Indo-Pak Relations: Need for a Pragmatic Approach

Smruti S. Pattanaik, Researcher, IDSA


Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to Pakistan by bus has heralded a new era of optimism to the otherwise quiescent Indo-Pak relations in recent times. It is significant because Vajpayee insisted on making the visit despite fundamentalist groups resisting the move on both sides. The visit amounts to an acknowledgement of popular sentiment articulating close relations with Pakistan despite drastic disagreements on many issues. To that extent, the Lahore Declaration is one more step towards a cordial Indo-Pakistan relations, yet optimism about the future is not devoid of apprehensions.

How far can both neighbours continue their dialogue without any concrete progress on the eight agreed issues especially Kashmir? Whether improvement in the transport and communication linkages would lead to relaxing the visa regime and enable families divided by the political separation to meet each other more easily? Will non-interference in each other's affairs be able to terminate cross-border terrorism? Will reiterating the desire to resolve the Kashmir issue enable them to establish a durable solution?

This paper attempts to analyse Indo-Pakistan relations in a historical perspective and focusses on the recent developments. It highlights the contrasts in Islamabad's approach to bilateral ties with New Delhi during the military regime and thereafter under democratic goverance. The paper discusses the changing emphasis on the Kashmir problem which is determined by the evolving strategic interests of Pakistan. It concludes with some pragmatic suggestions to improve the quality of relations between the two neighbours sharing a common culture and ethinicity.

The Lahore Declaration

The Lahore Declaration indicates a realisation by both sides about the need for promoting peaceful relations with each other. More importantly, the nuclear security dimension is also reflected in the declaration which underlines the imperative for greater emphasis on cordial relations. Vajpayee also clarified that India's nuclear test was only for self-defence and not Pakistan-centric. While appealing to stop Indo-Pakistan hostilities forever in the post nuclear scenario he said, "A small spark can now cause a huge fire. There is no option available to us except peace."

A sustained bilateral dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad has assumed significance because it has the potential to establish durable peace. This could be a time consuming process but would definitely be another step forward to dilute mistrust between the two neighbours on the subcontinent. The recent visit of the Indian prime minister to Pakistan and the announcement of concrete steps to deal with nuclear mishaps is definitely of help to both countries to avoid nuclear miscalculations and disaster. Considering the newly acquired overt nuclear weapon capabilities of both countries, the talks have highlighted the nuclear issue. Contrary to international opinion, the latest entrants into the nuclear weapons club are also as responsible as other nation states. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on February 21, 1999, strengthens mutual security and minimises uncertainty. The Lahore Declaration contains major policy objectives. These include mutual consultation over confidence building measures (CBMs) regarding nuclear and conventional forces; advance notification before ballistic missile tests; reducing risks of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons; prior notification by either side in the event of any such incident and adoption of measures to reduce the risk of such actions. The two leaders reaffirmed their faith on a moratorium on further nuclear tests unless extraordinary situations jeopardise their security interests.1 All these areas of mutual concern requires concrete action to work out agreements to implement the plan of action on the agreed areas. Especially in the sphere of advance notification on missile tests, an immediate agreement is necessary to dispel doubts and apprehensions about such tests. Moreover, an agreement on reduction of accidents and unauthorised or unexplained incidents that might lead to a nuclear war is of prime importance given the level of mistrust and suspicion that characterises Indo-Pak relations. Thus, some level of confidence in the nuclear and missile related areas has become extremely important. The MoU and joint declaration have identified significant issues which need further discussion for concrete action. It reinforces optimism in both sides. However, the necessary steps required to implement can be time consuming. The joint statement focuses on areas of mutual interest and comprise: the periodical meetings of Foreign Secretaries to discuss issues of mutual concern, consultation on World Trade Organisation (WTO) related issues, cooperation in the field of information technology, further liberalising the visa and travel regime, appointment of a two-member committee at ministerial level to examine humanitarian issues relating to civilian detainees and missing prisoners of war (PoWs).

After Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit, the optimism generated in Indo-Pakistan relations created should be nurtured with concrete efforts towards peaceful coexistence. Unlike the last round of talks, this visit will help to create a positive atmosphere for a new chapter in New Delhi-Islamabad ties.

New Delhi Talks

Prior to the New Delhi round of talks (December 6-13, 1998) in the Islamabad round of talks (October 1998), the focus was on peace, security and CBMs besides Kashmir. India agreed to have a dialogue on Kashmir but made it very clear that the status of Kashmir is not open for negotiations. Pakistan was more emphatic on the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. On the nuclear issue, India proposed a safety package to prevent unauthorised nuclear war. It could not make much progress since Pakistan linked it to the progress on Kashmir.2 India also offered a no-first use pact. The earlier agreement on non-attacking each other's nuclear installation was proposed to be extended to cities, commercial and population centres, but this was not agreed to by Pakistan. Pakistan suggested a "strategic restraint regime" which included "mutual and balanced force reduction," and an agreement to freeze the missile development programme which as expected, was not acceptable to India. Thus, the Islamabad round of talks had ended with no progress at all.

The New Delhi round of bilateral talks included six issues i.e. Wullar barrage or Tulbul navigation project, Sir Creek, Siachen, trade, terrorism and drug trafficking and cultural exchanges.

Talks on the Wullar barrage and Tulbul navigation project started in 1987. Pakistan, in 1991, had agreed to permit the construction of the barrage on the Jhelum for navigation after India agreed to forgo 0.3m acre feet of water out of its share under the Indus Water Treaty provision. Differences started over the objective of the project i.e. whether it is a storage project or a controlled project. During the present round of talks, Syed Shahid Husain, secretary, Water and Power of Pakistan, suggested that the entire issue should be looked at afresh; however, the Indian side wished to continue talks from the 1992 draft agreement. The work of the project, which started in 1984, has stopped since 1987.

There have been eight round of talks on Siachen. During the present talks, India proposed a package of CBMs, which would lead to a "comprehensive ceasefire" in Saltoro Range to "immediate defuse tension and atmosphere of confrontation in the area."3 India argued that only after these essential steps, discussion on disengagement/redeployment can take place. India further argued for a "bilateral monitoring mechanism for the implementation of ceasefire."4 The 1989 agreement on the Siachen issue was aborted because both countries could not agree on the modalities i.e. demilitarisation first or delimitation of the boundary first.5 In 1992, both parties had agreed to create a "zone of disengagement" through troop pullbacks in the Siachen area.6 But no formal agreement was reached because of mutual suspicion. Pakistan attributed the Siachen problem to the non-resolution of the Kashmir question as per the United Nations resolutions. According to some reports, it was only in 1983 that Pakistan planned to induct specially trained and equipped forces for the military occupation of the Siachen area.7 Ceasefire in Siachen is necessary as both the countries are spending enormous amounts of resources, both human and material, to maintain their positions in the highest battleground of the world.

Both the countries discussed Sir Creek for the seventh time in this round of talks. Pakistan claims the eastern bank defined by a green line to constitute the boundary in that area. Acceptance of this line by India will enable Pakistan to enlarge its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by around 250 sq miles. New Delhi accepts the mid-channel of the creek as shown in the 1925 map as the maritime boundary in Sir Creek and refers to the green line as "ribbon line." However, Islamabad has rejected the mid-channel proposal pointing out that this principle is applicable only to cases where channels are navigable,8 and Sir Creek is not. India proposed that the two sides can proceed from the land from the extremity of the EEZ limit to a "mutually acceptable limit" which can be governed by the internationally recognised Technical Aspect of the Law of the Sea (TALOS).9 Pakistan did not agree, its contention was that the determination of the land boundary in the Sir Creek area and fixing its maritime boundary are inseparable.10 A solution on this vital issue seems to be elusive if both the countries do not exhibit a policy of mutual accommodation. The reported presence of oil and natural gas in this region has rendered this area of geo-economic and strategic importance. At the same time, this makes a solution in this region more difficult.

