Report

Pakistan-India relations: old rivals, new beginnings?

5 Nov 2012
Description

This paper argues that there are a number of opportunities that Pakistan and India may capitalise on in order to build a deeper relationship in the longer term.

Relations between Pakistan and India are anything but simple. Characterised by periodic ups and downs and intermittent breakdown, sometimes verging on all-out war, former Indian politician Inder Gurjal accurately described the relationship as a ‘tormented’ one. Indeed, the heated issues of Kashmir, terrorism and nuclear arms remain as challenging as ever. Despite this, though, the silver lining in the troubled relationship is that disruption in dialogue is never permanent; the governments of both countries invariably return to negotiation. Looking forward, there are a number of opportunities that Pakistan and India may capitalise on in order to build a deeper relationship in the longer term.

The normalisation of relations holds great benefit for both countries, especially when one considers their shared economic interests. In addition, with the drawdown of United States forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the two nuclear-armed rivals will need to find a consensus in order to stabilise Afghanistan and the region more generally, especially amid growing concerns over the potential “Talibanisation” of Pakistan. Therefore, although future relations are uncertain, these issues and the roles that both states can play in promoting regional stability will see Pakistan-India relations remain of critical importance in the coming decade.

Key points:

  • Relations between Pakistan and India are complicated. Characterised by ups and downs and intermittent breakdowns, the future of the relationship is anything but certain.
  • The issues of Kashmir and terrorism remain as challenging as ever. They continue to shape the relationship and are significant hurdles to normalising relations.
  • Despite these difficulties, dialogue is rarely disrupted for long, and there are many opportunities both countries can capitalise on to build warmer relations in the longer term.
  • Should relations become normalised, both states may enjoy great economic benefits, as well as ongoing stability in the region, especially as the United States withdraws its troops from in Afghanistan in 2014.
Publication Details
Published year only: 
2012
11
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