Indo-Pak ties
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Zeeshan Munir |

On May 2, 2017, Indian army accused Pakistani troops of killing and mutilating two of its soldiers patrolling the Line of Control (LOC). It also vowed to exact revenge on its rival to the west of the de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region.

Just to the east of LOC, lies the picturesque Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1989, there has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against Indian rule, in which more than 94,000 innocent Kashmiris have been killed and thousands more have been injured. The killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016 by Indian forces led to the eruption of widespread protests in the Kashmir valley. This agitation was described as the worst upheaval in the region since the 2010 unrest with Kashmir being under 53 consecutive days of curfew.

Read more: Is Kashmir slipping away from India?

The situation in the occupied valley climaxed on September 18, 2016, when the Indian Army brigade headquarters in Uri was attacked in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed. India was gripped by nationalistic sentiment in the aftermath of Uri attack and the Indian government was pressurized to take action against Pakistan which was accused of harboring the insurgents who carried out the attack. 11 days after the worst attack on Indian forces in decades, India claimed to have conducted a “surgical strike” against suspected militants in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Although, no proof of such strike was provided.

An assessment of military capabilities of India and Pakistan

India was gripped by nationalistic sentiment in the aftermath of Uri attack and the Indian government was pressurized to take action against Pakistan which was accused of harboring the insurgents who carried out the attack.

Since then, India has violated the ceasefire along LOC several times in which tens of soldiers from both sides have been killed. The Modi-led Indian government has adopted an aggressive stance against Pakistan. Moreover, more and more proofs of Indian involvement in Pakistan are surfacing. Confessions of Kulbhuhsan Jadhav and Ehsanullah Ehsan have exposed the level of Indian interference inside Pakistan which has exacerbated the relations between the two states. The Indian stance of isolating Pakistan, its atrocities in Kashmir, the violation of ceasefire agreement along the LOC in addition to its proxy war in Pakistan has increased the chances of military confrontation between the two countries.

An overview of Indo-Pak military capabilities might help determine the winner on the battlefield. According to the 2015 figures provided by globalfirepower.com, India’s military budget is more than $50 billion. It has 1,325,000 active military personnel 6,464 tanks 1,905 aircraft and 15 submarines. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military budget is a mere $7 billion. It has 617,000 active military personnel, 2,924 tanks, 914 aircraft and 8 submarines.

India has violated the ceasefire along LOC several times in which tens of soldiers from both sides have been killed.

These figures can easily make one assume that India enjoys military superiority over Pakistan. However, the Indian military is marred by corruption and internal rivalries. Several months ago, a video went viral in which an Indian BSF soldier, Tej Bahadur Yadav, complained about the poor food and dismal living condition. He, along with 700,000 Indian soldiers and paramilitary in occupied Kashmir, has failed to break the will of Kashmiris who are striving for independence from India.

India is facing active insurgencies and separatist movements in Kashmir in addition to the Seven Sister States: Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. India is also facing Naxalite-Maoist insurgency mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh states.

Read more: Sartaj Aziz Slams India for declining Turkey’s offer to mediate in Kashmir issue

Pakistan, on the other hand, has rapidly modernized its military. It has successfully restored the writ of the state in FATA which once was a haven for terrorists and criminals. Operations in FATA have fine-tuned the military of Pakistan which now possess vast experience in mountain warfare, counter-insurgency, and terrorism operations in addition to the guerrilla warfare.

Both Pakistan and India also possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has so far deterred India from launching any attack against it despite the military standoff in 2001-2002 and 2008. However, the Modi regime seems determined to destabilize Pakistan and has created war hysteria inside India. This haphazard Indian attitude might result in full-fledged war and nuclear exchange between the two states. This war would result in millions of civilian deaths and vast infrastructural destruction.

Millions across the landscape of India especially the rural people and scheduled castes and tribes live well below the poverty line and are the victims of discrimination, exploitation and government negligence.

India has one of the largest number of poor, illiterate, and unemployed people in the world. High infant mortality, morbidity, and widespread anemia continue among women and children. The gap between the haves and have-nots has increased considerably in the past few decades. According to the data provided by World Bank in 2016, 21.25 percent of Indians live at or below the poverty line.

Extremism in India is on the rise. Attacks against minorities in India have increased since PM Modi’s take over in 2014. Saffron terrorists continuously attack Muslims who in their opinion dishonor ‘cows’. Christians, Parses, Sikhs, and Buddhists have also been on the receiving end. Daesh also poses a major threat to India’s internal security.

Read more: How RAW uses ‘Terrorism’ as a tool to pose threat to Pakistan’s viability?

Millions across the landscape of India especially the rural people and scheduled castes and tribes live well below the poverty line and are the victims of discrimination, exploitation and government negligence.

The situation for citizens in Pakistan is not much different as well. Millions in Pakistan are also suffering from poverty, illiteracy, and disease. Corruption, nepotism, terrorism and religious extremism have made life difficult for many across Pakistan.

Jingoism on both sides of the border can prove to be detrimental to the existence and survival of both countries. In the case of any armed conflict, be it limited war or an escalated war, the ultimate victims and losers will be the people of this region regardless of the fact who wins on the battlefield.

Zeeshan Munir is a senior research associate at Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research, Islamabad. He has a deep interest in global affairs and international humanitarian law. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Zeeshan Munir is a Research Analyst and Sub Editor at Global Village Space. He has a penchant for writing on the Middle East and International Humanitarian Law.

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