The talks on trade were held for the first time. Regarding the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India11 in accordance with WTO provisions, Pakistan stated that it will consider the proposal after creating a viable atmosphere for its domestic industries to face the challenge posed by the Indian industries. The trade talks also boiled down to the issue of Kashmir, and Pakistan insisted that progress in these areas would be restricted till an environment of "peace and security" is created between the two countries at the political level, especially on the core issue of Kashmir. However, there was some progress in the discussions on the trade issue, though there was still scope for more concrete steps.

The talks on terrorism, as anticipated, could not make any significant progress. For the first time, both countries discussed this problem as part of the composite dialogue agreed to in June 1997. Both sides handed over lists of terrorist training camps in each other's country.12 The discussion was not fruitful since both sides were engaged in accusations and counter accusations and refuting each other's charges. After the talks, Home Secretary B.P. Singh said that India "firmly rejected" Pakistan's suggestion of involving the United Nation's Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) or some other international observers along the border in Jammu and Kashmir to verify India's allegations regarding Pakistan's involvement in cross-border terrorism.13

On the issue of promotion of friendly exchanges in various fields, India put forth 22 detailed suggestions in the field of art, culture, youth affairs, sports, information and media. The Pakistani side informed that they would examine the Indian proposals in the light of the Indo-Pakistan Cultural Agreement of 1988 and take up these issues in the next round of talks.

The significant factor in the New Delhi round of bilateral talks is that the dialogue has not collapsed despite not being very productive so far. The underlying principle of this whole exercise is "sustained engagement." At the end of each round of talks, both the sides in their joint Press release in a monotonous way stated that "both the sides stated their respective position" and the discussions were "frank and cordial." And there is a promise that the issues will be taken up in the next round. There are a few agreements, which can be regarded as the positive outcome of this round of talks. These are: (a) on the issue of terrorism and cross-border crimes, both sides agreed to set up a mechanism for regular meetings and exchange of operational information between the Central Bureau of Investigation and Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan "for expeditious assistance to each other for combatting various kind of crimes, including counterfeiting of currency and cyber crimes; (b) export of sugar from Pakistan to India has been accepted; (c) supply of power to India has been agreed upon. India at present has the infrastructure to get 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity supply out of Pakistan's 2,000mw surplus electricity;14 (d) certain proposals by India to avoid double taxation are under consideration; (e) Pakistan's proposal for setting up a mechanism for quick information flows on trade and investment was agreed to by the Indian side; (f) Pakistan agreed to ensure that visas would be issued to Indians within six weeks and there would not be any delay; (g) bus service from Delhi to Lahore has already started;15 (h) both sides agreed to release fisherman in each other's custody.

Though, there is scope for a more meaningful dialogue on many issues; however, mutual suspicion of each other's intentions and linking the resolution of Kashmir to progress on other issues by Pakistan can be attributed as the major stumbling blocks.

Kashmir and Bilateral Talks

In the history of Indo-Pak bilateral relations, Kashmir has occupied the most prominent position. Pakistan's constant harping on the issue of plebiscite has not gone down well with the Indian political elite and policy makers, but Pakistan has not refrained from raising this issue in the international fora.

After the partition of the subcontinent on the basis of religion, Nehru realising that Kashmir issue can be a source of confrontation between the countries offered a no-war pact to Pakistan which was rejected. While replying to Nehru's offer, the prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, wrote that a no-war pact will be meaningful if a formula can be agreed to a fair settlement of disputes which could erupt into war if allowed to fester too long.16 The no-war pact offer by India was renewed in 1956, to which Chaudhury Mohammad Ali, the then prime minister of Pakistan, insisted on an agreed procedure to settle the Kashmir dispute before any discussion on the no-war-pact could be taken up. He also suggested arbitration if negotiations failed. In 1957, Pakistan offered a five-point plan to India for solution of outstanding problems that can lead to a no-war pact which included resolution of the Kashmir problem. This offer was rejected by India. However, India continued with its periodic offer of a no-war pact. This includes the offer by Lal Bahadur Shastri during his premiership, by Indira Gandhi in 1968, by then Foreign Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1977, and also by Prime Minister Moraji Desai in 1977. The Pakistani response to these offers has been varied. These include proposals for joint defence in 1959, and in 1960 Ayub Khan and Nehru had a formal discussion to set up a mechanism for the settlement of pending disputes. In 1963, during foreign minister level talks with Sardar Swaran Singh, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, even went to the extent of suggesting the replacement of Indian troops in Kashmir by an International Administration and suggested the establishment of a mechanism to ascertain the people's wishes after six months of this administration. In 1972, Bhutto offered mutual balanced force reduction to India, an offer which was repeated Zia in 1980. Interestingly, Pakistan under General Zia-ul-Haq, offered a no-war pact to India in 1981,17 which India rejected saying that Pakistan was making this offer while preparing for war with the American military aid which was meant for Afghanistan.

It would be unfair to suggest that bilateral negotiations would not yield results if one takes into account the history of bilateral relations. Though the Tashkent Agreement was held under Soviet mediation, the underlying political will of the two parties made the agreement more accommodating to each other's desire to end the conflict. As per the provisions the Tashkent Agreement of 1965, troops were withdrawn PoWs were exchanged, diplomatic ties were renewed, and India lifted the ban on trade though normal trade between the two countries could be resumed only in 1975. Both the countries facilitated the visit of newspaper correspondents and the Rann of Kutch dispute was resolved amicably in 1969. In the same year, Indira Gandhi offered to normalise relations by restoring communication links and encouraging cultural exchanges and commerce.

The Simla Agreement laid emphasis on the bilateral resolution of disputes. The countries held bilateral talks in August 1972, July 1973, August 1973 and April 1974 to precipitate the process of normalisation. After the 1971 war with India, the Pakistani priority was to defend its territorial sovereignty, and to achieve this objective, peace with India became of paramount importance. Thus, security and nuclear issues took priority, while the Kashmir issue took a back seat. The basic changes in posture are noticed in Pakistan's approach to an Indo-Pakistan dialogue after 1971. According to a Pakistani scholar, "In the past, Pakistan had always emphasised the need for solving the Kashmir problem before taking up other issues. Now Pakistan, while affirming its position on the Kashmir issue, sought to resolve other issues before the Kashmir problem is taken up."18 The normalisation process suffered a setback when India went for a nuclear test in 1974. Pakistan's nuclear ambition became clearly established during Bhutto's period. Both the countries, while treading the nuclear path carefully in the pursuit of their security, focussed more on CBMs to avoid any kind of nuclear miscalculations.

