt at the PCA had backfired as the PCA had given a verdict defending India’s right to divert water of Kishenganga
  5. The PCA had also quashed Pakistan’s argument that India’s hydro electricity power plans on the Kishenganga reduced flow of water for Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electricity Project (NJHEP)
  6. Pakistan’s stand: Unlike the previous arbitration at the PCA, Pakistan will take up the issue of “design” of the Kishenganga and Ratle river projects in Kashmir
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

J&K violence a matter of grave concern: US

  1. News: The US has been in touch with both India and Pakistan on the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir this week, a State Department spokesperson said
  2. The death of protestors in the State was a matter of ‘grave concern’ for US
  3. US is also clear with the Government of Pakistan that they must target and root out all extremist and militant groups
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

US calls for dialogue on the Kashmir issue

  1. News: The US has called for dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmir on the conflict in the valley
  2. India hit back at Pakistan at a UN conference on human rights, after the latter raised the situation in Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Terming Pakistan’s attempt a ‘misuse’ of the forum, India reminded the world body that Pakistan has been shielding designated terrorists on its territory
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Swedish general appointed to head UN India Pakistan military observers

  1. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Swedish Major General Per Lodin to head the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)
  2. He is to succeed Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who is completing his two-year assignment in July
  3. Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at Forsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish defence ministry’s procurement and logistics arm
  4. He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pak needlessly internationalising Kashmir: India

  1. India: Kashmir issue is not the main cause of tension but externally sponsored terrorism is the central issue
  2. Pak needs to end its illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and stop interfering in India’s internal matters
  3. India completely rejected the insinuations by the vested interests against India which has rightful sovereignty over the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

The financing issue of US-Pak deal

  1. US Subsidy: Initially, the $700 million deal for eight F-16 multi-role fighters, was to be partially financed through the U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme
  2. However, the Congress disallowed subsidising the sale
  3. Why? Concern that Pakistan had not done enough to end the dreaded Haqqani network’s terror sanctuaries on its soil as well as fears over its nuclear programme
  4. Pakistan was subsequently asked by the U.S. administration to make the full payment for the eight aircraft from its national resources
  5. However, Pakistani authorities were adamant that the offer must come without any preconditions
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India to expedite visa process for Pakistani citizens

  1. Context: India has decided to make visa process faster than earlier
  2. Reason: Many complaints received from Pakistani visitors that entire process of visa is too lengthy and cumbersome
  3. Huge demand of visas from Pakistani visitors and verification takes months to clear them
  4. The pending applications will be processed quickly but it will not be relaxing the norms for Pakistani visitors
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pakistan fail to break deadlock on talks

  1. Context: India-Pak bilateral talks on sidelines of the Heart of Asia summit
  2. Output: Both sides failed to make headway on the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, trading allegations
  3. India: Pakistan cannot deny the impact of terrorism on bilateral relationship
  4. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity
  5. Pakistan: Indian intelligence agencies are responsible for the unrest in Balochistan
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India for better ties with Pakistan

  1. Context: Home Minister Rajanth Singh replying to a question pertaining to a video
  2. Video: People in large numbers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are seen protesting against the Pakistani establishment and demanding freedom
  3. What he said? India & Pak, both are sovereign countries & India has been consistently trying to improve its ties with Pakistan
  4. However, if anyone raised questions over India’s sovereignty and self-respect, it would not be tolerated
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Info from Pakistan helped NIA identify Pathankot attackers

  1. Context: Information received from anonymous individuals in Pakistan was crucial in identifying four Pakistan terrorists who stormed Pathankot airbase
  2. How? Photos of the slain Pathankot terrorists were put up on the NIA website
  3. The NIA had published the photographs of the deceased terrorists on its website last month, inviting information from public
  4. NIA received a number of anonymous messages from countries, including Pakistan
  5. It helped them get additional information about the identity of the four terrorists killed at the Pathankot
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

