Things have been tense in the disputed Kashmir region for decades, but the heat was turned up from simmering to boiling after India revoked the special status of its part of the region. The problem is that Pakistan and India both have nuclear weapons, as does China, which has expressed discontent with India’s virtual annexation of the part it controls. When it comes to the Kashmir dispute, will Pakistan and India trigger World War 3?
Both Pakistan and India are prepared for war over the Kashmir dispute now. India deployed thousands of troops to its part of the region just before announcing that its special semiautonomous status had been revoked earlier this month. Since then, Pakistan has vowed a strong response in support of the Kashmiri people.
Just this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told The New York Times in an interview that “there is no point in talking” to Indian officials. He said he has repeatedly called for bilateral talks, both before and after Kashmir’s special status was revoked. However, he believes New Delhi thought all his efforts for “peace and dialogue” were nothing more than “appeasement.”
“There is nothing more that we can do,” he declared.
Although there was no response from New Delhi on what Khan said, India’s ambassador to the U.S., Harsh Vardhan Shringla, told The New York Times that “every time we have taken an initiative toward peace, it has turned out badly for us.”
“We expect Pakistan to take credible, irreversible and verifiable action against terrorism.”
He also rejects Islamabad’s claims about the severity of New Delhi’s actions in Kashmir, adding that they are gradually easing restrictions and getting things back to normal.
About the ongoing communications blackout, he said “Some restrictions on communication are in the best interests of the safety and security of the citizenry.”
However, the reports that have been coming out of Kashmir suggest that security checkpoints make it difficult for residents to even reach hospitals. Although Shringla said they should have plenty of food, the Times reports that food and medical supplies ran short not long after Kashmir’s special status was removed early this month.
Khan has compared New Delhi’s recent actions to those of Nazi Germany, arguing that genocide is just around the corner for Kashmir. The region is India’s only Muslim-majority area as the rest of the country is largely Hindu. Eventually, the world came to the aid of the Jews during World War II, so some may now be questioning whether World War 3 could be sparked by a new round of genocide, this time targeted at Muslims.
When it comes to the Kashmir dispute, Pakistan and India have not seen eye to eye since the end of British rule and the partition. United Nations officials have called for restraint and urged a solution to the dispute but have so far stayed out of relations between the two countries. One official cited an agreement which states that Pakistan and India must reach an agreement bilaterally.
According to NBC News, at least 2,300 people have been detained in India-controlled Kashmir. Additionally, Al Jazeera reports that the first fatalities following India’s revocation of Kashmir’s special status have occurred. Police say rebels fired a grenade at them, wounding two officers, and they killed one rebel in response. However, the ongoing communications blackout is still making it difficult for reports to get out of Kashmir. Pakistan also said three people died in its part of Kashmir because India has been firing across the Line of Control. Overall, the number of reports about violence seem to be picking up.
For now, Pakistan is having trouble rallying support for its side of the Kashmir dispute, according to Axios. Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Asad Majeed Khan called for a global pushback against India on behalf of the Kashmiris. However, an expert told Axios that Pakistan has an “image problem” and has been accused of supporting militants in Kashmir. Additionally, many countries may put their own relations with India ahead of other concerns, at least for now. France 24 reports that French President Emmanuel Macron could even offer India more of its Rafale fighter jets due to their strong trade relations.
For now, much of the world is waiting to see what will happen next in the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan and India are trying to draw support for their sides. China has sided with Pakistan, but the rest of the world appears to be reserving judgement. If World War 3 does result from the Kashmir dispute, it will be a long time coming, and it’s impossible to predict that right now.