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How many treaties are there between India and Pakistan?

11 min read

By Khushi Agarwal

Introduction

Last big recent move between the relations of India and Pakistan was seen in August 2019, when our Honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Singh Modi removed, a 65-year-old Article 370 which gave the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir a special status from our Indian Constitution.

After its removal, the power of Jammu and Kashmir to have its own separate Constitution, make its own decisions related to Internal Affairs and to have separate flag, etc. were all taken away.

The move was made in order to reduce the frequent wars in respect of the disputed region and to make the state fully part of the Indian territory.

This article will deal with the concept of treaties, and the need of the two countries to have treaties in between them.

What is a Treaty?

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties described a treaty as, “an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation”.

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is seen as “Treaty of Treaties” as it was an international agreement signed between nations for regulating all the rules and procedures related to Treaties. It is a comprehensive agreement defining what is Treaty, how it will be amended, how it will be singed, etc.

Therefore, in other words, Treaty is an agreement which different sovereign nations sign voluntarily between themselves related to subjects of international importance and is governed by International Law.

Some common examples of Treaties signed between nations are:

  • Treaty of Versailles, signed after the end of World War I between Western allies and Germany.
  • Treaty of Paris signed between Britain and American in 1783.
  • Treaty of Sugauli signed between British India and Nepal which established boundary line of Nepal.
  • Lisbon Treaty signed between members of European Union on 13 December 2007 which amended two existing Treaties.

These Treaties can be Bilateral or Multilateral in nature. Bilateral Treaty is signed between two nations or two group of nations whereas Multilateral Treaties are signed between several nations.

Purpose of Treaties

As these Treaties define rules and procedures between the Nations, they are signed for the purpose of peaceful relations and for avoiding any kind of future conflicts.

Like agreements are signed between partners of the Partnership Firm to avoid any kind of dispute which may arise in future, in the same way Treaties are signed between countries to maintain good international relations.

Once these are signed, all the relations related to subjects mentioned in the Treaty are governed according to it which was signed after the consent of those nations. They establish rights and duties of the parties to the Treaty which cannot and should not be broken as they are legally binding.

The subject matter of these Treaties could be anything which those want to agree and make rules on such as trade transaction, water disputes, maritime relations, etc.

History of India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan used to be one country until it gained Independence in 1947. British India was under the British rule for almost two hundred years and British used these years to the full of its advantage. They exploited India and its citizens and never let it to develop.

India was just made a means to supply raw materials for the growing industries in Britain and a ready market for those finished goods and that too at very high rates. They never let any industries to grow in India.

Whenever the people thought of raising their voice against their harsh rules and unauthorized colonialism, they were either beaten up or put behind the bars.

Any movement against the British government was eventually suppressed by hook or crook.

But all these exploitations were slowly and slowly boiling the blood of the people. When the British felt the fear of people getting united against them, they used the approach of “divide and rule”, taking the advantage of vast number of religions in India.

India is a country of many different cultures and religions such as Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians, etc. Almost all religions existed in India, which was one of the reasons for making India a secular country.

This divide and rule lead to many fights between people of different religions, especially between Hindus and Muslims.

However, at last people ignored their regional differences and got united against the British rule. Eventually India gained Independence from the British rule due to their unity and the fearful leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhagat Singh, etc.

What led to the Partition of India and Pakistan?

At the time of independence, tensions arose with respect to the religious differences between Hindus and Muslims. Muslims were a minority in India and Hindus will have a dominating power over them.

It was argued that if both of these communities were not separated, it will lead to many conflicts between them and it will not give rise to a peaceful nation.

Also, in August 1946, India saw one of the worst communal riots. To demand for a new nation of Pakistan, Muslims went on a strike during Direct Action Day in Calcutta. Violence spread between Hindus and Muslims in Calcutta which later spread in whole North India.

All these factors resulted in separation of Pakistan from India in 1947 and Pakistan was declared an Independent Country. After this separation of countries, due to large shifting of people from Pakistan to India or vice-versa, the world saw millions of deaths.

