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Indo Pak Relations Essay

1625 words - 7 pages

Question: 2. What are the key reasons for the continued hostility in Indo-Pak relations? What steps in your opinion can the two countries take to develop and sustain cordial relations in the twenty-first century?


“Indo-Pak rivalry is the uncompromising struggle of two ways of life, two concepts of political organisation, two conflicting ideological foundations, two scales of values, and two spiritual attitudes that find themselves locked in deadly conflict, a conflict in which Kashmir has become both symbol and battleground, making the Indo-Pak rivalry an enduring one (Ashok 2012, 1)”. This essay will argue that the key reasons underlying the continued hostility in ...view middle of the document...

On the surface, these arguments help us understand the historical events that lead to friction but fail to critically evaluate the underlying cause of hostility. Having successfully succeeded from British rule on the 15th August 1947, India had entered a period of transition which would prove to be a decisive moment in the future of Indo-Pak relations (Hardgrave and Kochanek 1986, 55). Announced only 6 months prior, the British decision to partition the Indian subcontinent under the guise of irreconcilable religious difference saw the formation of Pakistan on the 14th August 1947, just one day prior to Indian independence (Cohen 2004, 39). The Indian ideology propounded by the Indian National Congress, advocated that all of India’s diverse communities could live together and form one secular and democratic state; the constitution being a symbol of this newfound freedom (Ganguly 2010, 12). In contrast, the two nation theory promoted by the All-India Muslim League headed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, advocated a separate state for Muslims that could guarantee their rights and privileges (Hardgrave and Kochanek 1986, 55). Despite having coexisted peacefully prior to British overthrow, the two nation theory was merely promoted as a means to gain popular support from the Muslim majority (Yousaf 2009, 2). From a British perspective, partition would help block the spread of communism and prevent India from emerging as a united world power (Yousaf 2009, 2). Following the death of Jinnah, powerful groups advocated an alternative Islamic vision undermining the two nation theory (Cohen 2004, 92). There is no one moment in Indo-Pak history that can be pinpointed as the cause of the conflict. There is however a number of predisposing conditions which explains why this conflict is enduring including the fundamental ideological difference in state construction.

Fundamental Ideological Difference in State Construction

The first condition attributing to continued hostility between India and Pakistan can be traced back to the fundamentally differing ideas regarding state construction between the Indian and Pakistani leaders during partition (Ganguly 2001, 4). As propounded by Jinnah, Pakistan was formed as a home for Muslims of Southwest Asia however this theocratic idea of state construction never truly eventuated (Ganguly 2001, 5). Following the defeat in East Bengal, Pakistan developed into more of an Islamic state in which religion became ingrained in their national identity (Cohen 2001, 223). Today, it is still unclear as to what a Muslim state connotes and continues to be an area of disagreement in Pakistani politics (Ganguly 2001, 5). As identified earlier, the basis of the Indian constitution was secular which challenged the very foundation of Jinnah’s two nation theory (Ganguly 2001, 5). As argued by Sumit Ganguly, Professor of Political Science at the Indiana University:

“A secular state based on civic nationalism is antithetical to those who...

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