The Indo-Pak relations should not be studied in isolation from the domestic politics in Pakistan. Throughout Bhutto's turbulent years in politics after 1975, pressure on him to take corrective economic measures grew sharply. Mismanagement of the economy, corruption, and political nepotism through victimisation made political expediency its first victim. As a means to political survival against growing political opposition Bhutto took recourse to incorporating certain Islamic tenets, and, as a result, anti-Indianism grew. These are the convenient methods to divert public attention and seek legitimacy. Thus, the scope of good neighbourly relations with India was derailed by rhetoric. After Bhutto, Indo-Pak relations took least priority due to the political instability and dissatisfaction that ensued during Zia's regime. The military government did not encourage Indo-Pak relations to be discussed in public fora. Moreover, the attention of the political elites was concentrated more on restoration of democracy and removal of Zia. In the pursuit of these objectives they needed external support through international pressure. So they could not afford to displease India by raising issues which would upset India. However, Zia tried to improve relations without giving up the basic Pakistan's stand on Kashmir. His offer of mutual force reduction was tackled with a diplomatic answer from India i.e. creation of mutual trust and confidence as a pre-requisite for such proposals to be entertained.

Throughout his period, Zia was more involved in the Afghan conflict, perceiving it as a golden opportunity to exploit American apprehensions about the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. He used it to extract arms aid to strengthen Pakistan's military. The US realised the importance of Pakistan for the fulfilment of its strategic objectives. Moreover, Pakistan was willing to act as a frontline state for US strategic interest. The $3.2 billion arms aid defused Zia's insecurity about India's $1.63 billion arms deal with Soviet Union. Mrs Gandhi took note of Pakistan's anxiety and concern. At the same time, she made it clear that New Delhi would oppose any kind of arms deal between the US and Pakistan with regard to the Afghanistan crisis. After the US-Pakistan arms deal, Zia, being a clever diplomat, started floating suggestions for a nuclear arms-free zone in South Asia without taking into consideration India's security parameter in which China figured prominently. Zia went to the extent of proposing reciprocal inspection of each other's nuclear facilities.19 Pakistan also offered to fix the level of the armed forces of the two countries.20 During this period, Zia proposed a no-war pact with India to curtail the criticism against US arms supply to Pakistan which also became an issue in the US Congress debates. India responded to the no-war pact21 offer by an offer of peace and friendship22 and a proposal to establish a Joint Commission to take care of Indo-Pak relations. The peace and friendship treaty offered by India included cultural exchanges and trade. Moreover, the Pakistanis felt that India wanted to cultivate its trade advantage in terms of market and production that would consequently reduce the importance of Kashmir. Thus, the offer was sidetracked by stressing that Pakistan wants to resolve all outstanding problems with India. Moreover, the diametrically opposite stand of the two countries on the Afghan issue and the US aid figured prominently in their bilateral relations. On September 15, 1981, while formally accepting US aid, Pakistan in its text of acceptance included an offer to hold talks to work out guarantees for "non-aggression" and "non-use of force with India."23 Thus, during Zia's period, Indo-Pak relations though not at their best, seemed to be manageable. However, each side never missed a chance to beat the other in carefully worded statements,24 expressing their supposed sincerity towards Indo-Pak friendship but with their own interpretations.

Deadlocked: January 1994 Talks

The democratisation of Pakistani politics25 brought in a new era of populism as a part of elections. The advent of democracy in Pakistan after the demise of Zia caused a lot of optimism in India though a miracle was not expected knowing the Pakistan government's stand on the Kashmir issue. Kashmir became a convenient tool in the hands of the politicians to arouse populist passions.

The popularly elected government of Benazir Bhutto was enthusiastic enough to improve bilateral ties but the shadow of the armed forces over defence, foreign policy especially on matters concerning Indo-Pak relations, was still present.26 Moreover, as a woman Prime Minister she was facing a lot of trouble from fundamentalist radical groups in Pakistan. Thus, any drastic diversion from the policy on Kashmir and India in general, was not expected, given the domestic constraints. Though many military CBMs were agreed to during this period, at the same time, it is also marked the stalemate and breakdown of talks. Taking up a populist posture, Benazir called for a conference of the political leaders of Pakistan on February 4, 1990, so as to stop any kind of criticism against her Kashmir policy. Taking advantage of disturbances in Kashmir, she relentlessly emphasised on the Simla Agreement27 but never hesitated to internationalise the Kashmir issue.28 She undertook a tour of more than 15 Muslim countries and personally pleaded the Kashmir case.29 Nawaz Sharif, during his first stint in office, followed the same policy. In his 45th independence day speech, Sharif declared, "We shall continue giving them (Kashmiris) full support at the diplomatic, political and human level. This is our duty and we owe it as a debt to our Kashmiri brothers."30 Thus, Kashmir again became a focal point of reference in the domestic populist politics of Pakistan.

On October 20, 1993, after Benazir assumed office for a second term, she said that Pakistan attaches the highest priority to the establishment of normal and tension-free relations with India. But she soon went back on her words in order to fight political opposition. Certain developments in India like the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, and communal riots on both the sides of the border took their toll on the strained Indo-Pak relations. Moreover, Pakistan exploiting the disturbances in Kashmir, insisted on an exclusive discussion on Kashmir. It not only held other important issues hostage to the solution of the Kashmir problem in terms of Pakistan's position, but described it as the "core issue." Moreover, the Indo-Pakistani conflagration over Operation Brasstrack, according to Western assessments, brought the countries to the brink of nuclear war. Pakistan manipulated this to portray a picture of uncertainty and tension in the subcontinent over the Kashmir issue. The over-sensitive advocates of non-proliferation policy started voicing their concern over the Kashmir issue becoming a flashpoint in the subcontinent's peace. Taking advantage of Western sensitivities, Pakistan internationalised the issue, linking it to the nuclear issues. Pakistan's nuclear programme which is Indo-centric was linked to resolution of the Kashmir issue. Comments on Kashmir's status by US Secretary of State Robin Raphel and the UK's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook were more in tune with their views to placate the non-proliferation interest. Finding that like-minded people in world politics, those relentlessly articulating Pakistan's interest vociferously and trying to ride piggyback on Kashmir for their non-proliferation and other national interests, Pakistan in 1994, decided to bury bilateralism in its penchant for international mediation on Kashmir. Foreign Minister Assed Ahmad Ali spelt out the minimum conditions for continuing the bilateral talks: withdrawing of Indian security forces particularly from the Valley, release of Kashmiri leaders and halting repression were set as minimum conditions to "keep the talks going."31

Irrespective of the articulated posture, the seventh round of foreign secretary level talks took place in Islamabad in January 1994. The dialogue took place in the backdrop of the Hazratbal shrine crisis in 1993 and expulsion of diplomats on the charge of espionage. During the talks, Pakistan demanded that India should reduce the number of troops in the Valley, release of all political prisoners, removal of laws like the Public Safety Act, Disturbed Areas Act, Armed Forces Special Act. Pakistan went to the extent of demanding that India allow the international human right organisations and the international media to visit the Valley. The Indian side rejected all these demands and reiterated its position that Kashmir constitutes an integral part of India, thereby, reducing Pakistan's demand to interference in India's internal affairs. At the end of the Foreign Secretary level talks, however, a joint statement declared both the sides "reiterated the need to engage in a meaningful dialogue with a view to addressing all outstanding issues and it was agreed that sincere efforts woule be made to resolve the problems."32

However, their reaffirmation in a meaningful bilateral dialogue was short-lived. The last nail in the bilateral approach was hammered in by Pakistan's Foreign Secretary M. Shahniyar Khan, who said that "we should not schedule any talks at the Foreign Secretary or other level unless there is a visible improvement in held Kashmir."33 Pakistani decided to raise the issue at the Human Right Commission in Geneva after burying the bilateral path. In response to Pakistan's action, the Indian Parliament passed a resolution to preserve its territorial integrity, and asked Pakistan to vacate the part of the Kashmir occupied by it.34 Pakistan decided to raise the iussue in the meeting of Human Rights Commission in Geneva. However, Pakistan was not successful in raising the issue in Geneva, was compelled to withdraw it at the last minute when it was known that out of 53 members, 45 had decided to abstain.35 Though statements made by Robin Raphel, assistant secretary of state, US and Lord Eric Avebury of the UK boosted Pakistan's morale, it suffered a setback when its long standing ally China asked Pakistan to settle the dispute with India bilaterally.36

