Academic journal article Asian Social Science

India-Pakistan Relations: International Implications

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

India-Pakistan Relations: International Implications

Article excerpt


India's independence in 1947 from the British colonial rule and its subsequent division into two nations - India and Pakistan - has sowed the seeds of continuing conflict between the two countries since their independence. The partition of India was primarily based on the religious divide between the two communities - the Hindus and the Muslims. After India's partition, the major issue of conflict between the two countries has been the Muslim dominated northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, currently a part of India. This bilateral conflict has had international implications over the years. Decades of conflict, which includes three major wars, has contributed to a nuclear race between the two countries and growth of terrorism in the region. These two regional outcomes of the conflict have assumed global significance with the growing international threat of nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

The paper analyzes the bilateral conflict between India and Pakistan and the subsequent emergence of the global threats. The paper also emphasizes normalization of the bilateral relations as the key prerequisite to ensure peace and security for the region and also for relieving the global society from the perils of a growing nuclear threat and expanding forces of terrorism.

Keywords: conflict, nuclear, proliferation, terrorism, bilateral, international, peace, Kashmir, India and Pakistan

1. Introduction

India and Pakistan have had a history of conflict with each other ever since the independence of the Indian subcontinent, and its partition into India and Pakistan in 1947. The India-Pakistan conflict, which began as and is a bilateral conflict, got entangled with the international politics of the Cold War at the time of independence of the two countries. The Cold War, a post Second World War ideological conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, forced both the US and the Soviet Union to take opposing sides in the dispute between India and Pakistan. However, after the end of the Cold War, with the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, the growth of terrorism and the proliferation of the nuclear weapons, the two key consequences of the conflict between the two countries, have given a new dimension to the bilateral conflict from an international perspective.

This paper will explore the international implications of the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Section I of the paper will analyze the origin and the growth of conflict between India and Pakistan in a historical context. Section II will highlight the underlying factors that have led to the proliferation of the nuclear weapons and terrorism in the region due to the growing conflict between the two nations. The regional and global implications of both nuclear proliferation and terrorism, as well as Pakistan's role in the war and the destabilization of Afghanistan will also be discussed in this section. Section III of the paper will analyze the policy alternatives for building peace between India and Pakistan, which are likely to enhance the prospects of maintaining peace and security at a broader international level. Section IV will conclude the paper, re-emphasizing the internationalization of the India-Pakistan conflict in terms of having unpleasant global consequences.

2. The India-Pakistan Conflict

India and Pakistan have shared a feeling of "mutual distrust" (Hewitt, 1997) ever since the partition of India and the eventual creation of Pakistan as an independent state. This distrust was an outcome of the colonial legacy of "divide and rule." The colonial policy of divide and rule pitted the Muslims against the Hindus. The policy gave rise, amongst the Muslim, to a sentiment of "Islam being in danger" (Hewitt, 1997) in the Hindu dominated Indian society. The growth of Islamic nationalism and hence the demand for a separate Muslim state was an outcome of this paranoia. On the other side, the belief within the Hindu dominated nationalist party of India was "secular Indian nationalism" (Ganguly, 1994). …

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