13% Indians view Pakistan favorable but most back improvement in ties: survey


Only 13 per cent of Indians have a favorable view of Pakistan while most of the people overall say it is important to improve relationship with their neighbor through ways varying in degree and including resolution of Kashmir dispute, improvement in trade and further negotiations, Pew Research found in a recent survey.
The survey, released Monday, also found a large number of Indians having lost faith in their economic fortunes in the face of dwindling economic conditions. A substantial portion of Indians have also lost confidence in a better economic future for their children.
On India’s relations with the rest of the world, especially its neighbors Pakistan, China and Iran, the Pew said these are increasingly important in the realm of geopolitics.
But for many Indians, especially those who live in rural areas, the outside world is simply not part of their daily consciousness. Large portions of the rural population have no definite opinion about other countries, foreign leaders or international policy issues, Pew reported Monday.
City dwellers are more globally aware. A 58%-majority is favorably disposed toward the United States and they see America in a more favorable light than they view other major world powers, such as Russia (48%) or the EU (38%). About seven-in-ten city dwellers (71%) who say they are following the U.S. election closely want U.S. president Barack Obama to be re-elected.
Only a third of urban Indians have a favorable view of China. And those who say that China’s growing economic influence is bad for India are more likely to describe relations between the two countries as hostile.
There is little support among urban Indians for Iran (28%), and about half (52%) oppose Tehran obtaining nuclear weapons. Among those who oppose Iran acquiring nuclear arms, a 62%-majority favors tougher economic sanctions to prevent this possibility, and 69% believe it is important to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal even if that means taking military action.
Pakistan is a neuralgic concern for Indians. Just 13% of all Indians have a positive view of their neighbor. Nevertheless, seven-in-ten overall think it is important to improve relations, including through resolution of the Kashmir dispute (77%), increased trade (64%) and further negotiations (58%).