Setting the Agenda

The agenda to set bilateralism in motion was taken by I.K. Gujral and Nawaz Sharif who were at the helm of affairs in India and Pakistan respectively. They were not only interested in a better relationship between the countries but the personal rapport between them also helped them to dispel some degree of suspicion. It was reported that Nawaz Sharif wanted to "normalise ties with India without Kashmir cluttering the space."37 This itself recognise the fact that Pakistan acknowledges that the issue of Kashmir is affecting normal relations between the two countries. He did not hesitate to identify three issues which he wanted to resolve immediately. These are: more trade, because "once businessmen underwrote a relationship, it was guaranteed to be stable; no long queues for visas in both countries; and stopping of "beating up of diplomats."38

The Islamabad round of foreign secretaries talks in March 1997 created enthusiasm and optimism in both the countries and was perceived as a positive development. It was decided to set up a Joint Working Group to hammer out modalities for bilateral talks and "set up mechanisms, including at appropriate levels, to address all these issues in an integrated manner." It was also decided that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and security and peace "will be dealt with at the level of foreign secretaries, who will also coordinate and monitor the progress of work of all the working groups."39 For the first time in their history, both the sides agreed to an eight-point agenda to resume dialogue and Kashmir was included formally in the agenda of the talks. Sharif placarded this as a major victory to fundamentalist groups at home. Though the agreement created some optimism on both sides of the border, unfortunately it took less time to break down. Statements by the President of Pakistan, Farooq Leghari that, "instead of talking to them we should re-equip our force"40 not only created dissatisfaction among the protagonists but at the same time demonstrated Pakistan's non-commitment attitude to bilateral talks. There were reports that the Pakistani armed forces are not in favour of the talks. Such a view emanated from Al Hilal, the Pakistani armed forces journal, against the Indo-Pakistan talks.41 Divergence in opinion started before the third meeting took place, and Pakistan insisted that the Kashmir issue to be dealt with specifically by a working group whereas India insisted on the issue being taken up by the Foreign Secretaries as agreed to earlier.42

Before the third round of talks in September, firing across the line of control, started by Pakistan, vitiated the atmosphere of congeniality. Pakistan went to the extent of submitting written letters to Western envoys to facilitate the New Delhi talks. Pakistan's problems arose over the priority of the listed eight agreed areas in the September talks. Moreover, it linked progress on the first two issues i.e. Kashmir and peace and security and confidence building measures, to the talks on other issues and wanted the talks on the first two issues and last six issues to be held separately, and the "core issue" (Kashmir) to be addressed first, before making any progress in the other eight identified areas. Pakistan is apprehensive that if it allows any progress on other fronts, the issue of Kashmir will get sidelined, and perhaps relegated to a least priority area. India's perception was that giving in to Pakistan's tactics it would end up with no talks at all on the other issues. The euphoria over the initiation of talks died down before any significant development could take place, because both parties tried to interpret the agreement according to their own national interests. Bilateralism was buried with a plethora of accusations against the other's non-commitment approach. Thus, Pakistan went back to its favourite diplomatic route of publicising how bilateralism has failed to solve the outstanding disputes between the two countries. Since Pakistan's nuclear capability became one of the prime objectives of US non-proliferation interest, Pakistan linked it up with the non-resolution of the Kashmir issue. The Western media also started focussing on the nuclearisation of the subcontinent and its possible repercussion in the form of nuclear war between India and Pakistan. In this context, Pakistan's nuclear programme became the prime target of the US, which had imposed economic sanctions on Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment. Pakistan realising that it could not longer exploit international opinion to its advantage by linking the nuclear issue and Kashmir, made an effort to guard its nuclear option from international criticism and sanction. Thus, nuclear issues replaced other important issues that were included in the eight-point agenda of bilateral talks with India. These were reflected in statements such as the one by Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, who in a BBC interview offered a non-use of nuclear weapon pact to India.43 On his visit to New York, Nawaz Sharif offered a non-aggression treaty to India as a part of an arms control package. This included "mutual and equal restraint in the nuclear and missile sectors," and similar restraint in conventional weapons to promote "equal security to both the sides, and a wide range of military confidence building measures."44

Post-Nuclear Developments

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government assumed power in Delhi, Prime Minister Vajpayee like his predecessor, emphasised on the improvement of relations with Pakistan. Contrary to the expectation of the Pakistani ruling elite and media, Vajpayee agreed that the Indo-talks would include Kashmir. However, the security climate in the subcontinent changed after the nuclear tests by both India and Pakistan. In their newfound glory, both the countries made certain statements, which brought in new uncertainties in the ever sinking relationship between the countries. The rhetoric by responsible people on both the sides of the border heightened tensions. Pakistan, exploiting the international apprehensions again on the issue of overt nuclearisation, tried to maximise the opportunity by raising the Kashmir issue and emphasising that unless the issue is settled, South Asia is vulnerable to a possible nuclear flare-out. Resolutions passed by the P-5, G-8 UN, European Union, etc, while expressing concern over the nuclear tests, urged both countries to apply restraint and resolve the Kashmir dispute.45 Though some of them extended their good officers to help resolve the dispute, India's firm stand emphasising only on bilateral talks to resolve the disputes made such mediation offers a non-entity. Pakistan though derived much satisfaction from such statements but could not transform these statements into active support to the resolution of the Kashmir issue through international mediation. In this tensed environment, the two prime minister met during the Colombo summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This meeting, as expected, could not bring any drastic change in their approach because the nuclear tests and the rhetoric that accompanied them had made the environment tense. Nawaz Sharif termed the outcome of this meet as zero46 and the Indian Foreign Secretary termed Pakistan's obsession with Kashmir as "neurotic."

Growing international pressure to start bilateral talks and urging Pakistan to solve outstanding problems bilaterally pushed both the countries to start negotiations again. Vajpayee stated in New York that the bilateral talks would be "the beginning of new chapter" in Indo-Pakistan relations. In Pakistan, resistance to the process of normalisation of relations with India has largely been based on distrust and apprehensions about India's intention.47 Notwithstanding Pakistan's apprehension, international pressure and US sanctions also acted as coercive measures on Pakistan to demostrate its interest in the bilateral approach. But the underlying inclination towards a multilateral approach to resolve a bilateral problem remained firmly entrenched in its attitude. Pakistan did not want the talks to result in any meaningful solution so as to confirm its posture of a multilateral approach, whereas India, without making any significant change in its well-known stand, could not bring much success to bilateralism. Pakistan's penchant for internationalisation is evident in a few other issues such as preference for an international monitoring mechanism instead of a bilateral one in working out a ceasefire in Siachen, preferring UNMOG to verify India's allegations on terrorism and wanting the International Court of Justice's arbitration on the issue of the Wullar barrage. There was no dearth of statements regarding the futility of such a bilateral approch without resolving Kashmir issue from responsible quarters in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said, "We have also made it clear that no real progress towards normalisation of relations can be possible so long as the Kashmir issue remained unresolved," though he admitted that the resumption of talks is "a step in the right direction."48 Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed in his briefing to the Kashmiri leader on November 22 said that the dialogue with India was being conducted in a "composite and integrated manner" and, therefore, "progress on other issues would be related to the progress in dialogue on Kashmir."49 Such an approach itself demonstrates Pakistan's lack of commitment to further cooperation on other areas. Voicing a similar opinion, Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Hasan Jehangir Kazi, said that the Kashmir question cannot be set aside, frozen, or forgotten, and the two countries can ill-afford to be stuck on modalities indefinitely, or play zero-sum games forever. Though, the mutually exclusive position of both the countries might elude a final settlement for a long time, the two countries have to find mutually acceptable modalities. He argued for credible bilateral negotiations which he said are required to tell the rest of the world that it had no business to concern itself with the "futility and sterility of our dialogue."50

