You are listening to “The World: Today,’ a news podcast about the events happening today and what led up to them. In today’s story we will be talking about Pakistan.
India and Pakistan have been locked in a bitter rivalry with decades-old roots that have almost erupted into outright war several times. *explain history and reason of Pakistan’s and India’s poor relations.
In a contentious post-9/11 world, the threat is even greater as the conflict has, on several occasions, threatened to escalate into nuclear war. However, there is a glimmer of hope. The two countries signed a landmark accord agreeing to cooperate on military matters. Although made between two non-official organizations, it was the first time the adversaries had worked together in such a manner. The accord outlined a plan to share limited military and security information between India’s Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis and Pakistan’s Institute for Strategic Studies.
There was much hope of a new era of good relations, based on love, respect and cooperation, between Pakistan and India, when after assuming office, Imran Khan extended good gestures to India. But those good wishes were not reciprocated. The incident of Pulwama, in which 40 Indian CRPF personnel were killed, further aggravated the already strained relations. The post-Pulwama political situation, especially during India’s general elections, shaped a new narrative against Pakistan in India.
In February 2019, a young Kashmiri man in the town of Pulwama staged a suicide bombing that killed more than three dozen Indian security forces—the deadliest such attack in Kashmir in three decades. India retaliated by sending jets across Pakistan-administered Kashmir and launching limited strikes, for the first time since a war in 1971. Soon thereafter, Pakistan claimed it had carried out six air strikes in Kashmir to showcase its might, and it also shot down an Indian fighter jet and captured the pilot. The confrontation, which de-escalated when Islamabad announced the pilot’s release several days later, represented the most serious exchange of hostilities in years. These prolonged tensions often overshadowed what was arguably the biggest story in both countries in 2019: economic struggle.
India suffered its biggest economic slowdown in six years, and Pakistan confronted a serious debt crisis. The two weren’t unconnected: Given the inability of New Delhi and Islamabad to fix their economies, both governments arguably sought political advantages from the distractions of display of force.
Pakistan had sent over a diplomate to attempt to solve the issue but tensions were high.
Against this tense backdrop, the opening in November of a new border corridor that enables Indian Sikhs to enter Pakistan visa-free to worship at a holy shrine, which in better times could have been a bridge to an improved relationship, amounted to little more than a one-off humanitarian gesture.
Bad as these crises are, they are poised to get worse next year.
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