Washington: India and Pakistan may stumble into a large-scale war in the coming years, warns a US intelligence report while exploring the possibilities of miscalculations leading to a war in South Asia.
The assessment is included in a Global Trends report produced every four years by the US government’s National Intelligence Council, released in Washington. The report, released on Wednesday, focuses on both immediate and distant futures and is designed to help policymakers anticipate the forces likely to shape the world in the next five to 20 years.
In its report, the US intelligence community said the expanded military posture by both India and China along the disputed border elevates the risk of armed confrontation between the two nuclear powers that might involve direct threats to US persons and interests and calls for America’s intervention.
The ties between India and China will “remain strained” in the wake of the “lethal clash” in 2020, the US intelligence community has told lawmakers as it also expressed concerns over any potential crisis between India and Pakistan.
India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for the overall development of the bilateral ties. But both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry after the Ladakh standoff.
“India and Pakistan may resort to a long-time war neither side wants, especially following a terrorist attack that the Indian government judges to be significant,” warns the report.
The ability of some militant outfits to conduct attacks, New Delhi’s resolve to retaliate against Islamabad after such an attack, and Islamabad’s determination to defend itself “are likely to persist and may increase” in the next five years, the report adds.
“Miscalculation by both governments could prompt a breakdown in the deterrence that has restricted conflict to levels each side judges it can manage.”
The report warns policymakers in Washington that “a full-scale war could inflict damage that would have economic and political consequences for years.”
“Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups; under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations, and each side’s perception of heightened tensions raises the risk of conflict, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India bPuneg potential flashpoints,” it said.
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