Need for Pragmatism

The necessity of dialogue has assumed more significance in the post-nuclear phase. As both sides are aware of the changed realities, continuation of talks has become more important than before. Both sides need to maintain utmost restraint as far as rhetoric is concerned. Statements such as Pakistan can take on India militarily after the nuclear tests to solve the Kashmir issue are far-fetched. They might boost Nawaz Sharif's deflated ego and bring him applause, but realistically it will not change the ground situation in terms of geo-politics and history. In the populist politics of the subcontinent, more than half of whose people are illiterate, resorting to rhetoric may bring some electoral gains but such support cannot be so overriding as to change the geographical realities.

Mistrust and suspicion have affected bilateral negotiations to a large extent. For example, the issue of Wullar barrage on which agreement would not be very difficult, has been embroiled in mistrust. In Pakistan, the perception is that control of the Jhelum by India will have severe consequences for Pakistan's defence infrastructure. In adverse circumstances, such as in the event of war, India will have an edge over the Pakistan Army because it would be in a position to "control the mobility and retreat of troops by inundating the battlefield or enhance the manoeuvrability of its troops by closing the barrage gates, thus rendering the canal system dry and easy to cross."51 Pakistan apprehends that India is also in a position to affect the flow of the Mangla Dam in PoK, which could affect agricultural activities and the supply of electricity.52 India's assurances that the stored water would not be used for electricity but only for navigational purposes has not made any impact in Pakistan. Moreover, some maintain that it will help Pakistan to control the floods.53 It appears that the issue of Wullar barrage is more to do with mistrust and suspicion rather than reality. Thus, it is important to build mutual trust so that proposals may be considered at face value rather than being analysed for some intrinsic meaning. The agreement on Salal dam is a case in point where the issue was solved to mutual satisfaction on April 14, 1978, due to mutual trust and commitment by both countries.

On the issue of Siachen, a settlement to mutual satisfaction is necessary. According to one estimate, Pakistan has spent Rs 50.2 billion and the lives of 1,344 soldiers have been lost since 1984. It is spending Rs. 10 million a day, which adds up to Rs. 300 million a month and Rs. 3.6 billion a year. For India, it has cost Rs. 40 million a day, Rs. 1.2 billion a month, and Rs. 14.40 billion a year since 1994.54 Pakistani authorities have admitted that in 1990 their non-combant casualties in the first few years accounted to over 80 per cent of the total deaths.55 The issue thus is of significant importance, given the cost. However, cessation of hostilities is a prerequisite for any meaningful solution. Hostility can be minimised only when mutual confidence is established and strengthened.

Bilateral trade can play a very significant role in confidence building measures. It is pertinent here to mention that bilateral trade picked up in 1988-89 when the list of approved imports from India was expanded to 249 items and further increased to 571 items in 1989.56 Though the restrictions on trade affects the official trade between the countries, the data of unofficial trade reveals the potential of such trade relations. The figure for unofficial trade is quite revealing. It stands between Rs. 8-16 billion a year. The actual value of unofficial or irregular trade may exceed Rs. 20 billion a year if supplies of Indian made textile machinery, spares and equipment and machine parts of Indian origin being used in foundries but not directly imported from India, are taken into account.57 Table 1 gives revealing statistics of the cost and benefit of bilateral trade with India as compared to the world.

A study by SAARC on trade, manufacture and service has identified numerous areas and worked out the feasibility of such joint ventures which might act as a cementing factor to consolidate the bilateral relations.58 "With the passage of time, these linkages may help develop long-term stakes with each other's economies, which may become too costly to sever in future."59 Moreover, trade and people-to-people contact especially will diminish the role of the Pakistani ruling establishment in its relations with India. Because once normal trade is resumed, the business community on both the sides will pressurise the governments to normalise bilateral relations.

People-to-people contacts should be encouraged to remove mistrust and create a congenial atmosphere for dialogue. The misperceptions created by the political parties in the context of elections and their rhetoric have created an atmosphere of hatred. People who have never visited each other's country perceive situations and develop preconceived notions about the other as portrayed by the elite or media. In this context, to dispel myths about each other, there should be mechanism to facilitate visit of people across the border. Positive endeavours in this direction should be initiated. These include relaxing the visa regime. In the present talks, some initiatives have been proposed.60 Both countries should establish procedures and redefine diplomatic immunities and privilege. Expelling each other's diplomats at frequent intervals on espionage charges, sometime as a retaliatory measure, and publicising the issue in the national media has created an environment of hatred among the general public. Moreover, initiative like meeting of parliamentarians from both the sides should be encouraged at the official level.

Cultural exchanges are also a pre-requisite to CBMs. Indian movies are popular in Pakistan though there are a lot of restrictions on their screening. These need to be lifted. Certain organisations like the Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan and Shiv Sena in India have been issuing threats to each other's cultural groups. The Pakistani cultural group Junoon was threatened in India. The Shiv Sainiks are accused for disrupting singer Ghulam Ali's concert.61 Similarly, the Pakistani government refused to give permission for the staging of a popular play, Tumhari Amrita, in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad because of India's nuclear tests.62 The function organised by the Indian Embassy on the eve of fifty years of independence was disrupted by reactionary forces in Islamabad. However, the recent statements of the Shiv Sena chief vowing not to allow the Pakistani cricket team to play in India was met with equally strong statements by the Indian government. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Home Minister L.K. Advani assured safety and police protection to the Pakistani player during their stay in India.63 Such statements are not only reassuring but establishes a certain degree of confidence and creates goodwill across the border. Thus, both sides should include more programmes about each other's culture in their visual media to enhance friendship. Moreover, with a positive outlook, the issues which appear intractable, will be solved. To achieve any progress, bilateralism and the process of dialogue should continue. Rhetoric64 should be reduced and cultural exchanges should be encouraged. Arguing for cultural exchanges, a report said, "Music lovers in Pakistan have said a public performance by Lata Mangeshkar in the city of Lahore may be more helpful to promote goodwill than the outcome of talks between the two foreign secretaries in Islamabad."65

Misrepresentation of history to glorify a particular religious community should stop. This not only provides prejudiced information but spreads hatred. Instead, the common history, socio-cultural heritage, and religious tolerance should be highlighted to facilitate a spirit of mutual respect. The two countries have a common past. There is no dearth of examples in history about the mutual accommodative attitude of both communities. Emphasising only repression of a particular community by a particular King only leads to mutual hatred. School text-books should never provide this kind of misinformation.66 Children who are exposed only to text-books, learn and believe whatever is taught in schools. This has a great impact on their thinking when they grow up. Misinformation through television and newspapers should stop. Especially on Pakistan Television, only selected facts about Kashmir are represented, which is not objective, and it is silent on many related important issues.67 Glorifying terrorism as Jehad had its impact in Pakistani society, which is witnessing a spate of violence and terrorism, and spread of small arms.

