The relations between Pakistan and India are easy to describe but difficult to explain. The relations between the two countries have remained hostile ever since the partition of 1947. The Kashmir issue, Siachen, Sir Creek etc. are the areas of contention between the two countries. The two countries have fought many wars in the past and the possibility of another war always remains due to the non-resolution of these issues. These two states of South Asia share historic, cultural, geographic and economic links but their relationship has been filled with hostility and doubt.
The history of Indo-Pak relationship has seen close proximity during some short periods of time since the creation of these two countries where prospects of peace seemed to be a reality. However, every time something untoward happens and the hostility in the relations resumes. This is the reason why the people of two nations are so disenchanted with the failure of leadership to ensure peaceful relations between India and Pakistan.
In terms of the British plan for partition, all the princely states had the right to decide which country to join. With the exception of a few, most of the Muslim majority princely states joined Pakistan and most of the Hindu-majority princely states joined India. The ruler of Kashmir did not exercise the option immediately and instead offered a proposal of standstill agreement to both the countries. But the attack from tribal invaders forced the Maharaja to sign the Instrument of Accession in favour of India on October 26, 1947 and Kashmir became a part of India. So, since 1947, Kashmir is a bone of contention between the two countries as Pakistan was expecting Kashmir to join her, being a Muslim majority state. When the British raj ended in 1947, two sovereign states were born, the dominion of India & Pakistan. This partition displaced lakhs of people and there were huge losses to precious human life as well. Moreover, the partition gave rise to many other issues that are unresolved till today.
The steps that these countries initiated to normalize their relations, which include Shimla Agreement, Agra Summit and Lahore Summit, have met with failure. However, some progressive steps that were initiated helped the people of the two countries come closer. These include many confidence building measures during the period of Vajpayee such as the 2003 ceasefire and the Delhi-Lahore bus service as well as the cross LOC bus service during the UPA regime. Nevertheless, the militant attacks that occurred many times have ruined such efforts. The attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 almost started a nuclear war between the two states. The bombings in 2007 of the Samjhauta Express in which 68 people were killed who were mostly Pakistanis, accompanied by the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by militants and recently the Pathankot attacks served as fuel to the fire. These events have stalled the peace talks very badly.
Now it is high time for both the countries to start a constructive dialogue process and solve all the pending issues which have created hurdles in the way of making the Sub-Continent a region of peace, prosperity and cooperation. This can be achieved if people of both the countries realize that their interests could be met only with cooperation and show some seriousness to achieve that cooperation. Their joint efforts could help make the region the centre of attraction for the civilized world. Genuine efforts towards this end must begin now. We have wasted enough time.
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