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India - Pakistan UPSC NOTE

 Why in news

  • The Reasi terrorist attack of June 9, the day the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, took his oath of office for a third term, , is reminiscent of the attack on the Consulate General of India (CGI), Herat, Afghanistan on May 23, 2014, three days prior to his first swearing-in. 

  • Nine pilgrims lost their lives in the attack in Reasi (in Jammu and Kashmir) and 41 were injured. 

  • Clearly, both attacks had the same objective: to embarrass and enrage Mr. Modi and India on a day of great political significance

Persistent challenge of terrorism that India faces from Pakistan

  • The Jammu division has witnessed many terrorist incidents over the past few months, including after the Reasi attack. 

  • They profile the persistence of the terrorist challenge India has faced for almost 35 years especially in J&K.

  • Pakistan and separatists in J&K were encouraged by the success of the Afghan Jihad

  • Pakistan thought that if a superpower could be defeated by Afghan Islamist groups, other such groups could be used to pressure India in Kashmir through mass uprisings, violence against minorities, and terrorist actions against prominent personalities and the security forces, leading this country to abandon Kashmir. 

  • The Indian state and its security forces took time to craft defensive counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism approaches in the first half of the 1990s

  • The Pakistan Army and its political class are committed to the “Kashmir cause”

  • In the late 1980s and early 1990s, both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto who became Pakistan’s Prime Ministers in turn were supportive of the promotion of separatism in J&K by the army and intelligence agencies, through the use of terror. 

  • Ms. Bhutto decided not to hold talks with India in 1994 unless India was willing to purposefully engage Pakistan on J&K in a manner Pakistan prescribed. 

  • Consequently, there was no dialogue between the two countries while she was in office. 

  • Mr. Sharif became Prime Minister in 1997, for the second time. He decided to change Ms. Bhutto’s policy and engage India.

  • Pakistan desired a structured dialogue with India which would focus on all issues — humanitarian, conflict resolution and the development of cooperative mechanisms. 

  • Within this rubric, its focus was on ‘disputes’, J&K being the priority. 

  • However, India wished to discuss Pakistani terrorism as a separate issue in the dialogue process. 

  • By the mid-1990s, India had gained the confidence to manage Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in J&K

  • While it was exacting a toll in lives and had disrupted normalcy, the apprehension that Pakistan would take the State out of India’s grip had gone. 

  • The decision to hold Assembly elections in J&K in 1996 was a signal that while the application of force to counter terrorism was necessary and would continue, there was space to begin political activity.

India-Pakistan diplomatic engagements and dialogues

  • Thus, a combination of force and the restoration of political activity was used to address the problem in Kashmir: a problem within India’s internal jurisdiction. 

  • This related to the recovery of the State’s territory in Pakistani control. 

  • Under the Simla Agreement of 1972, India was committed to resolving this issue peacefully, through negotiations. 

  • However, in 1972, the idea that Pakistan would promote terrorism through Islamist non-state actors under its control had not been contemplated. 

  • Hence, the constraints imposed by the Simla Agreement became void once Pakistan resorted to terrorism and India could legitimately treat Pakistani terrorism as a ‘strategic’ issue, i.e., one which required the application of force in the external sphere. 

  • However, India chose the path of diplomacy and dialogue.

  • India and Pakistan agreed on the mechanics of a bilateral composite dialogue in September 1998

  • The composite dialogue listed ‘terrorism and counter-narcotics’ as one of the eight issues of engagement. 

  • It became clear to India from the very first bilateral exchange on this issue in October 1998, that Pakistan was unwilling to address India’s concerns.

  • From 1998 to 2016, all three Prime Ministers — Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi — pursued the path of diplomacy, as part of the Composite Dialogue, to address Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. 

  • Indeed, Dr. Manmohan Singh tried to insulate the larger bilateral relationship by establishing with Pakistan a joint anti-terrorism mechanism, but it went nowhere

  • The problem with the diplomatic approach was that public opinion in India was for military action after an ‘unacceptable’ terrorist attack or provocative and ‘unacceptable’ Pakistani action. 

  • However, governments chose only to withdraw from the dialogue process

  • A prominent illustration of this proposition was witnessed after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack when Dr. Manmohan Singh opted out of the dialogue process; he chose to garner global diplomatic support against Pakistan

  • Where India actually departed from the use of diplomacy and used military force against Pakistani terrorism was after the Pulwama attack of 2019

  • It undertook the Balakot aerial strike (2019) and also announced a doctrine of pre-emption.

  • Earlier too it had used force in a limited way by way of undertaking surgical strikes in the wake of the Uri terrorist attack of September 2016

  • Despite these undertakings, the ambiguity on the use of force remains. 



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India - Pakistan UPSC NOTE
India - Pakistan UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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