Tensions between Pakistan and India could break into an all-out war as the Indian Army vows to get revenge for Pakistan allegedly killing two of its soldiers along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
The incident, which Pakistanis strongly say was not their fault, took place on Monday. A ceasefire between the two historical enemies is once again on thin ice as tensions on the border could, within the next 24 hours, wipe out all ceasefire agreements previously hammered out by New Delhi and Islamabad.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who arrived in India on Sunday for a two-day visit despite worsening Turkey-Indian relations, called on New Delhi to urgently hold talks with Islamabad to resolve the long-standing Kashmir dispute. But now the alleged killing of two Indian soldiers along the LoC brings the two adversaries closer to resolving the Kashmir dispute militarily rather than diplomatically.
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India promises to retaliate for attack: India and Pakistan going to war?
India’s media made headlines early Monday morning, accusing Pakistan of setting up an ambush more than 250 meters deep inside the Indian territory and mutilating the bodies of two Indian soldiers.
According to reports citing an unnamed Indian official, a group of Pakistani special forces (Border Action Team) set up the ambush to carry out the surprise attack against “7-8 members” of the Indian army. As the Indian soldiers ran for cover, two of were left behind, and Pakistanis killed and later beheaded them, according to the reports. However, Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) dismissed those reports as “false” within hours of them surfacing on the Internet.
Pakistan Army is highly professional force and will never disrespect a soldier.
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) May 1, 2017
Pakistan Army did not commit any ceasefire violation on LoC as alleged by India. Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers is also false.
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) May 1, 2017
The Indian army sources claim the incident was accompanied by firing of rockets and mortar bombs from the Pakistanis. It took place along the LoC in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir – one of the most volatile areas of the de facto border between Pakistan and India.
The Indian army’s Northern Command called the incident an “despicable act of Pakistan Army” and vowed to “appropriately respond,” while Union Minister Arun Jaitley described the alleged killing of two Indian soldiers as “reprehensible and inhuman,” adding that such acts “do not take place even during war.”
Pakistan and India on the verge of war
Pakistan and India are once again on the verge of war after a relatively calm few months along the LoC, which became at the center of the media’s attention in September when four heavily-armed terrorists (India suspects they were sent by Pakistan) carried out a terrorist attack near the town of Uri in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. As a result of the attack, 19 Indian soldiers died, elevating tensions between the two adversaries to a new point.
While it’s unclear how the Indian army will retaliate for the alleged attack and violation of ceasefire agreements, it’s not the first time Pakistan’s BAT has been accused of killing Indian soldiers on the border. In October several weeks after the Uri attack, India accused the Pakistani special forces of killing an Indian soldier in the Machil sector and mutilating his body.
Turkish President urges to settle Kashmir dispute “once and for all”
As tensions are rising in the 70-year-long Kashmir dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi, world leaders are urging the two nations to resolve their differences and prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
As world leaders no longer rule out the possibility of an all-out military confrontation between India and Pakistan. with China likely coming to Islamabad’s rescue in order to protect their multi-billion dollar CPEC project, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged New Delhi and Islamabad to “build bridges, strengthen dialogue between different stakeholders” to resolve the long-standing Kashmir dispute “once and for all.”
His comments came just hours before Monday’s alleged attack against the Indian Army soldiers. Erdogan, who has been a vocal supporter of the Pakistani position in the Kashmir dispute, even offered to mediate the dispute during his two-day trip to India, which marked his first visit to India in the capacity of Turkish president. By contrast, Erdogan has made seven visits to Pakistan over the years of his presidency.
Pakistan vs. India war: China to help Pak, but Russia…?
However, diplomatic talks – with or without Turkey’s participation – are out of the question following the Monday attack, at least until things settle down between India and Pakistan.
The deadly attack comes just several weeks after the Indian Air Force chief asked air force commanders to be in a state of combat readiness for a 10-day war with Pakistan and a 15-day military confrontation with China, Pakistan’s biggest ally in the region.
As war tensions between India and Pakistan show no sign of going away, many political experts are trying to predict China’s role in a possible military conflict involving Pakistani and Indian forces. While Beijing and New Delhi have never been particularly close, their relations were shattered in 2015 when China announced the lucrative joint project with Pakistan, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is set to improve connectivity in the region and significantly boost Pakistan’s role both in the region and in the international sphere.
India’s worries stem from its beliefs that China will use CPEC to protect Pakistan from any foreign hostilities, and thus could be of great help for Islamabad to win the Kashmir dispute. Amid a heated exchange of hostile gestures between Islamabad and New Delhi in recent years, much has changed for both Pakistan and India in terms of their foreign alliances.
While Pakistan has gained a powerful ally in the face of China and is seemingly an ally of Russia now, Pakistanis are losing the support of the U.S., its decades-long ally. India, meanwhile, is losing arguably its biggest ally in the face of Russia after New Delhi sought closer ties to the U.S. though the India-U.S. partnership remains rather fragile at the moment.
With such fundamental changes in alliances in South Asia in recent years, what would a Pakistan vs. India war look like? Would Russia and China come to Pakistan’s rescue? If so, who would be there to lend a helping hand to India if it has seemingly lost support from Russia, its biggest military partner, in recent years?