Use of religion in politics should be minimised to build good relations. India's secular credentials have made Pakistan cautious in its anti-India campaign based on the two-nation theory. Given the widespread illiteracy in the subcontinent, it is easy to spread religious hatred. Violence against minorities should stop. Providing constitutional and social protection will prevent Pakistan from legitimising the creation of Pakistan which was based on the two-nation theory. Any radical departure from the secular path will give fundamentalists in Pakistan a chance to raise anti-Indian tirades. Moreover, use of religion in Pakistani politics has not only radicalised society but has affected normal relations with India. Religious rhetoric has mostly become synonymous with anti-India slogans.

Though Kashmir remains a major irritant between the countries, other issues should not be held hostage to this single problem. Pakistan should remember that international mediation is not the only way to solve this issue if it is unacceptable to both parties. Pakistan cites the example of the Indus Water Treaty, Tashkent Agreement and solution of the Rann of Kutch dispute as indicators of successful mediation but underplays the importance of the Simla Agreement, and resolution of the Salal Dam project through bilateral means. Moreover, many military CBMs68 that were agreed to by both countries without any outside interference is also a case in point. The fact that these CBMs69 have contributed to the absence of major conflict indicates their significance. The need of the hour is "to extend the scope of CBMs and enlarge it to other areas in the non-military colossal destructiveness, fields like economies, environment, water resources, energy, education, science and technology and infrastructure (roads, rail, telecommunications and power grids)."70 The recent statement by US Assistant Secretary of State Karl Indurfurth delinking the issue of Kashmir from the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by Pakistan clearly establishes the fact that Pakistan cannot ride piggy-back on the issue of Kashmir in its dealing with other countries and global issues.71

The solution of the Kashmir issue is in the interest of both countries, hence the imperative of solution lies with both of them. Given the parameter of international power politics, it will be in the interest of both countries to solve their problems through the bilateral framework. Internationalisation of the Kashmir issue has not helped Pakistan in any manner in the past nor it has been successful in pressurising India to abandon its position on the issue.


The various problems plaguing Indo-Pakistan ties like Kashmir, nuclear security and border demarcation, among others, indicate a common theme underlying bilateral relations: mutual mistrust and suspicion. The asymmetrical geo-physical and military structure has made Pakistan more suspicious. This security dilemma is a constant feature which is reflected in its approach toward India. For instance, Pakistan, in the context of conventional forces, views its security concerns vis-a-vis India within a regional framework that exclude China. However, for New Delhi, its national security concerns are Sino-centric rather than a uni-directional focus on Pakistan. Hence, Islamabad's proposals do not pay due attention to New Delhi's concerns. In the process, Pakistan's perception has remained largely regional, whereas India's is mainly global. This dichotomy in their approaches is also demonstrated in their attitude towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.

Pakistan has reiterated its position on nuclear disarmament as inalienably linked with the Indian stand. Its proposals for a five-power conference in June 1991 and April 1994 were not accepted by India due to the perceived dichotomy in their respective approach revolving around the global and regional approaches to security threats. Also Pakistan's accession to treaties like NPT and CTBT (at one point of time) was invariably linked with the Indian position. Pakistan should be more amenable to India's security concerns and should not view India's defence requirement according to the South Asia parameter. Given the sensitive nature of Indo-Pakistan relations, a framework of dialogue along the lines of the recent dialogue between US-India/Pakistan should be initiated to work out a meaningful solution. Moreover, this should be done with utmost transparency and in a spirit of mutual accommodation. However, before progressing on the chartered way, the only pragmatic approach is to create an environment of mutual trust. It is also important to downplay the Kashmir issue which has all along been exploited for political mileage in the two countries. Kashmir should not be regarded as a contestable issue between the ideology of two nations.

The bus diplomacy is the most innovative and latest in the existing styles of diplomacy between the two countries. The results of this diplomacy would be visible in the next few months. The MoU signed on February 22, 1999, though widely acclaimed, bilateral agreements on all the agreed aspect has to be worked out. Perhaps to cater to domestic political compulsions Islamabad has interpreted the MoU as a victory over the Kashmir issue. The statement by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman after the Lahore declaration conveys the impression that for Islamabad, the Kashmir issue eclipse the significance of nuclear security related problems. One is apprehensive that like in the past, agreement on the issues outlined in the MoU too might not be held hostage to the settlement of Kashmir problem according to Islamabad's terms and condition. Moreover, the goodwill that is generated by Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit will evaporate in no time if both the countries fail to take concrete measures to sustain it.



1. The MoU signed by the Foreign Secretaries of both the countries also envisages periodical review of the implementation of CBMs and where necessary, setting up appropriate consultative mechanisms to monitor and ensure effective implementations of CBMs, undertake review of existing communication links and upgrade and improve these links, engage in bilateral consultations on security, disarmament and non-proliferation issues within the context of negotiations on these issues in bilateral fora.

2. Manoj Joshi, "Terms of Engagement" India Today, November 2, 1998, p. 51.

3. Defence Secretary Statement on Indo-Pak talks on Siachen Area, New Delhi, November 8, 1998.

4. This would include flag meetings, meetings with formation commanders at "periodic levels" and establishment of a hot line between divisional commanders.

5. According to Robert Wirsing in the June 1989, Rawalpindi round of talks, India made six proposals: (a) cessation of "cartographic aggression" by Pakistan; (b) establishment of a demilitarised zone at the Siachen Glacier; (c) exchange of maps to show present military positions on the ground; (d) delimitation of the border beyond NJ9842 to the north of the China border based on ground realities; (e) formulation of ground rules for future military operations--a measure of last resort; and (f) redeployment of Indian and Pakistani forces to mutually agreed positions. Pakistan's proposals are the following: (a) redeployment of Indian and Pakistani forces to mutually agreed positions held at the time of 1971 ceasefire (pre-Simla position) and only then; (b) delimitation of an extension of the LoC beyond point NJ9842. See Robert Wirsing "The Siacher Glacier Dispute: Can Diplomacy Untangle it?" Indian Defence Review, July 1991, p. 99.

6. India according to this arrangement was to withdraw forces from the ridge line running along Indira Col, Sia Kangri, Sia La, Sherpi Kangri, Saltoro Kangri, Bilafond La, pt. 7248, pt.6510, pt.6389, and NJ 9842 to positions east and generally north of Zingrulama. Pakistan was to remove its troops from their existing positions to a line in the west and running generally along Gasherbrum I, Baltoro kangri, Pt 3917, Kurma Ding, Goma and NJ 9842. As cited in The Hindu, November 3, 1998. The joint statement after the 1989 Defence Secretary level talks reads, "There was agreement between the two sides to work towards a comprehensive settlement based on redeployment of forces to reduce the chances of conflict, avoidance of use of force and the determination of future (troop) positions on the ground so as to confirm with the Simla Agreement...and ensure durable peace." See Hindustan Times, November 7, 1998. In 1992, India claimed that there was a broad agreement before the boundary demarcation beyond NJ9842 to be undertaken by a joint commission. Both sides agreed that they "shall engage from the positions held presently and the area vacated will constitute "zone of complete disengagement" and neither side would try to reoccupy either the positions vacated or would establish new positions "across the alignment determined by the vacated positions." Further, neither side would undertake military, mountaineering or any other activity in the Zone of Disengagement. Any violation of this commitment could invite response, including military action. Pakistan responded by suggesting that troops be withdrawn from a triangular area joining Indra Col, Karakoram Pass and Point NJ9842, and that pending a demarcation of the LoC by a joint commission, the status quo will be maintained. Both the sides remained adamant in their proposals, resulting in a stalemate. Finally Pakistan revived the 1989 proposal but with an annex attached to it stating their existing position. In the technical talks, it is reported that an agreement on helicopter surveillance of the area was reached but nothing was ultimately agreed. Hindustan Times, November 6, 1998.

