Factbox: Major disputes between India and Pakistan

(Reuters) – Pakistan’s and India’s home secretaries wrapped up two days of talks on Tuesday, the first thaw in a relationship that was put on ice following the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

Both sides said the talks were “positive,” but there is a long way to go before the two nuclear-armed countries can call their decades-old rivalry resolved and relations normalized.

The two South Asian nations have fought three wars since they became free nations in 1947, and remain deeply distrustful of each other.

Following are some of the main disputes between them.


For India, security is the top issue. Until now, it refused to resume a series of talks until Pakistan takes more action against Pakistan-based militant groups.

In particular, India wants Pakistan to show it is serious in reining in the militants behind the Mumbai attacks.

This is complicated by Indian suspicions that the Pakistan security establishment backed the militants in some way. In 2010, Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai directly blamed Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency for the attacks. Testimony from Pakistani-American David Headley, who scouted targets for the militants who staged the attack, says some ISI officers were connected to the plot.

For its part, Pakistan accuses India of backing separatists in its Baluchistan province and providing weapons and funding to Pakistan Taliban groups, charges India denies.


Afghanistan is a major source of friction. The two countries have long competed for influence there and Pakistan is deeply suspicious of a rise in India’s presence after the fall of the Islamabad-backed Taliban government in 2001.

It accuses India of using Afghanistan as a base to create problems inside Pakistan, including backing separatists in its Baluchistan province. India denies the accusations, saying its focus is on development.

India worries that an Afghanistan dominated by Pakistan’s allies in the Taliban after a U.S. pullout would allow anti-Indian militants a base from which to launch attacks.

This rivalry is complicating U.S.-led efforts to end an intensifying Taliban insurgency and bring stability to Afghanistan almost 10 years after the Taliban were ousted.


The divided, mostly Muslim Himalayan region of Kashmir is at the heart of hostility between the neighbors and was the cause of two of their three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. The third was over the founding of Bangladesh.

Separatists began an insurgency against Indian rule in 1989 — a movement almost immediately backed by Pakistan — and since then tens of thousands of people have been killed. Most fighters want all of Kashmir to become part of Pakistan but many ordinary Kashmiris want independence from both India and Pakistan.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit was quoted by news agency Press Trust of India as saying the United States ought to play an “effective role for an amicable solution of the longstanding issue of Kashmir” given close India-U.S. ties.

The United States, however, has shown no enthusiasm for getting involved in what it calls a bilateral issue for Pakistan and India.


The two countries disagree over use of the water flowing down rivers that rise in Indian Kashmir and run into the Indus river basin in Pakistan.

The use of the water is governed by the 1960 Indus Water Treaty under which India was granted the use of water from three eastern rivers, and Pakistan the use of three western rivers. Pakistan says India is unfairly diverting water with the upstream construction of barrages and dams. India denies the charge.


Indian and Pakistani forces have faced off in mountains above the Siachen glacier in the Karakoram range, the world’s highest battlefield, since 1984.

The two sides have been trying to find a solution that would allow them to withdraw troops, but India says it is unwilling to bring its forces down until Pakistan officially authenticates the positions they hold.

Pakistan has said it is willing to do so but on the condition that it is not a final endorsement of India’s claim over the glacier, one source of meltwater for Pakistan’s rivers.

(Compiled by Chris Allbritton; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

Factbox: Major disputes between India and Pakistan