India - Pakistan - explainer

What India and Pakistan don't agree on


Pakistan and India have fought three wars since partition in the wake of the British Raj in 1947. Relations are plagued by disputes over the border, resources and accusations of support for cross-border terror attacks.


Here are some of the main points of contention: 

  • Kashmir – The Muslim-majority state has been divided since partition, with India
  • controlling most of it; Pakistan claims the whole state and is accused of training Islamist guerrillas to fight Indian rule; in addition to various armed groups, several political parties oppose Delhi's rule and organise frequent protests and strikes; some want to join Pakistan, others want independence.

  • Cross-border violence – India accuses Pakistan’s secret services of being behind
  • many bombings and other attacks on its soil; it says Islamabad has failed to crack down on Lashkar-e-Taiba, which it blames for the Mumbai attacks; a senior civil servant claims a confession by a US-born Islamist shows that Pakistan’s secret services, the ISI, masterminded the 2008 slaughter.

  • Afghanistan – Pakistan regards Afghanistan as its back yard, and the ISI helped
  • train both anti-Soviet fighters and the Taliban; India has increased its investment and influence since the 2001 US-led invasion, leading to Pakistan fearing that it will be encircled.

  • Water – Farmers in the Pakistani breadbasket province of Punjab accuse India of reducing the Chenab river to a trickle; Pakistan claims that a power project in Kashmir violates the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

There is at least one thing these fractious neighbours have in common - they both have nuclear weapons.


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