India-Pakistan Relations: Neighbors Becoming More Neighborly?

The historical relationship between India and Pakistan is fraught with tensions. Today, the two countries formally accepted and enacted a new visa agreement affecting travel between the Member States:

Pakistan and India signed a new visa agreement on Saturday, easing restrictions for travelers in a move seen as a tentative step between the rival South Asian countries to normalize their troubled relations.

The agreement, which will make travel between the countries easier for businessmen, tourists and others, was signed by S. M. Krishna, the Indian minister for external affairs, and Rehman Malik, the Pakistani interior minister, in Islamabad….Pakistan’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, speaking of the new visa agreement, said, “I am calling it the first step in normalization of relations with our neighbor.”

via India and Pakistan Sign Visa Agreement, Easing Travel – NYTimes.com

And yet, a statement from the Pakistani Prime Minster reflects a relationship affected perhaps more by necessity rather than solely neighborly agreement:

“We must learn from the past,” Mr. Ashraf said Friday during his meeting with Mr. Krishna. “We cannot change our neighbors.”

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7 thoughts on “India-Pakistan Relations: Neighbors Becoming More Neighborly?

  1. draper15 says:

    Envelopment in a web of sustained agreements and relationships acts as a pacifying influence. As the costs of conflict rise, the likelihood of war decreases. Pakistan and India have been embroiled in conflict for years. If both countries begin to intertwine interests, such as enacting new visa agreements affecting travel between each other for one, both will begin to actively seek to maintain stable relations.

  2. merrxiv says:

    Moeed Yusuf, South Asia adviser at the US Institute of Peace, noted that Pakistan seems to be “seeking a genuine re-pivot of its foreign policy priorities.” This may be due, in part, to the fact that U.S.-Pakistan relations have soured recently and limited Pakistan’s diplomatic options. Additionally, talk of Kashmir has been noticeably absent in recent diplomatic interactions, effectively bypassing a political firestorm. Whatever the reason may be, improved India-Pakistan relations would certainly bring much needed stability to this volatile region.

    http://countrystudies.us/india/123.htm provides an informative summary of the conflict between India and Pakistan, especially the problem of Kashmir

  3. Ankit Lohani says:

    The chances of India and Pakistan going to a major war again seems pretty low considering the fact that both of the countries have nuclear arms now. When talking about India-Pakistan relations we should not forget that Pakistan had to lose its eastern Province in 1971 after a 9 month long war with India, which resulted in the establishment of Bangladesh. This aroused a feeling of national humiliation for Pakistan and resulted in the ISI immensely supporting terrorists in Kashmir to destabilize the Indian control in the region. Despite the advances in nuclear arms, millions of people in both of these countries still live under massive poverty and thus, easily gets inspired by ethnocentric indoctrination of conservative fundamentalists.

    Pakistan is currently under a lot of pressure from the United States after Bin Laden was found hiding in Abbottabad, which is 47 miles from Kashmir. It takes about one and half hours to get to Kashmir from Abbottabad (Google maps). On top of that, Kashmir has a big presence of Islamic militants. Following this the United States cut down 33 million aid to Pakistan (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18201077). Along with that a lot of Western powers definitely have had upheld many sanctions against Pakistan, which definitely means a lot for a country with 24% below the poverty line. Meanwhile on the other hand, India is a booming economy compared to Pakistan’s other neighbors Iran and Afghanistan. So, it totally make sense why there have been some changing ordeals in Visa regulations.

  4. bmedwards9 says:

    Anyone can see that a lot of effort is happening from both countries to fix the relationship between the two. With further reading I learned that the Pakistani president met with the Indian prime minister and is awaiting a return trip. http://articles.cnn.com/2012-09-08/asia/world_asia_pakistan-india-relations_1_pakistan-and-india-pakistani-head-khar Loosening restrictions on visas is another great way to try to fix the relationship. I think it will help with tourists and business people as promised, but I also think it is opening doors to greater terrorist threats in either country. The contention between the two countries is too old and too strong to have it stop instantly by a couple of political moves. Will the people of the countries be able to think like their leaders and look away from the past to build a better future. I do not think it will happen soon. I think we may see a couple of attacks because of the new visa laws.

  5. “Normalizing troubled relations” is an optimistic notion amidst a tumultuous global scene. The efforts invested by both countries to maintain a more neutral status quo is commendable and serves as a hopeful story. Personally, I would very much like to see North and South Korea normalizing their troubled relations (perhaps “troubled” is understatement). I agree with the person above in that the status quo will not be alleviated as soon as the agreements are passed and treaties signed, nor should we expect it to. Nonetheless, I believe that India and Pakistan have demonstrated an unprecedented show of diplomacy and optimism by this political reconciliation. Kudos.

  6. Sara Gomez says:

    Pakistan was formed as a Muslin-majority state while in India is Hinduism. They have fought three major wars including two, which were over Kashmir. It was in 2008 that the relationship between Pakistan and India started to improve. This are just good news and this demonstrates that the relationship between Pakistan and India will continue to improve. Although there are still some problems due to attacks from militia groups, this news is just another door to the improvement of their relationship, especially since Pakistan gave top priority in terms of trade to India. I wish other countries would learn from their past and would try to reconcile their differences. Kristy makes a good point about North Korea and South Korea, it would be definitely interesting to see at least some improvement in their relationship.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistan-india-sign-new-visa-agreement-making-cross-border-travel-easier/2012/09/08/15ce4fb2-f9c4-11e1-a0a1-b07778c66e04_story.html

  7. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were in part made possible by Canada. I am Canadian, so hold the opposition for a second. Many of the terrorists entered the United states through the Canadian border. There were serious border intensifications after the attack, but not much Canadian hating from America. Americans did have a spike in anti-muslim sentiment, but they realized Canadians were not to blame and we are starting to realize that it was not muslims in general.
    Pakistanis, particularly Khan, are right to pursue the fight against Jihad.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2244784/Imran-Khans-Terror-Pledge-Cricketer-turned-politician-says-Pakistan-wont-let-terrorists-operate-soil.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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