Kanti Bajpai in This Week in Asia:
India and Pakistan have an impressive record of cooperation and peace initiatives. Virtually every bilateral problem they had before 1964 – except Kashmir – was solved diplomatically, including a landmark 1960 agreement on sharing the waters of the Indus River that both have since honoured, even in wartime.
The two even came close to reaching a solution on Kashmir through bilateral talks and the United Nations, but negotiations that involved prominent Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah were abandoned following the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, in 1964.
Since then, India and Pakistan have gone to war three times – in 1965, 1971, and 1999 – and had several more scares: in 1986-87, 1990, 2001-2, 2008, and most recently, after 2019’s Pulwama terrorist attack in Kashmir that prompted Indian air strikes on Balakot in retaliation. However, the two sides have also signed peace treaties and agreements: in Tashkent, after the 1965 war; and in Simla, after the 1971 war. When tensions ran high after their respective nuclear tests in 1998, the two signed the Lahore Declaration, which included understandings on nuclear controls, in February 1999.