JIT visit took place in cooperative spirit: Pakistan

  1. Context: Pakistani media reports which claimed that the JIT had drawn a blank in India
  2. News: Pak foreign ministry statement that The visit of the JIT to India took place in the context of the cooperative approach being pursued by the Pakistan government as part of its commitment to effectively fight terrorism in all its forms
  3. Doublespeak: statement that the JIT was denied access to security officers who were eyewitnesses to the Pathankot airbase attack
  4. Importance: ininvestigation is now being seen as a key indicator of whether a more restrained and cooperative approach to handling terror will yield results not seen before
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Pakistan’s probe team will get access to Pathankot airbase

  1. News: National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be coordinating the visit of the Pakistan team
  2. Context: Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team(JIT) was expected to visit the Pathankot airbase on March 29 and would be flown there in a helicopter belonging to BSF
  3. JIT includes: Pak Intelligence Bureau, military intelligence and the ISI
  4. Support: Govt has decided to be transparent about the Pakistan’s team visit here and have asked the NIA to share as many details as possible with the media
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

U.S. considers re-merger of India, Pakistan desks

De-hyphenating policy started by the U.S. under President Bush, but sealed by the Obama administration, of dealing with India and Pakistan, without referring to their bilateral relations.

  1. 7 years after the State Department was restructured to ‘de-hyphenate’ U.S. relations with India and with Pakistan, it is considering a reversal of the move.
  2. It enabled the U.S. to build closer military and strategic ties with India without factoring in the reaction from Pakistan.
  3. To continue its own strategy in Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistan military without referring back to India.
  4. A proposal to re-merge the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) back with the Bureau of South and Central Asia (SCA) that handles India.
  5. U.S. involvement as a “third party” in talks with Pakistan, which would become the case if special representatives would travel between Delhi and Islamabad regularly.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Stay the course, U.S urges India, Pakistan

Sources indicated that U.S officials have been in touch with India and Pakistan over the weekend, but did not elaborate.

  1. U.S urged on improving bilateral relation in the wake of the latest terror strikes on two Indian targets.
  2. The Pathankot air force base and the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.
  3. Strongly encouraged the governments of both India and Pakistan to remain steadfast in their commitment to a more secure and prosperous future for both their countries and for the region.
  4. The U.S is relieved that responses from both India and Pakistan after the terror strikes do not signal any immediate risk of relapse into hostilities in South Asia.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

PM goes to Lahore, makes a Christmas date with history

With two unannounced stops, in Kabul and Lahore on Christmas day, Prime Minister Modi rewrote the recent history of geopolitics in the region.

  1. PM Sharif welcomed PM Modi and said it is important that the two countries seize the moment and build a prosperous future.
  2. Mr. Modi’s visit to Lahore drew comparisons with Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit in 1999.
  3. The meeting is a good example of summit diplomacy and both Prime Ministers should from now on steer the diplomatic talks.
  4. India’s presence in Afghanistan has always been viewed with suspicion, and the absence of any negative comments in Pakistan was significant.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pakistan have shown great maturity to re-engage: J&K CM

Lauding the resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue, Jammu and Kashmir CM has called for a long-term strategic partnership between the two neighbouring countries.

  1. It has generated hope and expectation among the people of J&K, who have for long yearned for peace and stability in the region.
  2. People of Jammu and Kashmir are direct beneficiaries of friendly and peaceful relations between the two neighbours.
  3. Our responsibility is to sustain the trust and confidence that people continue to repose in us, he said.
  4. It was important to obtain feedback to make a reality check vis-a-vis performance of the government.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

7 years after 26/11, India and Pakistan resume dialogue

The talks will be called Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue; Pakistan assures early completion of the Mumbai terror attacks trial.

  1. The structured dialogue process significant as the resumption of dialogue comes at the time of the 30th anniversary of the SAARC.
  2. The India-Pakistan Composite Dialogue is rooted in the 1997 SAARC Summit at Male where PM I.K. Gujral and Mr. Sharif agreed to create a Composite Dialogue Process (CDP).
  3. The CDP survived till 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai led to its suspension.
  4. Now, 10-point Comprehensive Dialogue Process replaces Composite Dialogue Process of eight issues.