7. Pakistan's claim to Siachen is based on its authority to have conducted mountaineering expeditions. India bases its claim on the basis of regular patrolling of the area since 1950. For the background to this issue, see A.G. Noorani, "Easing the Indo-Pak Dialogue on Kashmir: CBMs for the Siachen, Sir Creek and the Wullar Barrage Dispute" Occasional Paper, no. 16, April 1994, Henry L. Stimson Centre, pp. 5-18. For a Pakistani perspective of the Siachen dispute, see Samina Ahmed and Varun Sahani, "Frozen Frontline" Himal, vol. 11, no. 12, December 1998, p. 16-17.

8. India has conducted hydrographic survey of the area, Pakistan is yet to do it. Thus, its claim that Sir Creek is not navigable, is baseless. See The Hindu, November 10, 1998.

9. Surveyor General's Statement on Sir Creek, November 9, 1998.

10. According to Rear Admiral K.R. Srinivasan, the mid channel principle on Sir Creek was endorsed by para 9 and 10 of 1914 resolution and this was represented in the final map of 1925. See The Hindu, November 10, 1998.

11. India has accorded MFN status to Pakistan since the 1970s.

12. India handed over a list of camps in Pakistan where terrorists are trained before being sent to India; Pakistan denied the existence of any such camps. While giving the list of "incontrovertible and irrefutable evidence of Islamabad's engagement in acts of subversion in India, India said that 243 Pakistani and 48 residents of PoK belonging to various fundamentalist organisations have been killed in encounters by Indian security forces; 91 Pakistanis and 34 residents of PoK are in Indian jails in connection with terrorism; and around 47,000 firearms and over 30,000 kg of high explosives have been seized from Pakistan trained militants. Home Secretary's Statement on Indo-Pak Talks on Terrorism-Narcotics, New Delhi, November 12, 1998.

13. After the Simla Agreement between both the countries, India insists on bilateralism as agreed by Pakistan in the agreement.

14. Both the countries disagree over the price and cost of transmission. Pakistan wants a guarantee from the Asian Development Bank that the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana should pay the price of electricity regularly. See Nation, February 2, 1999.

15. A bus service has already started with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee as the most distinguished traveller in its maiden tour on February 20, 1999.

16. S.M. Burke, Pakistan's Foreign Policy: A Historical Analysis (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 48.

17. See Munis Ahmar, "War Avoidance Between India and Pakistan: A Model of Conflict Resolution and Confidence-Building in the Post-Cold War Era," Strategic Studies, vol. 24, no. 1 & 2, Autumn and Winter 1993, pp. 20-21.

18. Mohammad Arif "The Kashmir Dispute and Pakistan-India Relations: 1972-1992," Pakistan Horizon, vol. 47, no. 1, January 1994, p. 35.

19. Times of India, May 30, 1979.

20. See Times of India, July 17, 18, 19, 1980. This includes Pakistan Foreign Minister Agha Shahi and External Affairs Minister, Narasimha Rao's statement on this issue. India responded to the proposal for force reduction by the Pakistani side with a proposal for mutual trust and security as a prelude.

21. For an elaborate exposition on the no-war pact and Zia's diplomacy, refer Jyotirmoy Banerjee, "Hot and Cold Diplomacy in Indo-Pak relations," Asian Survey, vol. 23, no. 3, March 1983, pp. 294-97. Zia's no-war pact contained clauses like mutual non-aggression, non-use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes, joint commission to promote bilateral cooperation.

22. This included a strict adherence to the bilateral resolution of disputes and a ban on the grant of foreign military bases in the subcontinent. See Robert Wirsing Pakistan's Security Under Zia, 1977-1988 (New York: St Martin's Press, 1991), p. 99. Also see Times of India, December 22-25, 1981.

23. Times of India, September 17, 1981.

24. For various statements, see Banerjee, n. 21, pp. 281-92.

25. The term is used because Pakistan's transition to democracy was not full-fledged initially. The shadow of the Army in politics was still visible. The most powerful Article 8 devised by Zia to regulate the Prime Minister hung like a Damocles sword which had Benazir Bhutto twice as its victim in 1990 and 1996 and Nawaz Sharif in 1993. This provision was finally done away with in 1997 during the Prime Ministership of Nawaz Sharif. However, the Army continues to have a say in Pakistani politics. The extent of its influence however is hard to determine given the dynamics of Pakistani politics.

26. For the talks held during the democratic regime in Pakistan, starting after Benazir's period, see Sreedhar, Pakistani Perception of Indo-Pak Dialogue," Strategic Analysis, vol. 21, no. 7, October 1997, pp. 999-1013.

27. See the resolution adopted by the Parliament of Pakistan on February 10, 1990, that stated to seek a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolution and under the spirit of the Simla Agreement, The Muslim, February 11, 1990.

28. In the Pakistan envoy's conference in Islamabad on March 25, 1990, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, said, "Some fraternal countries, which fully identify with our stand on Kashmir, appeared hesitant to publicly affirm this identification in view of their extensive economic and commercial links with India...I would, therefore, want this conference to identify steps for earliest implementation to provide our brotherly Muslim states with additional stakes and a permanent vested interest of priority in Pakistan and in our policies." See Speeches and Statement of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Directorate of Films and Publications, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan, vol. 3, 1990, p. 37 as cited in Khan Zaman Mirza, "Pakistan's Foreign Policy in 1990s with Reference to Kashmir Dispute," South Asian Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, July 1994, p. 77.

29. Benazir visited Iran, Turkey, Oman etc. Ibid., pp. 77-78. A resolution on Kashmir was adopted in the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) Foreign Ministers Conference held in Cairo in August 1990. She raised the Kashmir issue during her second term in the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting on October 22, 1993. She wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General on Kashmir on November 6, 1993, raised the issue with US Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel on November 7, 1993. She sent special messages to the heads of government of Bangladesh, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran-Japan Malaysia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, etc. She visited China, North Korea. For details, see Ibid., pp. 82-85.

30. Nation, August 15, 1991.

31. POT (Pakistan Series), vol. 22, no. 3, January 4, 1994, p. 18.

32. Ibid., January 6, 1994, vol. 22, no. 5, p. 42.

33. "Pakistan's Foreign Policy: Quarterly Survey: January to March 1994," Pakistan Horizon, vol. 47, no. 2, April 1994, p. 2. On November 17, the Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman said that "there is no point in having meetings unless circumstances are favourable" but later agreed for the bilateral talks stating that "India had agreed to discuss all issues, including Kashmir in all its aspect." Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto described the resumption of talks as "a small but very important step forward." For a chronology of events, see Pakistan Horizon, vol. 47, n. 1, January 1994, pp. 94-96.

34. Shekhar Gupta, "On a Short Fuse," India Today, March 15, 1994.

35. Pakistan Horizon, n. 2, n. 33, April 1994, p. 4.

36. See the statement by Chinese Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, Qian Qichen at a Press conference in Dhaka on February 27, 1994, See Pakistan Horizon, "Pakistan and the World: Chronology of Events," vol. 47, no. 2, April 1994, p. 123.

