Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained by a number of historical and political issues, and are defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir dispute and the numerous military conflicts fought between the two nations. Consequently, even though the two South Asian nations share historic, cultural, geographic, and economic links, their relationship has been plagued by hostility and suspicion.
After the dissolution of the British Raj in 1947, two new sovereign nations were formed—the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The subsequent partition of the former British India displaced up to 12.5 million people, with estimates of loss of life varying from several hundred thousand to a million. India emerged as a secular nation with a Hindu majority population and a large Muslim minority while Pakistan was established as an Islamic republic with an overwhelming Muslim majority population.
Soon after their independence, India and Pakistan established diplomatic relations but the violent partition and numerous territorial disputes would overshadow their relationship. Since their independence, the two countries have fought three major wars, one undeclared war and have been involved in numerous armed skirmishes and military standoffs. The Kashmir dispute is the main center-point of all of these conflicts with the exception of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
There have been numerous attempts to improve the relationship—notably, the Shimla summit, the Agra summit and the Lahore summit. Since the early 1980s, relations between the two nations soured particularly after the Siachen conflict, the intensification of Kashmir insurgency in 1989, Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998 and the 1999 Kargil war. Certain confidence-building measures — such as the 2003 ceasefire agreement and the Delhi–Lahore Bus service — were successful in deescalating tensions. However, these efforts have been impeded by periodic terrorist attacks. The 2001 Indian Parliament attack almost brought the two nations on the brink of a nuclear war. The 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, which killed 68 civilians (most of whom were Pakistani), was also a crucial point in relations. Additionally, the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistani militants resulted in a severe blow to the ongoing India-Pakistan peace talks.
Read more about Indo-Pakistani Relations: Seeds of Conflict During Independence, War of 1965, 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, Wars, Conflicts and Disputes, Afghanistan, Insurgency in Kashmir, Insurgent Activities Elsewhere, 2007 Samjhauta Express Bombings, 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Nuclear Programmes, Simla Agreement, Talks and Other Confidence Building Measures, 2001 Gujarat Earthquake in India, 2005 Earthquake in Pakistan, Fugitives, Re-evaluation, Country Comparison
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“I only desire sincere relations with the worthiest of my acquaintance, that they may give me an opportunity once in a year to speak the truth.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)