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Heightened tensions between India and Pakistan: Can they risk a nuclear war?

The history of India and Pakistan is quite a complicated relationship. Its always been fragile due to a large amount of historical and political turmoil.  Throw in the fact that they are both nuclear superpowers which share a border and you’ve got a ticking time bomb.  For the most part, though, things have remained relatively stable.  In the past few months, however, tensions have further heightened. As a result, the region has become more and more volatile.

Heightened tensions between India and Pakistan
Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay

Background of Kashmir issue

The Kashmir dispute remains one of the main reasons for all the conflicts occurring over the last 70 years.  It is a territorial conflict over the Kashmir region. The conflict started after the partition of India in 1947 and still hasn’t been solved.

Today, Delhi and Islamabad both control just pieces of it. They call them “Indian-administered Kashmir” and “Pakistan-administered Kashmir”.

What’s Article 370?

Indian-occupied Kashmir has held a special position inside the nation, generally on account of Article 370.

According to Wikipedia, “Article 370 acknowledges the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of autonomy and its ability to formulate laws for the state’s permanent residents.

But unfortunately, on the 5th of August 2019, India removed Article 370 and took back the privileged status given to Kashmir. The Hindu nationalist BJP has long opposed Article 370 and had repeatedly called for its removal.

BJP cut off internet and phone service in the days to the report of the presidential request phone service and the internet were cut off.  Open social events were restricted, and a huge number of troops were sent in. Vacationers were advised to leave Kashmir under alerts of a fear risk.

Indian politician of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti who served as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir tweeted on 5th August;

“Today the people of Jammu & Kashmir who reposed their faith in institutions of India like parliament & Supreme Court feel defeated & betrayed. By dismembering the state & fraudulently taking away what is rightfully & legally ours, they have further complicated the Kashmir dispute”

Pakistan’s reaction to the removal of Article 370

Pakistan strongly condemned India’s action and promised to exercise “all possible actions” to oppose this. As a result, it suspended all exchange. India emphasized that Article 370 was an inner issue as it didn’t meddle with the limits of the territory. Inside Kashmir, opinions of people are diverse. Many don’t need it to be represented by India, favoring either autonomy or association with Pakistan.
Jammu and Kashmir is over 60% Muslim, making it the only state inside India where there is a Muslim majority.

Critics of the BJP fear this move is intended to change the state’s statistic by giving individuals the right to own property and settle there forever.

Ms. Mufti told the BBC:

 “They simply need to involve our property and need to make this Muslim-lion’s share state like some other state and diminish us to a minority and impair us completely.”

 

Sentiments of disappointment have been irritated in Indian-managed Kashmir by high joblessness, and grievances of human rights maltreatment by security powers doing combating road nonconformists and battling radicals.

Previously, India propelled airstrikes in a Pakistani area which it said focused on activist bases.

Pakistan denied the raids had caused major damage or casualties but promised to respond, fuelling fears of confrontation. A day later it said it had shot down two Indian Air Force jets in its airspace, and captured a fighter pilot – who was later returned unharmed to India.

Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan is open to dialogue if India released Jammu and Kashmir leaders and allowed him to meet them. Qureshi also mentioned that Pakistan has never said NO to having a dialogue with India.

He further added,

“We cannot see the environment of dialogue being created by India”.

India’s parliament has now passed a bill parting Indian-managed Kashmir into two domains represented legitimately by Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir, and remote, precipitous Ladakh.

China, which offers a contested fringe with India in Ladakh, has questioned the revamping and blamed Delhi for undermining its regional sway.

Pakistani Prime Minister’s stance

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to challenge India’s activities at the UN security board, and take the issue to the International Criminal Court.

As a warning, he stated:

“If the world does not act today… (on the off chance that) the created world does not maintain its very own laws, at that point things will go to a spot that we won’t be in charge of.”

Rallies were held across Pakistan as their Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the nation to come out of their houses.

In any case, Delhi demands that there is no “outer ramifications” to its choice to revamp the state as it has not changed the Line of Control or limits of the district.

Trump’s stance

US President Donald Trump has offered to intervene in the emergency, an offer that Delhi has rejected.

Trump said while briefing reporters on Tuesday;

“It’s (Kashmir issue) going on for a long period of time. But I get along really well with both of them. As you know, prime minister (Imran) Khan was here just recently. I am going to be with the prime minister (Narendra) Modi over the weekend in France. I think we are helping in the situation. But there is a tremendous problem between those two countries and I will do the best I can to mediate or do something. It’s a complicated situation. A lot has to do with religion,”

Trump said during his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Khan at the White House on July 22;

“If you would want me to mediate or arbitrate [in the Kashmir issue], I would be willing to do that,” 

Can they risk a nuclear war?

India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers, and the disputes between them don’t seem to end. The tensions could ignite a nuclear war between the two nations. In fact, arms control investigators have long identified the subcontinent as one of the world’s likeliest nuclear flashpoints.

But neither India nor Pakistan are in a state to risk nuclear war! India has a ‘no-first-use policy’ for its nuclear weaponry. Recently, India says its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy could change. 

“It’s very explosive right now and I am really concerned it could get worse,” says Atta-ur-Rahman a science adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan.

Over the past twenty years, Pakistan has amassed 150–160 nuclear missiles, to India’s 130–140, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Both countries have advanced nuclear weapons, as well as ballistics research and development programs.

Investigators state that an atomic clash is as yet remote. However, they additionally concur that talk from the two sides joined with the probability of even a little change to India’s no first use policy isn’t safe.

For instance, if India solidifies the adjustment in its no first use approach, Pakistan may accept this as a sign that India could pre-emptively strike at Pakistani atomic establishments, says Narang. Also, that may, thus, brief Pakistan to go through the entirety of its atomic weapons first. “And so, you get this destabilizing dynamic where as soon as the crisis becomes nuclearized, there is an incentive for both sides to go first,” Narang says.

Pakistan tested a ballistic missile despite the heightened tensions between the two nations

Pakistan tested a surface-to-surface ballistic rocket in Rawalpindi with strains between the nation and adversary India still at a high point.

Major Gen. Asif Ghafoor, executive general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations, said the starting of the rocket Ghaznavi was fruitful with complimentary affirmations sent subsequently by Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi.

Pakistan discharged a video via web-based networking media demonstrating the rocket test. Authorities said the rocket can convey an assortment of warheads up to 180 miles.

The rocket test comes after Pakistan minimized its strategic status with India prior this month after the majority Hindu nation finished the extraordinary self-ruling status for Muslim-dominant part Jammu and Kashmir.

Understandings following World War II separated the locale into two independent states with India controlling Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan running Kashmir.

Violence, however, has tormented the area for quite a long time. India says Jammu and Kashmir has been a hotspot for fear-mongering against the nation.

 

Written by Hira Fatima

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