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  Time Line
History of India-Pakistan Conflict

| 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990-97 | 1998 | 1999 |


Britain divides its colony into India and Pakistan. Pakistan is divided into two sections, East Pakistan and West Pakistan. 500,000 people are killed in subsequent fighting.

India establishes the Atomic Energy Commission to explore for uranium ore.

India begins designing and acquiring equipment for a plutonium reprocessing plant.

U.S. scientists train Indian scientists in reprocessing, handling of plutonium.

  • First plutonium reprocessing plant begins operations at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Trombay, India.
  • China tests its first atomic bomb in October.


  • A U.S.-supplied light water research reactor at the Pakistan Institute of Science and Technology begins operations.
  • The second war between India and Pakistan breaks out. It lasts 22 days.

    India and Pakistan refuse to sign Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty.

  • 1970s
  • Pakistan launches a March attack in the East after an opposition group, aided by India, proclaims the independent nation of Bangladesh.
  • War erupts between India and Pakistan. Pakistani troops surrender in December, ending the war.


  • India tests a device of up to 15 kilotons. It calls the test a "peaceful nuclear explosion."
  • Following India's test, Pakistan's Prime Minister tells a secret meeting of the country's top scientists that Pakistan intends to produce nuclear weapons.

  • 1980s
    China reportedly provides Pakistan with a bomb design.

    Leading Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan says Pakistan has nuclear bomb.

    India tests the Prithvi missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead into Pakistan.

    President Bush imposes sanctions on Pakistan for pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

    India and Pakistan refuse to sign the nuclear test-ban treaty.

    India moves missiles near Pakistani border.

    Indian prime Minister Vajpayee/Reuters
    India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. (Reuters)
    19: India installs a new government dominated by Hindu nationalists.

    11: India sets off nuclear devices.

    13: India conducts a second round of tests.

    13: U.S. imposes economic sanctions against India.

    15: India's premier says the country is capable of making a "big bomb" that would be used to defend the country.

    17: President Clinton issues a fresh appeal to Pakistan to forgo nuclear tests.

    18: An Indian cabinet minister warns Pakistan against trying to boost a separatist Muslim insurgency in Kashmir.

    19: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif charges that India has threatened to attack the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir.

    21: India announces a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons. It claims it is willing to negotiate an agreement on a formal test ban.

    27: India revises its blanket declaration that it would not use nuclear weapons first in any conflict.

    Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif/AFP
    Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)
    28: Accelerating the arms race, Pakistan conducts five underground nuclear tests. President Clinton criticizes the tests and imposes sanctions.

    29: Pakistani officials declare that they would not hesitate to employ nuclear weapons in response to an attack.

    30: Pakistan detonates another nuclear device.

    31: The mastermind of Pakistan's nuclear program defends his role in developing the country's nuclear capability.

    01: A newspaper report quotes a top Pakistani scientist as saying that the country has developed a new medium-range missile for nuclear warheads.

    01: A former Pakistani nuclear weapons engineer warns that his country's top military and intelligence officials discussed plans for a preemptive nuclear strike on New Delhi.

    30: The prime ministers of India and Pakistan agree to a new round of security talks but appear as divided as ever about the disputed territory of Kashmir.

    21: India and Pakistan agree to work to reduce the risk of a nuclear war by exchanging strategic information about their arsenals and giving each other advance notice of ballistic-missile tests.

    26: India launches a series of airstrikes at armed Muslim infiltrators in Kashmir. Indian authorities say Pakistan had helped several hundred of them cross into the territory.

    27: Pakistan's armed forces said they had shot down two Indian fighter jets over the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir, marking a sharp escalation of military tensions between the world's two newest nuclear powers.

    11: One day after accusing the Pakistani army of torturing and executing six Indian soldiers, India said it had tapes of telephone conversations showing that Pakistani army officials are running military operations against Indian forces in the Kashmir.

    18: Indian officials made public a proposed national nuclear arms doctrine under which only the elected prime minister could authorize a nuclear strike and which would allow India to use such weapons only if attacked by another nuclear power.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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