Conflict between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia

Conflict between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia

Conflict between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia

Conflict between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia

Synopsis

This up-to-date encyclopedia examines the conflict between India and Pakistan from Independence to the present day, with an authoritative treatment that presents the issues evenhandedly and from both countries' perspectives.

Excerpt

This encyclopedia is about relations between India and Pakistan from 1947 to today, and it endeavors to trace and account for the principal vicissitudes in these relations in their several dimensions—political, military, economic, and cultural. It does not purport to be a detailed account of all aspects of India and/or Pakistan in these years, but it does make occasional reference to earlier history (e.g., of Akbar, Babar, or Aurangzeb) when doing so seems relevant to an understanding of more recent or even contemporary events.

Arguably Indo-Pakistan relations since 1947 have been in a state of Cold War, but such a description is inadequate because there have been diverse armed clashes between the principals (as in 1948, 1965, and 1971). Furthermore, on occasion (such as in 2003–2004) the dominant motif in official Indo-Pakistan relations has been the search for détente and the prospect of a lasting entente. Although this study is primarily about official, that is, intergovernmental relations between these two countries, I am aware and desire to indicate that this subject has its important nongovernmental dimensions and that treating the subject fairly involves taking due account of public moods, fears, hopes, and aversions.

As in any encyclopedia, this work presents entries arranged alphabetically. Cross-references are given where appropriate to indicate related entries, and most entries are followed by bibliographical pointers, listed in author–date form. These abbreviated references are included in the expanded bibliography. The biographical sketches do not claim to cover all aspects of the persons concerned but rather to refer principally to how they relate to Indo-Pakistan relations. The chronology conveys information about principal events in date order in some detail, especially for the past decade or so, for it is a familiar paradox that it is often easier to see the more remote than the recent past in perspective.

A cautionary remark seems appropriate: Statistics, whether emanating from governmental sources or from their challengers, should be treated cautiously and with some skepticism, especially about deaths from terrorism or the incidence and mortalities from communal violence. The temptations to massage such figures are strong and not always resisted. Furthermore, both India and Pakistan are themselves so complex and diverse that virtually every general proposition can find some verifying evidence—but also some for its opposite.

According to the University of Chicago’s superb geopolitical synopsis in A Historical Atlas of South Asia (published in 1978), of 63 distinct and considerable powers whose authorities waxed and waned during the past 1,500 years, 28 had their principal centers and bases on the northern Indian plain, only 9 actually achieved pan-Indian status, and of these 7 were centered on the plain.

The general deduction is made that
control over much or all of the north Indian
plain, then, clearly allows the surest regional
basis for the attainment of undisputed
hegemony in the Indian sub continent. The
explanation is not far to seek. No other
comparably large area of South Asia affords
the ease of movement and hence the
opportunities for rapid conquest and
integration that are encountered on the Indo-
Gangetic Plain. None has a comparable
population base or, as a corollary, comparable
agricultural productivity. (Schwartzberg, 259)

The same overall analysis amply demonstrates the point that the existence of a pan-Indian state, even for decades on end, often has not precluded . . .

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