Dawn News

March, 04 2015

Seven-in-ten Indians and roughly six-in-ten Pakistanis think it is important to improve relations. -File Photo

WASHINGTON: Despite tensions and distrust, majorities in both India and Pakistan want their government to work towards improving bilateral relations, says a new US survey.

The Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, which interviewed thousands of people in both countries, notes: “Indians and Pakistanis see their often fractious relationship in a similarly negative light. But both want their bilateral relations to improve.”

To achieve this target, “majorities in both countries want to see their governments pursue efforts to better cross-border ties,” the report adds.

The face-to-face survey of more than 4,000 people in India was conducted between March 19 and April 19. A similar survey was done in Pakistan earlier this year.

Seven-in-ten Indians and roughly six-in-ten Pakistanis (62 per cent) think it is important to improve relations.

Nearly two-thirds of both Indians and Pakistanis say that increased trade between the two countries would be a good thing. But, while supportive, Indians are less-intensely focused than Pakistanis on resolving the Kashmir dispute.

About six-in-ten Indians (59 per cent) say it is very important to resolve Indo-Pakistani differences over Kashmir, compared with roughly eight-in-ten Pakistanis (79 per cent) who hold such strong sentiments.

Each has nation an unfavourable view of the other, but Pakistani sentiment is more intense: 72 per cent of Pakistanis see India unfavourably, with more than half (55 per cent) viewing their neighbour very unfavourably. And 57 per cent of Pakistanis see India as a very serious threat.

The United States and President Barack Obama: A 58 per cent-majority of urban Indians is favorably disposed toward the United States. They see America in a more favorable light than they view other major world powers, such as Russia (48 per cent) or the EU (38 per cent).

About seven-in-ten city dwellers (71 per cent) who say they are following the US election closely want President Obama to be re-elected.

China: Only a third of urban Indians have a favorable view of China and about half (53 per cent) think China’s growing economy is a bad thing for India.

Only 13 per cent of all Indians have a favourable view of Pakistan; 59 per cent have an unfavourable opinion of their Muslim neighbour. This is the lowest percentage approval of Pakistan among the nine countries where this question was asked.

About six-in-ten Indians (59 per cent) see Pakistan as a very serious threat to India.

Pakistan is viewed as a far greater menace than Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Naxalite Maoist domestic insurgency (which in 2011 was blamed for about 600 deaths) or the security challenge posed by China, which fought a war with India in 1962 and in recent years has periodically massed troops on India’s north-eastern frontier.

Email news tips and feedback to News Desk, submit blogs to Blog Desk and share photos and Videos with Special Projects Desk.

More From This Section

Comments (0) Closed