Rumors Of War: India vs Pakistan


India Weighs Military Strikes In Kashmir After Deadliest Terror Attack In 30 Years

After a relative lull that was punctuated by a handful of small terror attacks and military exercises along the line of control in divided Kashmir in 2018, tensions between South Asia’s two nuclear armed neighbors – India and Pakistan – are escalating once again in the wake of a suicide car bombing that killed 44 Indian paramilitary police officers in the restive border region, the deadliest attack in the three decades of insurgency in Kashmir.
According to the Financial Times, the relationship between the neighboring countries grew increasingly strained over the weekend as India contemplated a military response to the attack, carried out by Pakistani terrorist group Jaish e-Mohammad, a group that India believes has long had at least the tacit support of the Pakistani military.
In a sign that the region could be headed for a reemergence of the tit-for-tat attacks that punctuated the early years of the administration of Indian Prime Minister Nahrendra Modi, India stripped Pakistan of its most favored nation status after the attack, leading to an immediate 200% tariff hike.
Already, Indian military sources told the FT that Modi – who is facing a close election in the coming months, and is likely seeking to burnish his hardline Hindu nationalist credentials – is considering whether to order “stand off” strikes that would involve deploying fighter jets to fire missiles into the Pakistani-controlled side of Kashmir, as Modi has vowed to “avenge every tear” shed after last week’s attack. Analysts have said he will be feeling pressure to push for a military response.
In a series of public speeches while inaugurating a new public works project before upcoming parliamentary elections, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, continued to express fury at last week’s attack. He vowed to “avenge every tear” and said that India’s military had been given a free hand to decide on an appropriate response.
“The fire that is raging in your hearts is in my heart too,” Mr Modi told a huge crowd in Bihar on Sunday. The previous day, Mr Modi declared that “how, when, where and who will punish the killers and their promoters will be decided by our forces, who are capable of dealing with the situation.”
Meanwhile, Pakistani officials have been working with western powers to try and convince them to restrain India. But with the US’s relationship with Pakistan also in a state of deterioration under the Trump administration, it’s unclear exactly how effective those efforts will be. In a tweet sent over the weekend, NSA John Bolton warned that Pakistan “must crack down on JeM and all terrorists operating from its territory.”
New Delhi has accused Pakistan of providing JeM with “full freedom” to operate, and is demanding that the government in Islamabad take immediate and “verifiable” steps to crack down on the group. Pakistan, meanwhile, has denied any responsibility and instead blamed the attack on Indian intelligence lapses.
Analysts have warned that the situation is tense and risks “dangerous escalation”.
It’s worth remembering that, should a military conflict break out between the two neighboring powers, it could quickly escalate to nuclear war. Because while India has pledged never to use its nuclear weapons in a first strike response, Pakistan’s military doctrine states that it wouldn’t hesitate to use tactical nuclear weapons if attacked by India, which enjoys far superior conventional firepower.

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