It is back to flare-up on the border. This time, it has again become more violent than the normal skirmishes. On Sunday morning, Pakistan killed two Indian soldiers. In retaliation, New Delhi said it destroyed several militant camps in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. This, in turn, has triggered more clashes. There seems no end to the cross-border firing in the foreseeable future. The LoC will keep erupting every now and then. But therein also lies the danger. Left unattended, there is every chance that the situation can go out of hand. One more major militant attack in Kashmir or elsewhere in the country followed by surgical strike or a Balakot-like operation in PaK or Pakistan can push things over the cliff. In February, the two countries almost went to a war following the Pulwama attack which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel. And given the state of relations between the neighbours and the deteriorating situation in Kashmir following the revocation of Article 370, there is every possibility of recurrence of a similar sequence of events. And should this happen, it may not be as easy to prevent the outbreak of all-out hostilities. More so, when with the downgrading of their diplomatic relationship, there will no option to engage to defuse a volatile situation. It is a frightening state of affairs between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
This is why there is an urgent need to pull back from the brink. But there’s little hope that this will happen in near future. The reason for this is that the relationship between the two countries has become politicised in both countries to an extent that an engagement will not be politically advantageous to the ruling parties. At the same time, leaving the relationship unattended in its current fraught form will not be helpful to the peace. Any major violent incident in Kashmir or any other part of India is likely to bring the neighbours face to face again.There’s thus much that is at stake if the leadership of the two countries doesn’t take concrete steps to reduce the current tension. They owe it to their people to do so. More so, when the two countries are home to significant number of poor in the world. Electoral use of the bilateral animosity is the biggest disservice to the peoples of the two countries. For it perpetuates the vicious cycle by making brinkmanship in the relationship electorally lucrative.
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