Most of the Muslims decided to shift in Pakistan while some remained in India. Almost all Hindus living in newly made Pakistan started coming to India.

At last, Pakistan declared itself as an Islamic country while India chose to be a secular nation.

What was the Kashmir Dispute?

All the states were given the freedom to either choose India or Pakistan or to remain neutral. Most of the states with Hindu majority and with Indian boundaries on all side, chose to be part of India.

However, problem arose with respect of Kashmir which touched the boundaries of both India and Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh was the ruler of Kashmir at that time. He was a Hindu but most of the population of Kashmir was Muslim. As a result, he was not able to decide and finally declared it to be an Independent Country.

But just after two months in October 1947, Pakistan sent people to attack Kashmir. In order to save his state, Maharaja Hari Singh approached the Indian government for help. The Indian government helped him on a condition to hand over Defense, Communication and Foreign Affairs of the state to India.

But the war continued till the matter was addressed to United Nations and a Ceasefire was agreed according to which Line of Control (LOC) was made separating the region of Kashmir in two regions- Pakistan Kashmir and Indian Kashmir in 1949.

Relations between India and Pakistan

These two countries have always been a hot topic after their independence in 1947 due to their relations. Both of these nations are considered as enemy of each other and often one or the other kind of wars in going on between them.

Reasons of these violent clashes between them has most of the time been the disputed region of Kashmir. Both nations claim it to be a part of their nation and refuse to surrender it to the other nation.

This all is happening due to the undefined Line of Control. In 1949, it was made for a temporary purpose but is still a de facto means to define the region.

Other reasons for dispute between both the nations are the differences in the religions of people which all started due to British government’s “divide and rule” approach and the violent partition of the nations.

Some Wars between India and Pakistan

There are multiple wars fought between the two nations. Some of them are as follows:

  • The first Indo-Pakistani war after independence was fought in October 1947 where the Pakistan sent troops to invade and attack Kashmir, following which Maharaja Hari Singh asked for Indian government’s help and later on the Line of Control was made.
  • Operation Gibraltar was held in 1965. Pakistan in order to occupy Indian Administered Kashmir attacked the area which led to widespread clashes between both the nations.
  • One of the big Wars fought between these two nations was in 1971 which resulted in the formation of a new independent nation, Bangladesh. During the time of independence of British India, Pakistan was split into two parts, East Pakistan, and West Pakistan.

However, the people of East Pakistan wanted independence and as a result War was fought between India and Pakistan. At last Pakistan surrendered and Bangladesh gained its independence on 6 December 1971.

  • Kargil War was a worldwide known war fought between the two nations in the Kargil district of Kashmir which went on from May to July 1999. Pakistan’s military in order to occupy full Kashmir came on the other side of Line of Control which was considered India’s region.

India in order to clear out the Pakistan’s military launched a operation named Operation Vijay and at last was successful in taking control on the region. The day since then is seen as Kargil Vijay Diwas.

  • In 2001, Five Pakistani terrorists attacked the building of the Indian Parliament Building which killed nine people. Following this, tensions arose around the borders of both the countries.
  • The recent Pulwama Attack on 14 February 2019, killed around 40 India’s forces. Pakistan’s terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed was alleged to carry out the attack.

India took revenge by the Air Strikes but in the process one of the member of the Indian Air Force was captured by the Pakistan which led to increase in the tensions.

Why do India and Pakistan need these Treaties?

As Treaties are signed for maintaining good relations between the countries, India and Pakistan are in very much need of these from time to time. Often these two nations are found in some or other kind of war.

Therefore, in order to reduce those conflicts and to maintain healthy relations between both of them and also, to maintain peace internationally, these two nations need Treaties.

Treaties between India and Pakistan

  • Karachi Agreement – After the first Indo-Pakistan War in 1947, Karachi Agreement was entered in 1949 which made a Ceasefire line in the State of Jammu and Kashmir known as Line of Control.
  • Liaquat-Nehru Pact – During the Partition of India and Pakistan, many people shifted either from Pakistan to India or from India to Pakistan. Millions of people lost their life, women were abducted and people were forced to change their religion.

