Under the terms of Indira Gandhi (1966-77 and 1980-84) and her successor son Rajiv (1984-89), the prime minister was particularly strong and weaker at the time of the coalition government. It is difficult for observers to determine whether the place of decision-making power on a particular issue belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister`s Office or the Prime Minister himself.  Some aspects of India`s relations within the subcontinent are achieved through the South Asian Regional Cooperation Association (SAARC). In addition to India, its members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Established in 1985, ASARC promotes cooperation in agriculture, rural development, science and technology, culture, health, population control, drug control and the fight against terrorism. In 1998, India conducted the Pokhran II nuclear tests, followed by the Pakistani Chagai I tests. After Lahore`s declaration in February 1999, relations briefly improved. However, a few months later, Pakistani paramilitary forces and the Pakistani army entered the Kargil district of Indian Kashmir in large numbers. This sparked the Kargil war after India enlisted thousands of troops to successfully flush out the infiltrants.
Although the conflict did not result in a broad war between India and Pakistan, relations between the two have reached a historically low level, which deteriorated further after Pakistani terrorists were involved in the kidnapping of Indian Airlines814 in December 1999. Attempts to normalize relations, such as the Agra Summit in July 2001, have failed. An attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, accused in Pakistan, which had condemned the attack, caused a military stalemate between the two countries, which lasted nearly a year and fuelled fears of a nuclear war. However, a peace process initiated in 2003 improved relations in subsequent years. It is important to note that India views free trade agreements as an important instrument for improving trade and investment and has signed a number of trade agreements with different countries or groups. India is one of the most advanced countries in Asia, with the maximum number of free trade agreements under way or under negotiation or proposed. According to the Asian Development Institute, India has currently in force, signed or negotiated 42 trade agreements (including preferential agreements). Thirteen of them are in force, one is signed but has not yet been implemented, 16 are being negotiated and 12 are proposed/in consultation or under study. Most of the free trade agreements in force in India are with Asian countries that are very different in terms of the level of their economic development.