geopolitics inside South Asia.

Forecasting Pakistan-India Relations in the next decade

Considering the traditional and nontraditional threats, forecasting relation between states is a strenuous task, but predictive analysis can be made based on historical & contemporary trends. Since their inception, Pakistan and India have not enjoyed amicable terms passing through multiple phases of wars and border skirmishes. Shedding light on the present circumstances, there are tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi after the abrogation of Article 370 by India. While predicting the bilateral relationship, multiple factors play their role such as leadership, international politics, organizations, economy, traditional and nontraditional threats in security paradigm.

The General Elections in 2019 turned tides in Indian parliamentary politics, as Modi won with high majority, unprecedented in decades. Forming a stable government, India under BJP is aiming for extraordinary developments that may put the situation towards political and security turmoil on regional level. Undoubtedly, Modi’s blunt and extreme anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan policies under the ideology of “Hindutva” is one very important factor behind the win that actually steered towards another spectrum in geopolitics inside South Asia. This filled the vacuum created by congress in previous years. The fact here is that Congress itself used to come down hard towards Pakistan and even all the wars were fought in the time period when it was crowned continuously on Prime Minister’s seat at New Delhi. But Congress leaders were not blunt enough, an add up to logical points that could said to be rational in perspectives of political sciences.

With many other conflicts including the water sharing disputes and others, Kashmir is the bone of contention between both adversaries. It further escalated after the 2019 BJP’s move of abolishing autonomous status of IIOJ&K and dividing it into two Union Territories, directly governed by Indian President. This move resulted in an immediate deadlock. Pakistani leadership urged the international community that India is putting South Asian regional stability at stake and creating human security issues for the people of Kashmir on broader spectrum. Given the current state of affairs, there are very minimal chances of diplomatic talks because this step of BJP is irreversible even if there’s a change in Indian leadership in future. Eliminating Kashmir conflict from our table talks is way too futuristic. As, Pakistan will not let the ideological aspect of its formation of separate state for Muslims to bargain on the point of freedom of Kashmiri Muslims. Despite, Pakistan’s constant efforts to resolve Kashmir conflict through diplomacy and multilateralism, this long rooted dispute has soured the relations between India and Pakistan.

Zooming into bilateral trade, following the erratic history, trade between India and Pakistan is now facing a deadlock after the revocation of article 370. Both states are eager to open border for trade as Amit Shah, India’s Interior Minister and usually the man behind Modi’s power, stated the importance of trade with neighbouring countries. His major focus was on significance of  Kartarpur corridor. Keeping in mind the Islamabad Security Dialogue, Pakistan also desires to go for diplomatic ties with India but only under the condition of having diplomatic solution for Kashmir conflict. There is a rumor of “Backdoor Channel talks” to resume trade as the urgent need to strike balance between economic needs and solution to Kashmir conflict arises between India and Pakistan. But on practical grounds, there’s always a consensus within stakeholders, opposition and traders for a better outcome and there is nothing unusual that will bring a positive point for both sides to come across in near future and achieve a common ground over the point of IIOJ&K, that created a new “status quo” between both sides.


Additionally, the deployment of newly bought S-400 by India on Pakistan’s border is increasing tensions. The shifting of its military doctrine from “Cold Start” to “Proactive Strategy (PAS)” determines that India is nowhere near to give a chance to probable diplomatic solution for the intense animosities. Pak-China economic partnership is also creating a sense of worry for Indian leadership due to which, they opted American-led alliances like Quad or Quad+. This makes a justification of such point that they are not only manipulating their strategic calculus to counter the rising “dragon”, but also to undermine Pakistan’s status to improve its conditions in the region. The point can be justified from recent developments in Afghanistan, where, Indian rhetoric kept on spreading of false information against Pakistan just to legitimize their ideological terms of Pakistan as being threat not only to Indian national security, but also to international security by supporting armed militants like Afghan Taliban.


Involving military leadership in its agenda, BJP chose Manoj Pande as COAS, which will serve their anti-Pakistan purposes. Gen. Pande is the first one to get selected from engineering core, famous for being part of many important anti-Pakistan operations like Parakram. Furthermore, there is a talk circulated in Indian media of Yogi, CM of Uttar Pradesh, to be the next PM. He is famous for his blunt hate statements against Pakistan. BJP government has been fueling anti Muslim sentiments over the years and will continue its future policies under the same umbrella with the discourse of “Pakistan” as being the grave danger to their “Hindu Rashtra” in upcoming era.

Presumably, India is extremely reluctant to bargain with Pakistan on any issue. Hindutva Ideology is the biggest hurdle between Pakistan and India healthy relations. This harsh reality of right-wing extremism concludes the fact that there is very less tendency to have diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan in years to come. At the end, both are developing, highly populated, and nuclearized states and have high consuming power, unemployment rate, and many other economic and security issues to be dealt. There’s a dire need to have some constructive efforts of diplomacy. As, the escalating rivalry will not only cost human security for Islamabad and New Delhi, but for the other states in the region as well by putting their stability at total stake due to India’s dreams for becoming the regional hegemon.

Published in Global Affairs September 2022 Edition

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Maryam Baloch

Written by Maryam Baloch

Maryam Baloch is a graduate in the field of International Relations from National Defence University Islamabad. Her areas of interest include counterterrorism, big data politics, and Pakistan-India relations. She can be reached at

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