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Review Details

India and Pakistan:Neighbours at Odds



Avtar Bhasin
Delhi; Bloomsbury, 2018


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Source: The Book Review

Despite seven decades, three wars and multiple peace initiatives, clearly the neighbours are at odds. Why?

Avtar Singh Bhasin’s latest book on India and Pakistan tries to provide an answer for that. Though there have been numerous books on the subject, Bhasin’s is unique, for it relies heavily on the Indo-Pak official documents. The fact that Bhasin has published a ten-volume series containing the above a few years ago should have come in handy for him in preparing a bulky, yet reader-friendly volume.

The book with 34 chapters traces India-Pakistan interactions in a historical perspective, starting with Partition and covering up to 26/11. He starts with an interesting statement: Whether Partition solved any problems is not certain; what is clear is that it has created new ones. His subsequent chapters trace how the leaders viewed developments during 1947-48 differently.

There is a perception amongst a section in India and Pakistan that the Partition was a British conspiracy, and that all bilateral ills between the two countries could be traced to the Partition. Is it the case? Or did the subsequent four developments influence the post-1947 bilateral political equations: failure of the UN to resolve J&K; the Cold War’s entry into the subcontinent; the untimely demise of Jinnah in 1948 and the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan in 1951; the failure of political parties in Pakistan along with the political ascendancy of its military; and the use of proxy war by Pakistan’s Deep State

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