Hindu/Islam conflict in Pakistan could negatively influence relations with India

India’s relations with Pakistan have been negative largely due to religious differences. Hindus make up the majority of India’s population although the country also fosters other religions including Islam. India has had to deal with rising extremist groups from both religions domestically but these conflicts in part have also lead to the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India. India often reacts to Hindu/Islam conflict out of  obligation to support Hindus. Therefore, the conflict occurring in Sindh province in Pakistan between Hindus and Muslims affects India’s foreign policy and relations with Pakistan.

On April 1st, 2014 The Times of India reported on a conflict erupting in Sindh province in Pakistan due to an attack on a Hindu ashram of Faqir Par Braham. In the attack, a ‘trishul’ was stolen, and parrh (cloth wrapped around an idol) was completely destroyed. According to Raja Bhawan of Tharparkar’s Hindu panchayat, the attack was due to a conspiracy, leading Muslims to target the entire Hindu community within Sindh. Four suspects have been arrested and the stolen trishul recovered. The Hindus of Sindh took to the streets in protest of the attack, and several businesses to shutdown.

As someone familiar with Hindu ashrams, it is important to note the peaceful atmosphere of ashrams, as well as their nonviolent dichotomy. Because this conflict has  targeted Hindus and Hindu religious practice India may be forced to react due to domestic pressures. As seen in India’s relations with Sri Lanka, Hindus within india pressure India to counter act violence against Hindus in neighboring countries. This pressure has greatly influenced India’s foreign policy with its neighbors prior to this attack. However, with negative relations already existing between India and Pakistan this conflict in Sindh is likely to result in a continuation of negative relations, and possibly more conflict between the two countries.



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