New Delhi: After 70 years since partition, and after decades of hostility, relations between India and Pakistan remain strained at best - a fact reflected by how Indians see their neighbours to the west. A recent study showed that 72 per cent have an 'unfavourable' opinion about Pakistan.
While the sample size of the study conducted by Washington-based Pew Research Centre may be microscopic at 2,464 respondents, it revealed that Indians may have grown more negative in their outlook towards Pakistan. People with 'very unfavourable' opinion has risen to 64 per cent from 54 per cent in 2013 and 49 per cent in 2014 when the same study was conducted. It was also concluded that people in north India - especially those living in states close to the border with Pakistan - view Pakistan more unfavourably than fellow countrymen elsewhere.
While the dislike is spread almost evenly among people who follow BJP and Congress - 70 per cent and 63 per cent respectively, only a marginal 10 per cent have a favourable opinion. The report also said that while 88 per cent see PM Narendra Modi favourably in general, only 21 per cent agree with his handling of Pakistan.
The study sought to ascertain Indians' opinion on a range of subjects including Pakistan and handling of the Kashmir dispute. While six in ten Indians (62 per cent) regard Kashmir as a very big problem, it is marginally lesser than the 68 per cent figure in the 2015 study. However, 63 per cent of respondents also said they were in favour of stronger military action in the state.