37. Ravi Shukla, Sunday, June 29, 1997.

38. Ibid.

39. The Hindu, June 24, 1997.

40. Deccan Herald, June 22, 1994.

41. Times of India, August 26, 1997.

42. On September 25, 1997, Pakistan demanded reduction of troops in Kashmir and withdrawal of the bulk of the troops. On October 2, Pakistan insisted that future talks with India depended on substantive and specific discussion "on the Kashmir issue and that remains a priority for the resumption of the talks," See The Hindu, October 3, 1997.

43. Times of India, July 29, 1997.

44. Hindu, September 24, 1997.

45. A Pentagon study prepared by the semi-official Rand Corporation predicted large-scale humanitarian operations in a nuclear combat zone in South Asia around the year 2005, fuelled by an "unmanageable" situation in Kashmir. See Pioneer, April 8, 1998.

46. There is some inconsistency in Sharif's views. At one point of time he said, "You can only solve your problems through talks. If you do not talk, if you do not meet, you are not likely to make any heading. The only way to solve your problem is through bilateral negotiations, bilateral talks." He again said, "We have not been able to resolve anything bilaterally in the last fifty years and admitted that we have made some progress after the Simla Agreement." See Indian Express, July 30, 1998.

47. "Pakistan-India Relations: Quest for Meaningful Dialogue," Spotlight on Regional Affairs, vol. 17, no. 10, 1998, p. 20.

48. Dawn, November 5, 1998.

49. Hindustan Times, October 24, 1998.

50. For the text of the speech, see Frontline, July 31, 1998.

51. Chaudhary Muhammad Anwar Ali Sarya, "Wullar Barrage," The Nation, November 17, 1989 as cited in Mirza M. Nasrullah "Wullar Barrage" Pakistan Horizon, vol. 47, no. 1, January 1994, p. 49-50.

52. Ibid., Possession and control of the dam will provide India with the potential to affect the entire system of triple canals project consisting of upper Jhelum Canal, upper Chenab Canal and lower Bari Doab Canal. Aloys Arthur Michel, The Indus Rivers: A Study of the Effects of Partition (London: Yale University Press, 1967), p. 201.

53. n. 51, p. 57.

54. Amir Mir, "A Pointless War," Newsline, November 1998, p. 79.

55. Ibid.

56. Currently there are 596 items on this list. However, this list does not include items like automotive, consumer durables, heavy engineering goods, textile machiery, computer software and most drugs and parmaceuticals. These products, otherwise being imported by Pakistan from other expensive sources are areas where opening up trade with India would be in Pakistan's favour. For details, see I.N. Mukherji, "India's Trade and Investment Linkages with Pakistan," Project on Peace, Security and Economic Cooperation for Growth: India and South Asia in 21st Century, Paper prepared for Indian Council Research on International Economic Relations, April 1998, p. 3.

57. Orders for these goods are placed in Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore and the goods are then routed to Pakistan from there. Although the operation is circuitous, it is economical when compared to regular import of similar items from Japan, Western Europe and the USA. For instance, the case of tea. Pakistan is one of the major importers of tea in the world. Pakistan has never imported more than 1.5 per cent of its total tea imports from India--the maximum being 2.1 million kg in 1992 out of its total imports of 120 million kg. Most of its imports are from Kenya, irrespective of the fact that Indian tea are of international quality and available at a competitive price. Ibid., p. 13. For soyameal from the US, Pakistan would incur losses to the tune of US$ 3.5 million as it purchased 36,000 metric tons soyabean from the US under PL-480 for $310 per metric ton while it is available from India for $225 (f.o.b) at Lahore, Business Recorder, December 22, 1997. As cited in Mukherji, Ibid., p. 13.

58. SAARC, Study on Trade, Manufacturers and Service, SARRC Secretariat, Kathmandu, 1991, pp. 69-73.

59. Ibid., The author has also suggested many measures to reduce costs and risks inherent in joint ventures. See Mukherji, Ibid., pp. 20-21.

60. During 1997, India had made some unilateral relaxations in its visa regime that included multi-entry business visas for Pakistani businessmen as recommended by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce, permitting commercial performance for reputed Pakistan artists, increasing the number of places that a Pakistan's national can visit from 8 to 12; extention of EPR visas to children below 12, designation of Chennai as an additional entry/exit point for Pakistani nationals, entering India by air through Delhi or Mumbai, to go to a third country by air from an exit point different from the point of entry. Moreover during the present talks, it was conveyed to Pakistan that India would introduce tourist visas for Pakistani nationals for group of not less than 10 per sons and not more than 50 persons for a period of 15 days, through approved tour operators/travel agents. Similar reciprocity in these matters will reinforce bilateral relations. Culture Secretary's Statement on the talks on "Promotion of Friendly Exchanges in Various Field," New Delhi, November 13, 1998. Pakistan has recently agreed to issue 5 year visas to eminent persons and artists.

61. Hindustan Times, April 30, 1998.

62. Indian Express, May 27, 1998.

63. The statements are important because they dispel doubt about the BJP government's sincerity about better Indo-Pak relations in spite of the political compulsions of the BJP which has an alliance with the Shiv Sena, the party which had issued threats in Maharashtra. Recently Nawaz Sharif took action against the law enforcing authority who failed to maintain law and order during Vajpayee's visit to Lahore.

64. Some statements that precipitated tensions on both sides are: (a) India can successfully teach Pakistan a lesson; (b) by intervening in Punjab and Kashmir, Pakistan is fishing in troubled waters; (c) Pakistan cannot get away by taking Kashmir without going to war with India; (d) Pakistan should fight a 1000 years war with India to get Kashmir; (e) Pakistan should crush India and hoist its flag on the Red Fort of Delhi; (f) Pakistanis can eat grass but will make nuclear bombs for their security against India, Pakistan must avenge its defeat in the 1971 war by encouraging the dismemberment of India. See Moonis Ahmar, n. 17, pp. 13-14. After the nuclear test, rhetoric by both sides also caused tension.

65. Ibid., p. 23.

66. Misrepresentation of history is happening in both the countries. It is more prevalent in Pakistan due to the nature of Pakistani society where religion plays an important role. Thus, there not much political opposition, and even if there is some opposition in the society, it is feeble. Unlike India, Pakistan lacks opposition political parties which are committed to social issues. For revisions in Pakistani text books, see, Arun Shorie, "The Destined Consummation of History," Asian Age, June 19, 1998.

67. PTV not only gives wrong data on Kashmir but while highlighting the UN 1948 resolution on Kashmir, it talks only about how India dishonoured the promised plebicite in Kashmir. It is silent on Pakistan's withdrawal from occupied Kashmir to facilitate any plebicite as per the UN resolution.

68. Non-attack on each other's nuclear installations, agreed on December 31, 1998, permitting over-flights and landing by military planes on April 6, 1991. An agreement notifying military exercises, agreed on April 6, 1991 was ratified, and this agreement was exchanged in August 1992, establishment of military hotline between Director General of Military Operations, agreement on banning of chemical weapons on October 31, 1991 in the fifth round of Foreign Secretary talks.

69. For details on some other non-military CBMs, refer to "Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in South Asia: Practice, Problems and Prospects," Spotlight on Regional Affairs, vol. 15, no. 1, January 1996, pp. 41-45. Also see Jasjit Singh, "Non-Offensive Defence with Special Reference to India and Southern Asia," Strategic Analysis, vol. 13, no. 4, July 1995, pp. 454-56.

70. Moonis Ahmer, n. 17, p. 24. For details on various CBMs, see pp. 8-9 and 15-22.

71. Hindustan Times, December 3, 1998.