The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars – in 1947-48 and 1965 – over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 – in which India capitalized on Islamabad’s marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics – resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002.
Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north.
Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north.
The telecom infrastructure is improving dramatically with foreign and domestic investments into fixed-line and mobile networks; mobile cellular subscribership has skyrocketed, approaching 50 million in late 2006, up from only about 300,000 in 2000; fiber systems are being constructed throughout the country to aid in network growth; main line availability has risen only marginally over the same period and there are still difficulties getting main line service to rural areas. domestic: microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, cellular, and satellite networks.
Airports – with paved runways
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 21
1,524 to 2,437 m: 33
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 8 (2006)
total: 8,163 km
broad gauge: 7,718 km 1.676-m gauge (293 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 445 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)
total: 258,340 km
paved: 167,146 km (including 711 km of expressways)
unpaved: 91,194 km (2004)