The India–Pakistan Border, known locally as the International Border (IB), is an international border running between India and Pakistan that demarcates the Indian states and the Pakistani four provinces. The border runs from the Line of Control (LoC), which separates Indian-controlled Kashmir from Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, in the north, to the Zero Point between the Indian state of Gujarat and the Sindh province of Pakistan, in the south.
Nighttime panorama of the border, stretching from the Arabian Sea to the foothills of the Himalayas
|Length||3,323 kilometres (2,065 mi)|
|Established||17 August 1947|
|Creation of the Radcliffe Line by Sir Cyril Radcliffe due to the Partition of India|
|Current shape||2 July 1972|
|Demarcation of the Line of Control after ratification of the Simla Treaty|
|Treaties||Karachi Agreement, Simla Agreement|
|Notes||The Line of Control separates Kashmir between India and Pakistan, it is not an internationally recognized border|
Drafted and created based upon the Radcliffe line in 1947, the border, which divides Pakistan and India from each other, traverses a variety of terrains ranging from major urban areas to inhospitable deserts. Since the independence of India and Pakistan (see British India), the border has been a site of numerous conflicts and wars between each country, and is one of the most complex borders in the world. The border's total length is 3,323 km (2,065 mi), according to the figures given by the PBS; it is also one of the most dangerous borders in the world, based on an article written in the Foreign Policy in 2011. It can be seen from space at night due to the 150,000 flood lights installed by India on about 50 thousand poles.
Working Boundary, Line of Control, and International BoundaryEdit
The border between the two Nations is an internationally recognised frontier from Gujarat/Sindh only with exemption to the Line of Control that is not internationally accepted. The Kashmir disputed region is divided by the 1949 UN ceasefire line, established after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, into two main parts and the de facto demarcation dividing Pakistan-administered Kashmir from Indian-administered Kashmir has been called the Line of Control since 1972.
Between Pakistan and India lies the Pakistani territories of AJK & Gilgit-Baltistan and, also the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. On the other side where the internal borders of the Pakistan's Punjab provincial border, is officially called the Working Boundary by Pakistan (which is a recent term) and international border by the Government of India.
- Working boundary: The line between Punjab Province of Pakistan along Sialkot and Indian controlled Kashmir. It is called a working boundary because on one side is an internationally recognised land (Sialkot) while on the other is a disputed territory.
- Line of Control (LOC): Line of control is the boundary between the Pakistani Azad Kashmir and Indian Jammu and Kashmir. It was demarcated after the Simla pact in 1972.
- International boundary: The demarcated line between the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan recognized internationally. Sir Cyril Radcliffe Demarcated the land in 1947.
- ICP Border crossings with designated Integrated Check Posts (ICP) with immigration and customs facilities are:
- Attari at Wagah, Punjab, India, is the most famous and prominent border crossing point between India and Pakistan due to Wagah-Attari border ceremony. The crossing is located 32 kilometres from Amritsar and 24 kilometers from Lahore.
- Munabao : This village situated at Barmer district in Rajasthan, is famous for the railway station through which, the Thar Express connecting India with Pakistan runs. The crossing point had been closed after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. In February 2006 it was reopened and since then the Thar Express operates from Bhagat Ki Kothi in Jodhpur, India to Karachi, Pakistan.
- Other crossings
Wagah-Attari border ceremonyEdit
The flag lowering ceremony at the village of Wagah is held each evening immediately before sunset by the border agents of Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) and India (Border Security Force or BSF). It is a tradition dating back to 1959. The ceremony begins with battle calls from both sides in the form of loud screaming done by the border guards. This is followed by a series of organized high kicks, stomps, and dance moves during which the opposing forces stare each other down. The event ends with a handshake of good faith being exchanged by the head guards along with the lowering of the flags. The crowd cheers and claps enthusiastically through it all. The ritual is known to attract international tourists and even celebrities. It is symbolic of the brotherhood as well as the rivalry that these two nations share. The border troops are known to exchange sweets with the opposing side during the Muslim holidays of Eid and Hindu holiday of Diwali, but in 2016 and 2018 the BSF have avoided doing so due to rising military tensions. It has been peaceful gathering with the exception of 2014 Wagah border suicide attack in which 60 people were killed and over 110 people were left injured. It has also been cancelled on occasion such as when Pakistan returned Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman back to India after his plane was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during the 2019 India-Pakistan standoff.
Similar border ceremonies held by the India (Border Security Force, BSF) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) occur at Fazilka border (India side) / Sulaimanki, Punjab and Hussainiwala border, Punjab (India side) / Ganda Singh Wala border, Kasur District (Pakistan side). These rituals are attended primarily by the local villagers and garner very few spectator tourists.
Water insecurity has and will continue to be a predominant cause of conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, due to both water shortages in both countries and the Kabul River. The Kabul River supplies 26 percent of the annual flow of water into Pakistan. However, the Afghan government recently announced that they will soon commence work on the construction of the 236 million dollar Shahtoot Dam on the Kabul river. The dam is expected to hold 146 million cubic meters of portable water for 2 million Kabul residents and irrigate 4,000 hectares of land in the Charasiab district of the province. The project is a component of Afghanistan’s India-backed ambitious plans of building 12 dams on the Kabul River basin. Pakistani officials showed deep concerns regarding the inauspicious effects of the project on the agricultural production and livelihood of Peshawar residents. Pakistani media have even framed the project as Afghanistan’s oppressive policy toward Pakistan, masterminded by India, but Afghanistan continues to argue that improving its power and water infrastructures is imperative to jumpstart its lagging economy and ensure internal stability.
- China: Pakistan has a close and supportive relationship with China, with the People’s Republic of China providing economic, military, and technical assistance to Pakistan, and each country considers the other a close strategic ally. China is Pakistan’s largest supplier of weapons and one of its largest trading partners. There are strong military ties between China and Pakistan beyond the supply of weapons. This alliance between two neighboring Asian nations is significant geopolitically, as the strong military ties counter regional Indian and American influence. China-India disputes have emerged concerning land borders and economic competition that has led to strained relations. China even now supports Pakistan in the Pakistani-Indian conflicts but has partaken in virtually no combat on the physical border of China and India, preferring to work remotely through the Pakistani-Indian border. China has continued to support Pakistan in the argument over Kashmir even into the 2010s.
- Afghanistan: See above section
Indian war planes sent rockets into Pakistani territory on February 26th 2019, unleashing an attack on what India claimed were terrorist targets, launching airstrikes on Pakistani soil for the first time since 1971. Now, when war may be more likely than ever to break out, both sides have nuclear weapons. Pakistan returned fire on the 27th, shooting down two Indian jets, signifying a willingness for violent retaliation. India maintains a “no first use” doctrine, stating India will only use nuclear weapons in response to another nuclear attack. However, Pakistan has not once referred to any clear rules governing its own use of nuclear weapons. No one outside of Pakistan’s highest command knows what could provoke the nation to launch a nuclear strike. Most experts still find a nuclear war very unlikely. Roy Choudhury clarified “escalating tensions to the point of nuclear conflict would be catastrophic for both India and Pakistan and would destabilize the entire region - an option unlikely to be taken by either New Delhi or Islamabad”.  Gunfire between Pakistani and Indian soldiers had been exchanged in 1999, when both countries were reportedly nuclear powers, but both sides soon agreed to deescalate the situation. However, tensions have been high for years and even now are at their peak in terms of recent years, and with Pakistan claiming to “defend their country with any weapons necessary”, it is foolish to completely ignore the possibility of a nuclear war.
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- Annotated image from NASA
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Media related to Indo-Pakistani border at Wikimedia Commons