10-Point Comprehensive Dialogue Process includes –

  • Peace and Security, confidence building measures
  • J&K, Siachen, Sir Creek
  • Wullar barrage/ Tulbul project
  • Economic and commercial cooperation
  • Counter-terrorism, narcotics control
  • Humanitarian issues
  • People-to-people exchanges
  • Religious tourism
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Deadlock in India-Pakistan ties partly ends: Aziz

  1. Sushma Swaraj will visit Pakistan for a conference on Afghanistan.
  2. The discussions can range from enhancing trade ties and liberalising the visa regime.
  3. The Heart of Asia conference was an opportunity to take the situation forward, in this environment of hostility.
  4. In 2016, there would be more opportunities for high-level engagements, as India will host the Heart of Asia conference , and Pakistan will host the SAARC summit.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India, Pakistan NSAs meet in Bangkok

The two Prime Ministers had a brief but close chat on November 30 in Paris where they had gone to attend the climate summit.

  1. The MEA said the discussions covered, “peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquillity along the LoC.”
  2. Some of the details of the Bangkok dialogue were ironed out between the existing channels of communication between the NSA and Pakistan High Commissioner to India.
  3. The newfound bonhomie between Delhi and Islamabad has also raised hopes from the cricket authorities over the possibility of a series to be played between India and Pakistan.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

India against infrastructure projects in PoK: MEA

  1. With the US expressing support to Pakistan’s efforts to arrange funds for the Diamer Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, India raises a RED FLAG!
  2. The 4,500-mega watt dam project has been unable to make any headway for want of funds.
  3. India also expressed its reservation on US’ supply of F-16 Fighter Jets.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Mainstreaming a nuclear Pakistanop-ed snap

It is in India’s interest to ensure that Pakistan’s nukes are under international supervision

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) poses with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during their meeting in New York on September 27, 2015.

Simply put, what is Nuclear Deal ?

A nuclear deal is primarily about undertaking responsibilities and the constant demonstration of good behaviour in exchange for an ability to engage in nuclear commerce and energy production.

What should New Delhi’s response be to a potential nuclear deal between US and Pakistan ?

  • The NSG has been organising outreach meetings with Pakistan regarding nuclear exports for sometime now.
  • Pakistan has reached out to the international community to help end its status as a nuclear outcast and to be treated on par with India.
  • At the Hague Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, PM Nawaz Sharif called for “Pakistan’s inclusion in all international export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
  • Pakistan also holds the key to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament.

With Strong Chinese support to Pak

  • China, whose consent is necessary for admitting new members to the NSG, has consistently supported Pakistan’s entry into the NSG.
  • The Chinese willingness today to consider membership for both India and Pakistan will influence the thinking in Washington and key Western capitals.

Critics of the U.S.-Pakistan Nuke deal

  • Firstly, Pakistan has a terrible track record of nuclear proliferation and that a nuclear deal would be seen as rewarding such irresponsible behaviour.
  • Two, it would enable Pakistan to enhance its nuclear arsenal which, is directed against India, making the latter more insecure.
  • Third, U.S.-Pakistan nuclear deal will hyphenate India and Pakistan once again in the international discourse, something New Delhi viscerally detests.

Four sets of reasons why a ‘conditional nuclear deal’, in India’s national interest.

  • First of all, Pakistan’s admission to the global nuclear order is good news for the international non-proliferation regime.
  • Second, It is better for the international community to be in the know of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
  • More importantly, It will bring the Sino-Pak. nuclear relations under international scrutiny.
  • Third, if India’s experience of inking the nuclear deal with the U.S. and other states, signing the India-specific Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, the road to nuclear normalcy is not going to be a smooth one for Islamabad.

Pakistan should meet conditions

  • For one, Separation of its civilian and military facilities, leading to a less feverish production of fissile material by Pakistan, thereby producing fewer nuclear warheads.
  • Second, some restrictions on its weapons programme, materially and doctrinally.
  • Third, Pakistan will have to give up its opposition to FMCT negotiations as a precondition for the deal.

What about India’s National Security Interest ?

A U.S.-Pakistan civilian nuclear deal will make absolutely no difference to India’s national security interests.

We must, ask the U.S. and other stakeholders to press Islamabad to stop stalling the FMCT negotiations, and agree to a nuclear ‘No-first-use’ agreement with India, which is already part of the Indian doctrine.

India should insist that Pakistan, as part of the deal, should be asked to negotiate nuclear confidence building measures (CBMs) with India without linking them to conventional arms control.

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.

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of