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India, Pakistan on the brink of ‘war’

India and Pakistan are dangerously slipping towards war. The unprecedented troop movement and evacuation of border villages on both sides of the LOC and international border in Jammu and Kashmir coupled with jingoist cries by the media and political circles make a complete recipe for war between the two sub-continental nuclear powers. The fears of war are felt not just local but international community too. Donald Trump, the US president, on Friday, termed the Indo-Pak situation “very, very dangerous’. At ground zero, a furious wave of horror and terror has gripped the people across the valley amid varying rumours from war to military crackdown. The unprecedented security arrangements by the government and the arrival and deployment of additional 100 companies of the paramilitary CRPF has only but buttressed the peoples’ fears. The medical and food emergency declared by the divisional administration has confounded the situation more. Police and other security agencies have been put on highest ever alert.

Reports are also making rounds that curfew across the valley would be imposed from Monday. Around 200 political and religious activists of various organizations have been arrested with more arrests in the offing. Since the state administration has maintained a discreet silence over the state of emergency the valley is going through, many people interpret it as a psychological operation aimed at scaring the people. Rumours of undoing the Article 35-A of Indian constitutions that safeguards the state subjects rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is stated another reason for the unprecedented security measures. A plea against the continuation of 35-A is in the Supreme Court of India, and it is likely to be listed for hearing this week. An irate campaign for repealing 35-A and Article 370 that accords Jammu and Kashmir special status is currently going on in the media and political circles. As the people are preparing for the worst, reports of a massive military crackdown to flush out militants is also not ruled out.

After the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy on Srinagar-Jammu highway on February 14 which killed over 40 men of the force, a wave of anger has swept the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under severe public and media pressure to act “take revenge of the CRPF men killings”. Modi and his party is facing general election in next two months. That has more it all the more a political necessity for him to go by public mood. He, on his part, has made a public commitment that Pakistan would be made to pay for it.  Prime Minister said that he has given free hand to army to deal with militants. The possibility of war with Pakistan is seen in this context. Pakistan has come out with strong warnings of “surprise” retaliation in case war was imposed on it. Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan would not think of retaliation but would retaliate with a warning that “nobody knows what shape it would take”.

Pakistan army said that its response to any Indian attack would be a “surprise”.  This is a complete recipe for self-destruction for both India and Pakistan. Both the countries are nuclear powers. Any sort of armed confrontation could not be expected to remain limited. It is imperative for the leadership on both sides to rise above petty domestic political considerations and think of the betterment of the people as a whole. It is an undeniable fact that India and Pakistan are plagued with some serious problems, and Kashmir being the chief among them. Knowing fully that it could have disastrous effects not only for the region but also for the whole world, yet talking in terms of war depicts either extreme kind of arrogance or imprudence. Both the countries have fought three wars. Had the war been a solution the issue should have been resolved since. It needs a sincere, consistent and comprehensive dialogue to resolve the issue. Instead of barking on war, both the countries need to concentrate on resolving the issues through peaceful means and negotiations.