THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 25 June 2020 Bad to worse: On India-Pakistan ties (The Hindu)

Bad to worse: On India-Pakistan ties (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: India-Pakistan ties
Mains level: India and its neighborhood relations


  • In another round of tit-for-tat manoeuvres, India, followed by Pakistan, has decided to halve the strength of diplomatic missions in each other’s capital.
  • The government’s decision, conveyed in a démarche to Pakistani on Tuesday.
  • This followed because of the ill-treatment and torture of Indian personnel posted in Islamabad, in clear violation of their diplomatic rights.
  • Pakistan’s contention was that the two men arrested were carrying fake currency.
  • It is more likely the action was a response to arrests and the expulsion of two Pakistani High Commission officials accused of espionage last month, who were also taken into custody by Indian security officials.

 Past precedent:

  • New Delhi also accused Pakistan High Commission officials of maintaining “links to terror organisations” as a reason for its decision.
  • While expulsions of diplomats are not uncommon between countries as inimical to each other as India and Pakistan are, this is the first time such a measure has been taken since 2001.
  • Then, the Parliament attack in December 2001, and the largest military mobilisation of the time along the India-Pakistan border, Operation Parakram, were the triggers.
  • Eventually, there was a thaw in ties and PM Vajpayee’s visited to Pakistan for the SAARC summit in 2004.
  • The move was reversed and diplomats were gradually taken back to a full strength of over a 100 in each High Commission.


  • The latest decision follows not one event, but a general downslide in relations in the past year.
  • Pulwama attack last February, the Balakot air strike and the August 5 decision to amend A-370 and reorganise Jammu and Kashmir were the triggers.
  • India and Pakistan have snapped all trading ties, downgraded missions — now without High Commissioners — and shut down most diplomatic activities.
  • India and Pakistan have had no talks since 2015, when PM Modi visited Lahore, and the External Affairs Ministers met a few months later.
  • All sporting and cultural exchanges are at an end, and visas are rarely granted.
  • There is a rare exception being made for the Kartarpur corridor inaugurated last year.
  • Every multilateral forum India and Pakistan are a part of, both sides are at daggers drawn.
  • Even on non-contentious issues such as cooperating on the coronavirus or collaborating against the recent locust invasion that affected the region, Islamabad and New Delhi are unable to find common cause.


  • While the present seems bleak, the future does not augur well for a change, particularly as India-China tensions occupy New Delhi’s concerns and focus.
  • The decision to reduce mission strengths is unlikely to impact working relations between India and Pakistan at present.
  • It is a sign, however, that just when it seems ties between the two neighbours cannot get much worse, they do.
  • Ties between India and Pakistan seem strained beyond immediate repair.

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 Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict 2020, consider the following statements:

1. The sixth annual International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict 2020 is being observed on 19 June.

2. The day aims to raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence and to honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) India recently asked Pakistan to reduce the strength of its High Commission in New Delhi by half. In this context what are the measures needed to improve diplomatic ties between two countries. Comment.