Pakistan's Relations with India: A Chronological Timeline

Pakistan’s Relations with India-Timeline

Despite having linguistic, cultural, geographic, and economic ties, Pakistan’s relations with India and India’s relations with Pakistan have been complicated by a number of political and historical events. The violent partition of British India in 1947, the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, and the various military battles waged between the two countries have all had a significant impact on Indo-Pak relations.

One of the greatest human migrations ever recorded resulted from the division of British India. it led to violent refugee killings around the area. Up to 12.5 million people may have been displaced. And, probably 1 million people may have died. The India-Pakistan border is one of the most militarized borders in the whole world.


The emergence of competing for territorial claims over various princely states quickly started after independence. It overshadowed the relationship between the two countries, which had just recently established full diplomatic ties.

The most significant of these disputes was over Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmir issue has been the impetus for every war between the two countries since 1947, with the exception of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which took place concurrently with the Bangladesh Liberation War. India and Pakistan have also participated in several armed clashes and military standoffs.

Both countries have had three major wars till now and one undeclared war in 1999. The other three major wars were fought in 1947, 1965, and 1971.

The chronological timeline is here:

1. 1947-1948

The First Kashmir War, as it is often known, began in October 1947 and continued till the first half of 1948. It started as a result of Pakistan’s worries about the injustice that the Maharaja of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu might join India.

Princely states were given the option to join Pakistan or India after the partition or to maintain their independence. The greatest of the princely realms, Jammu and Kashmir, was controlled by the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. Moreover, it had a majority Muslim population, which entails that according to the rules they should have joined the Dominion of Pakistan.

maharaja hari singh
Maharaja of Kashmir, June 20, 1946 [File: The Associated Press]

On April 22, 1948, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 47. On January 1, 1949, the United Nations organises a truce with a defined ceasefire line, a UN peacekeeping force, and a suggestion that the previously agreed-upon referendum on Kashmir’s admission to India is held. That referendum is still pending.

The fronts progressively formed along the path that became known as the Line of Control. Pakistan took control of nearly a third of Kashmir which includes Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. While India acquired control of roughly two-thirds of the state which includes Kashmir Valley, Jammu, and Ladakh. Both countries refer to another side of the LoC as “Occupied” territory.

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2. 1954-1964

In 1954, the constituent legislature of the state approves Jammu and Kashmir’s annexation to India. Then in 1957, the constitution is approved by the Jammu & Kashmir Constituent Assembly. As of the ratification in 1954 and the adoption of the constitution in 1957, India began to refer to “Jammu and Kashmir” as an essential part of the Indian union.

In 1963, Swaran Singh and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, held discussions about the Kashmir conflict. they held them under the sponsorship of the British and Americans following the 1962 Sino-Indian war. There was no agreement reached during those discussions, but the precise details have not yet been made public.

A declassified US State Department memo states that during the negotiations, “Pakistan indicated a willingness to consider approaches other than a plebiscite and India recognized that the status of Kashmir was in dispute and territorial adjustments might be necessary.”

In 1964, Pakistan refers the Kashmir case to the UN Security Council after the 1963 negotiations fail.

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3. 1965 -1966

A second war raged between India and Pakistan. The battle started in April near the Rann of Kutch (Indian Gujarat) after a border patrol confrontation. It got worsened on August 5 when between 26,000 and 33,000 Pakistani forces entered the Indian-administered Kashmir by breaching the cease-fire line while posing as native Kashmiris.

While the battle is still confined to the Kashmir theatre, infantry, armor, and air force units are active. However, as the crisis spreads, Indian soldiers breach the international border at Lahore on September 6. In the Sialkot area, where 400 to 600 tanks fought in a pointless conflict. and, the greatest engagement of the war took place.

By September 22, 1965, the battle had reached a standstill with both sides controlling some of each other’s territory. Both sides agreed to an UN-mandated ceasefire, ending the conflict.

On January 10, 1966, Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Prime Minister of India, and Ayub Khan, the president of Pakistan, signed an agreement in Tashkent. They pledged to retreat to pre-August lines and to restore commercial and diplomatic ties.

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4. 1971-1972

This conflict was unique in that it was not sparked by the Kashmir dispute. Rather it was due to political conflict between Yahya Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the leaders of West Pakistan, and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of East Pakistan, that was raging in what was once East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It started because of becoming prime minister after Mujib’s party won the majority of seats in the 1970 legislative elections.

Pakistan initiated a military offensive on Dhaka in March, but India got engaged in the fight in December after Pakistan’s air force attacked airfields in northwest India.

Then India attacked East Pakistan from the air, the sea, and the land in unison. Over 90,000 members of the Pakistani army capitulate in Dhaka, becoming prisoners of war. This war resulted in the most casualties of any India-Pakistan war and the largest number of prisoners of war.

The culmination of this would be Bangladesh’s proclamation of independence from Pakistan’s state structure. About 10 million Bengalis from East Pakistan fled to neighboring India after Operation Searchlight and the horrors in 1971 in Bangladesh.

Shimla Agreement

In a document signed in Shimla, Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan and Indira Gandhi of India committed to “putting an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of a durable peace in the subcontinent.” Both parties agreed to use “peaceful ways” to resolve any differences.

Pakistan's relations with India - Shimla agreement
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, right, and President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto shake hands after signing an agreement in the Governor’s Mansion, in Simla on June 28, 1972. [The Associated Press]

The Shimla Agreement designated the December 17, 1971 cease-fire line as the new “Line-of-Control (LoC)” between the two nations, which neither party may attempt to unilaterally alter. The Shimla Agreement also states that the LoC “shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side.”

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5. 1974-1988

In 1974, according to the Kashmiri state administration, Kashmir “is a constituent entity of the Union of India.” The agreement with the Indian administration is rejected by Pakistan.

In an operation known as “Smiling Buddha,” India detonated a nuclear weapon at Pokhran on May 18. The gadget was referred to as a “peaceful nuclear explosive” in India.

Then, in 1988, The two nations established a pact promising not to attack each other’s nuclear infrastructure or sites.

“Nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation and reprocessing facilities, as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials” are included in this list.

Both parties concurred to exchange data on the longitudes and latitudes of each nuclear facility. The two nations communicate information on January 1 of every year once this agreement was enacted.

Click here to read Pakistan’s Relations with India – 1989 to Onwards

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