To undo it, Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan signed a pact on 8 April 1950 in New Delhi. To help the minorities in both the Nations, Minority Commissions were being set up according to this Pact.

Also, people who shifted to other country were allowed to return and dispose of the properties which they may have left behind during that time and forced conversions of religions were being unrecognized after this Pact[1].

  • Indus Water Treaty – Indus river water system contains six rivers namely Indus, Beas, Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum. After the Partition, problems were arising with respect to these rivers that who has the control over the water.

To solve this issue, Indus Water Treaty was signed on 18 September 1960 which divided the rivers between India and Pakistan. According to the geographical locations of these nations, India got around 20% of the water whereas Pakistan got 80% of it.

Eastern rivers Beas, Sutlej and Ravi were given to India and the other three Indus, Chenab and Jhelum were given to Pakistan. However, India was allowed to use the rivers granted to Pakistan for non-consumptive use[2].

  • Tashkent Declaration – To settle the war of 1965, Tashkent Declaration was signed on 10 January 1966 in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. It was signed between India’s Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistan’s President, Muhammad Ayub Khan.

In this Declaration, both of the nations agreed to restore all their previous economic relations and agreed to get back to their previous positions as it was before the War. They also agreed to work on their Bilateral and Diplomatic relations[3].

  • Simla Agreement – After the Indo-Pakistan war which resulted in independence of Bangladesh in 1971, peace Treaty was signed between both of these countries in 1972 in Shimla.

Prime ministers of both the nations, that is, Indira Gandhi of India and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan mutually agreed to the terms of the treaty.

It was basically signed for maintaining good, healthy relations in future and a long lasting friendship after the 1971 war. Both of the nations decided to avoid any conflicts and establish peace.

Main features of the treaty were to respect the border made by Line of Control and to avoid any violation with respect to it. It also mentioned to respect each other’s nation and sovereignty and decided to not interfere in other nation’s internal affairs.

They decided to settle all the issues peacefully and through bilateral approach[4].

  • Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement – Signed between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto of India and Pakistan, respectively on 21 December 1988, was an attempt to reduce the fear of both of the nations to attack on each other’s Nuclear Installations.

Both the nations in an Agreement decided to never attack other Nation’s Nuclear facilities. This reduced the fear of any surprise attack and made a secure environment in this respect.

After this Agreement, none of the both nations could cause any damage to other country’s Nuclear Installations and Facilities[5].

  • Lahore Declaration – Signed on 21 February 1999 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, Lahore Declaration was a means to combat terrorism. It focused on avoiding conflicts and unauthorized use of Nuclear weapons.

Conclusion

In spite of making so many Treaties, the relations between these two nations are still not so good. Both the nations are often found engaged in war or any other conflict with each other.

The central point of these disputes is the area of Kashmir which these countries claim.

Many Treaties with respect to Trade are being made from time to time but then also frequently we get to hear news like India stopped its trade with Pakistan or vice-versa or India blaming Pakistan for something or Pakistan blaming India for something.

There is a need to make a fresh and new Treaty with respect to the border of Kashmir which must clearly define the area of Kashmir under Pakistan and India.

It should clearly define Line of Control and comprehensive talks should be held in order to permanently finish these wars over the area.

Also, strict actions are needed to be taken against the growing terrorism in Pakistan which otherwise could be problem in future. According to Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan is still under the Greylist and is given time to comply with their conditions.

Maintaining peace world-wide should be the goal of each of the nations and every nation must strive towards achieving it. Engaging in regular conflicts will only lead to economic, political, social loss and nothing good.

References

  1. Nehru-Laiquat Agreement available at: mea.gov.in(last visited on June 3, 2021)
  2. Indus Water Treaty available at mea.gov.in (last visited on June 3, 2021)
  3. Tashkent Declaration available at mea.gov.in/ (last visited on June 3, 2021)
  4. Simla Agreement available at mea.gov.in (last visited on June 3, 2021)
  5. Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement available at mea.gov.in (last visited on June 3, 2021)