A US intelligence report has warned that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocation. The Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report states that military action is more likely to happen under Modi than ever in the past. The report adds that Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups.
“Each side’s perception of heightened tensions raises the risk of conflict, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints,” the report said.
India and Pakistan haven’t had the best relations ever since independence. The Kashmir issue has always been a thorn in the flesh, with cross-border terrorism adding more fuel to the fire. The US intelligence report says that the issue assumes importance because of the risk of an “escalatory cycle between two nuclear-armed states”.
“New Delhi and Islamabad probably are inclined to reinforce the current calm in their relationship following both sides’ renewal of a ceasefire along the Line of Control in early 2021,” the report added.
The Uri attack on September 18, 2016, worsened relations between the two countries. Four heavily armed terrorists crossed the Line of Control and launched a grenade attack on a temporary fuel depot containing hundreds of litres of petrol, diesel and kerosene. The ensuing fire killed 14 soldiers, while four more were killed by the terrorists as they tried to escape.
India avenged the Uri attack by conducting surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Several terrorists were killed in the strikes besides “those protecting them”.
In 2019, another attack on the Indian Army led to the death of 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying Indian security personnel on the Jammu–Srinagar National Highway. Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack.
(With inputs from agencies)
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