I’ve posted this on a few other major forums so I’m sure it isn’t too controversial for this forum.
I’m a westernized (a k.a born and bred in a western country) Indian and I’ve grown up using the term “Indian” to refer to mainly people from South Asia but never Pakistanis. I always thought it was westerners getting confused due to the empires that stretched into the Middle East.
I consider Pakistanis to be Middle Easterners, racially and culturally closer to countries like Iran than to South Asia.
Their biological race is more Middle Eastern. While a few North Indians exist in Pakistan (and vice versa, many Arabs exist in South Asia), most Pakistanis are racially closer to Afghanis and Iranians. Genetically they are different to most other South Asians.
Their culture is very Middle Eastern too and even their language is written in Persian. The few UNIQUE cultural similarities came from foriegn empires like the Mongol Empire and British Empire.
Their economy is very closely tied with the Middle East too. Considering the size of the two countries, trade is underwhelming compared to India’s other trading partners.
Geographically, the Middle East can be easily stretched to Pakistan, and several newer maps actually show Pakistan as part of the Middle East (and not South Asia).