The Pulwama incident, believing Pakistani involvement in it, gave an excuse to India to initiate aggressive actions against Pakistan without investigating the incident. After the incident, India launched airstrikes on Pakistan on February 26, violated LoC but failed to fulfill their mission due to quick response by Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
India did not expect quick retaliatory reaction from Pakistani side which make them nervous and hastily released their payload, near Balakot and escaped. Balakot which is situated in Pakistani administered Kashmir, 190 km away from Islamabad, and 4 to 5 km from LoC. This type of violation from Indian side on LoC was happened for the first time after Shimla agreement in 1972. This incident escalates the tensions between two historical rival and nuclear powers India and Pakistan.
Again on February 27, India aircraft Mig 21 crossed LoC, which was shoot down by PAF as a defensive response. This was a rational response to an interruption by India into Pakistan airspace. The Mig-21 Bison fighter is highly upgraded version aircraft but the loss of Mig-21 showed Indian aging military technology. Furthermore, Pakistan captured one of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, later released as a peace gesture proved that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state. But India on the other hand did not behave as responsible state and continue its aggression on LoC. Indeed, such ongoing military clashes between India and Pakistan will further intensify the crisis.
Modi’s government wants to use Pakistani card to win the support of people in upcoming general elections. Consequently, Indian political leaders are trying to escalate the tensions between India and Pakistan as high as possible, while Pakistani leadership acts rationally to deescalate the tension. Pakistan as a sensible state always prefers peaceful solution of crisis through dialogue rather than war. Pakistan released Indian pilot, showing intension not to escalate the conflict but Indian side is averse to appreciate it. Indian aggression towards Pakistan not only limited to the aerial violation of the LoC but on March 4, Indian submarine tried to enter Pakistani water which was successfully thwarted by Pakistan naval force. Quick and timely action from Pakistan Naval side shows that Pakistan is not only capable to defend its motherland from Indian land and air force but from naval side as well.
Instead of restraining the conflict, India aggressive leader Modi further escalating of tension for increasing his popularity and to cover his 8.9 billion dollar corruption in Rafale fighter planes deal with France. It is due to the internal interest of Modi, which pushed both the state on brink of war. There is a clear cut division within India, one group is in favor of crisis escalation and other is in favor of de-escalation. Indian government behavior, clarify to international community that India who consider itself as a democratic state is actually a crisis enhancer state.
Recent move from India to returns key diplomat to Pakistan was a positive step, aimed at easing tensions between two nuclear hostile states. But on the same time, India is in process to enhance its capability by signing intergovernmental agreement with Russia for a 10 years lease of a Russian nuclear powered attack submarine and also tested indigenously developed Pinaka guided rocket system. These developments in the time of crisis situation did not support the Indian desire for de-escalation of the conflict.
Contrarily, Pakistan always acts rationally to resolve the crisis but Indian leaders always give more preference to their personal gains rather than mutual gains. India claim to operationalize its offensive military doctrine Cold Start, spending huge budget on it military and world largest arms buyer according to SIPRI report but use of Mig-21 aircraft against Pakistan clears the picture that India did not have the capacity to practically utilize its advanced technology on time. It will take more time to launch swift military actions against Pakistan. This ongoing tension also clarifies that Pakistan nuclear weapons effectively deterring India to cross International border. Though the Pakistani leadership is trying to avoid war, yet the defence forces are on high alert to meet any misadventure from Indian side. International community also trying and force both the sides to deescalate the tension and resolve their issues peacefully.
*Syeda Saiqa Bukhari is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute.