Since the partition of British India in 1947 and creation of India and Pakistan, the two South Asian countries have been involved in four wars, including one undeclared war, as well as many border skirmishes and military stand-offs. Additionally, India has accused Pakistan of engaging in proxy wars by providing military and financial assistance to violent non-state actors.
The dispute for Kashmir has been the cause, whether direct or indirect of all major conflicts between the two countries with the exception of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where conflict originated due to turmoil in erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
The Partition of India came about in the aftermath of World War II, when both Great Britain and British India were dealing with the economic stresses caused by the war and its demobilisation. It was the intention of those who wished for a Muslim state to come from British India to have a clean partition between independent and equal "Pakistan" and "Hindustan" once independence came.
The partition itself, according to leading politicians such as Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the All India Muslim League, and Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of the Indian National Congress, should have resulted in peaceful relations. However, the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947 did not divide the nations cleanly along religious lines. Nearly one third of the Muslim population of British India remained in India. Inter-communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims resulted in between 500,000 to 1 million casualties.:6
Princely-ruled territories, such as Kashmir and Hyderabad, were also involved in Partition. Rulers of these territories had the choice of joining India or Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan laid claim on Kashmir and thus it became the main point of conflict.:8 The ruler of Kashmir, which had a Muslim majority population, joined India by signing the Instrument of Accession.
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
This is also called the First Kashmir War. The war started in October 1947 when it was feared by the Kashmiris that Maharajah of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu might accede to India as choice was given to him on the matter to accede to any of the newly independent nations. Tribal forces from Pakistan attacked and occupied the princely state, resulting in Maharajah signing the Agreement to the accession of the princely state to India. The United Nations was invited by India to mediate the quarrel resulting in the UN Security Council passing Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The war ended in December 1948 with the Line of Control dividing Kashmir into territories administered by Pakistan (northern and western areas) and India (southern, central and northeastern areas).
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
This war started following Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against rule by India. India retaliated by launching an attack on Pakistan. The five-week war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and was witness to the largest tank battle in military history since World War II. The outcome of this war was a strategic stalemate with some small tactical victories for both sides. The war concluded after diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and USA and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration.
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The war was unique in that it did not involve the issue of Kashmir, but was rather precipitated by the crisis brewing in erstwhile East Pakistan. Following Operation Searchlight and the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities, about 10 million Bengalis in East Pakistan took refuge in neighbouring India. India intervened in the ongoing Bangladesh liberation movement. After a large scale pre-emptive strike by Pakistan, full-scale hostilities between the two countries commenced. Within two weeks of intense fighting, Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered to India following which the People's Republic of Bangladesh was created. This war saw the highest number of casualties in any of the India-Pakistan conflicts, as well as the largest number of prisoners of war since the Second World War after the surrender of more than 90,000 Pakistani military and civilians.
Indo-Pakistani War of 1999
Commonly known as Kargil War, this conflict between the two countries was mostly limited. Pakistani troops along with Kashmiri insurgents infiltrated across the Line of Control (LoC) and occupied Indian territory mostly in the Kargil district. The Pakistani government believed that its nuclear weapons would deter a full-scale escalation in conflict but India launched a major military campaign to flush out the infiltrators. Due to Indian military advances and increasing foreign diplomatic pressure, Pakistan was forced to withdraw its forces back across the LoC.
The Nuclear conflict between both countries is of passive strategic nature with Nuclear doctrine of Pakistan stating a first strike policy, although the strike would only be initiated if and only if, the Pakistan Armed Forces are unable to halt an invasion (as for example in 1971 war) or a nuclear strike is launched against Pakistan while India has a declared policy of No first use.
- Kirana-I: In 1980s a series of 24 different cold tests were conducted by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission led by Chairman Munir Ahmad Khan under extreme secrecy. The tunnels at Kirana Hills, Sargodha, are reported to have been bored after the Chagai nuclear test sites, it is widely believed that the tunnels were constructed sometime between 1979 and 1983. As in Chagai, the tunnels at Kirana Hills had been bored and then sealed and this task was also undertaken by PAEC's DTD. Later due to excessive US intelligence and satellite focus on the Kirana Hills site, it was abandoned and the WTL-I was shifted to the Kala Chitta Range.
- Pokhran-II (Operation Shakti): On 11 May 1998 India detonated another 5 nuclear devices at Pokhran Test Range. With jublication and large scale approval from the Indian society came International sanctions as a reaction to this test. The most vehement reaction of all coming from Pakistan. Great ire was raised in Pakistan, which issued a severe statement claiming that India was instigating a nuclear arms race in the region. Pakistan vowed to match India's nuclear capability with statements like, "We are in a headlong arms race on the subcontinent."
