The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and The Republic of India have engaged themselves in numerous armed conflicts since their creation (Brines, 12-13). With no stable resolutions to these armed conflicts, there are a number of questions that arise. What are the real causes of conflict between the two? Is t the Kashmir dispute? Is it the different state ideologies pursued by the two? Or is it religion? The two neighboring countries have fought three major wars, and involved in military standoffs and numerous border skirmishes. Moreover, the two constantly blame each other for providing financial and military assistance to violent terrorist groups. Besides Kashmir, there are other reasons leading to the stand-off.
The major cause of these conflicts has been the Kashmir dispute. Looking at the wars in order, the first was the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947, also known as the First Kashmir War. It started in October 1947 when the leader of Kashmir came under pressure of joining either Pakistan or India. Backed by Pakistan, tribal forces occupied the territory, which forced Kashmir's leader to sign into joining India. It is then that the United Nations intervened in order to end the war (Fortna, 23). A resolution was passed which ended the war in 1948. Kashmir was divided into territories; northern and western areas came under Pakistan while Central, southern and northeastern areas came under India. The second war, the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, came about after Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar (Gupta, 5-10).
The operation was aimed at infiltrating forces into Kashmir and Jammu so as to create an insurgency against India's rule. India's response was an attack on Pakistan. The war lasted five weeks and casualties were fatal on both sides (Fricker, 51-2). It was a large tank battle in history since the Second World War, which ended in a ceasefire mandated by the United Nations. Another major war was the Kargil War, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1999. The conflict was limited; Pakistani troops and Kashmiri insurgents occupied Indian Territory in Kargil district. The government of Pakistan thought the conflict would not escalate due to their possession of nuclear weapons. However, India commenced a military campaign aimed at flushing out the infiltrators. Pakistan withdrew due to foreign diplomatic pressure and Indian military advances (Dixit, 13). It is clear that Kashmir was a major build-up to the wars.
Another cause of the conflict between India and Pakistan is the divergent post-independence directions they have undertaken. India was a built in a different worldview. It has the same ideals as that of the United States, where the country was to become a socialist and secular democratic republic (Singh, 5). However, this is a sharp contrast to that of Pakistan, which is an Islamic Republic (Singh, 7). Pakistan has become more and more islamicized and radicalized; in essence it has become more extreme than what its founders envisioned. All laws were formed to conform to the Injunctions of Islam, thereby becoming a religious state.
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As an example, Pakistani passport requires that one is a Muslim with no alcohol consumption, amputation of hands and feet for property crimes. Islamic texts have been introduced into Pakistani military training. While India is committed to racial equality, Pakistani aims at reducing the Hindu population so as to make it a purely Islamic state. It seems in the eyes of Pakistani government, India is a common enemy to their state becoming an Islamic republic. Moreover, the Pakistanis seem to have a problem identifying their identity. They want it to be very different from India's. It is evident that the two countries have different paths they undertake in their economy and social livelihood (Lyon, 16-8).
Religion also seems to be playing part in the conflict. India is a predominantly Hindu country while Pakistan is an Islamic State. These are two conflicting religions and cultures. Pakistan has strict Islamic foundations. The country came into being basing on the theory that Muslims were in need of having a separate nation. This conflicts with secularism and pluralism in India. The Muslims in Pakistan want to expand their territory thinking of it as God's work. These concepts define the politics, ethics and even militancy of Pakistan. This is what has built hatred for other people and modernity amongst the Pakistani's. On the other hand, India dreams of a unified Indian nation.
It is important to note that, when British India was partitioned into Pakistan and India in 1947, the division did not clearly consider religious issues (Khan, 12). About a half of the Muslims of British India remained in the Republic of India. It is inter-communal violence between Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus that resulted in about one million casualties. Moreover, princely ruled territories such as Hyderabad and Kashmir also got involved in the Partition (Khan, 12). They had to decide on whether to join India or Pakistan. Kashmir's ruler decided to join India and India Acquired Hyderabad in accordance with the wishes of the masses. It is important to note that Kashmir had a majority of Muslims; it is then that Pakistan laid its claim on Kashmir. Therefore, religion cannot be left out as a major player in this conflict.
In conclusion, India and Pakistan are two neighboring Asian countries, who from time to time, have been involved in a series of deadly clashers, as well as, war propaganda (Leonard, 130). While there are a dozen causes of conflict, major ones seem to be the Kashmir dispute, religion, and divergent ideologies present in the two countries. Other than the major wars, there are other skirmishes that have arisen between the two from time to time. Kashmir has been rampant with insurgency all through the years. There are revolutionists who believe that Kashmir province should enjoin Pakistan, while others suggest its independence. The conflict also surrounds a nuclear threat; both have nuclear weapons and have conducted tests on several occasions. In my view, for there to be a stable resolution, revolutionists need to go deeper into finding the root cause of the conflict, and not just Kashmir.
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