Which countries helped Pakistan develop nuclear weapons?

India and Pakistan emerged from the old colonial empire British India in 1947. At that time the division was made into the three parts India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan, today's Bangladesh, and ran mainly along the religious fault lines. Since then, Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-dominated India have been enemies for decades. Recently, despite the Kashmir conflict, there has been a willingness to enter into dialogue on both sides.

"Enemy Brothers"

The conflict between the "warring brothers" India and Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous political explosives in the world. The confrontation between the federal and secular Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is fueled by a mixture of historical, geopolitical and religious factors.

Since the division of British India, the two countries have waged three murderous wars against each other, two of which were over Kashmir. The rivalry intensified when the two adversaries announced the development of nuclear weapons in 1998.

USA has a decisive position

When the US intervened in Afghanistan in 2001, it relied on Pakistan as its main ally in the region. But at the same time they also approached New Delhi, on the one hand to be able to influence the political developments in the region more strongly, and on the other hand to counter the growing influence of China.

The US has thus established a decisive position in a large region in which 1.3 billion people live.

De-escalation of the Indo-Pakistani conflict

A first step towards de-escalating the Indian-Pakistani conflict took place in January 2004 with the meeting between the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad. This dialogue continued with the new Indian Prime Minister Manmohan.

At their meeting in New Delhi in June 2004, the heads of government of both countries agreed on measures that could serve to build confidence and contain the risk of a nuclear confrontation. This was the first time since 1998 that the topic of nuclear weapons came back on the table. It was decided to extend the nuclear test moratorium from 1999 and to set up a "red telephone" between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Cashmere remains a point of contention

Dialogue has eased tensions, but viewpoints are still far apart on the two key issues of Kashmir and nuclear weapons. In the case of Kashmir, a compromise remains unlikely as the real cause of the conflict, which also led to the first war of 1947, remains: the Kashmir region has been annexed to India, while the vast majority of the population is Muslim and despite the division the former colony was based on the criterion of religious affiliation.