- Chagai-I: (Youm-e-Takbir) Within half a month of Pokhran-II, on 28 May 1998 Pakistan detonated 5 nuclear devices to reciprocate India in the nuclear arms race. Pakistani public, like the Indian, reacted with a celebration and heightened sense of nationalism for responding to India in kind and becoming the only Muslim nuclear power. The day was later given the title Youm-e-Takbir to further proclaim such.
- Chagai-II: Two days later, on 30 May 1998, Pakistan detonated a 6th nuclear device completing its own series of underground tests with this being the last test the two nations have carried out to date.
Other armed engagements
Apart from the aforementioned wars, there have been skirmishes between the two nations from time to time. Some have bordered on all-out war, while others were limited in scope. The countries were expected to fight each other in 1955 after warlike posturing on both sides, but full-scale war did not break out.
- Indian integration of Junagadh: The princely state of Junagadh, which had a Hindu majority and a Muslim ruler acceded to Pakistan on 15 September 1947, claiming a connection by sea. Pakistan's acceptance of the Instrument of Accession was seen as a strategy to get a plebiscite held in Kashmir which had a Muslim majority and a Hindu ruler. Following communal tensions Indian military entered the territory which was protested by Pakistan as a violation of International law. Later a plebiscite was held and the accession was reversed for the state to join India.
- Kashmir conflict: Other than the three wars mentioned in above section, the conflict, since accession of the state on 26 October 1947, has been an on and off major cause for the tensions between the two nations.
- Operation Brasstacks: (the largest of its kind in South Asia), conducted by India between November 1986 and March 1987, and Pakistani mobilisation in response, raised tensions and fears that it could lead to another war between the two neighbours.:129
- 2008 Mumbai attacks: Following ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India's largest city, tensions heightened between the two countries since India claimed interrogation results alleging Pakistan's ISI supporting the attackers while Pakistan denied it. Pakistan placed its air force on alert and moved troops to the Indian border, voicing concerns about proactive movements of Indian Army and the Indian government's possible plans to launch attacks on Pakistani soil. The tension defused in short time and Pakistan moved its troops away from border.
Involvement of other nations
In popular culture
These wars have provided source material for both Indian and Pakistani film and television dramatists, who have adapted events of the war for the purposes of drama and to please target audiences in their nations.
- Films (Indian)
- Hindustan Ki Kasam, a 1973 Hindi war film based on Operation Cactus Lilly of the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, directed by Chetan Anand.
- Aakraman, a 1975 Hindi war film based on the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, directed by J. Om Prakash.
- Vijeta, a 1982 Hindi film based on the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, produced by Shashi Kapoor and directed by Govind Nihalani.
- Param Vir Chakra, a 1995 Hindi film based on Indo-Pak War, directed by Ashok Kaul.
- Border, a 1997 Hindi war film based on the Battle of Longewala of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, directed by J.P.Dutta.
- LOC Kargil, a 2003 Hindi war film based on the Kargil War, directed by J.P.Dutta
- Deewaar, a 2004 Hindi film starring Amitabh Bachchan based on the POW of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, directed by Milan Luthria.
- Lakshya, a 2004 Hindi film partially based on the events of the Kargil War, directed by Farhan Akhtar.
- 1971, 2007 Hindi war film based on a true story of prisoners of war after the Indo-Pak war of 1971, directed by Amrit Sagar
- Kurukshetra, a 2008 Malayalam film based on Kargil War, directed by Major Ravi.
- Miniseries/Dramas (Pakistani)
- Angaar Waadi, an Urdu drama serial based on Indian occupation of Kashmir, directed by Rauf Khalid
- Laag, an Urdu drama serial based on Indian occupation of Kashmir, directed by Rauf Khalid
- Operation Dwarka, 1965, an Urdu drama based on the naval Operation Dwarka of 1965, directed by Qasim Jalali
- PNS Ghazi (Shaheed), an Urdu drama based on sinking of PNS Ghazi, ISPR
- Alpha Bravo Charlie, an Urdu drama serial based on three different aspects of Pakistan Army's involvement in action, directed by Shoaib Mansoor
- Shahpar, an Urdu drama serial based on Pakistan Air Force, directed by Qaisar Farooq & Syed Shakir Uzair
- Sipahi Maqbool Hussain, an Urdu drama serial based on a 1965 war POW, directed by Haider Imam Rizvi
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- ^ Pakistan and India Play With Nuclear Fire By Jonathan Power The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
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