US Intel Report: 'India, Pak May Stumble Into Large-scale War'

Wagah Border- File Pic

Srinagar: In a sensational disclosure, a United States intelligence report has warned about the possibility of an unintentional large-scale war between India and Pakistan though none of the two nuclear countries would want so.

“India and Pakistan may stumble into a large-scale war neither side wants, especially following a terrorist attack that the Indian government judges to be significant,” says the Global Trends report, which is produced every four years by the US government's National Intelligence Council.

The report was released in Washington on Wednesday and takes a longer-term, strategic look, trying to peer 20 years ahead to examine how current changes could transform the world of the future.

A similar report was released by the Obama administration in 2017, highlighting the risk of a pandemic and the vast economic disruption it could cause — a prescient prediction in hindsight.

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 says, adding “Miscalculation by both governments could prompt a breakdown in the deterrence that has restricted conflict to levels each side judges it can manage.”

The US intel report also warns policymakers in Washington that “a full-scale war could inflict damage that would have economic and political consequences for years.”

The report also underlines a list of uncertainties in south Asia vis-a-vis the US policy in Afghanistan and its impact on the neighbouring countries.

“US actions in Afghanistan during the next year will have significant consequences across the region, particularly in Pakistan and India,” reads the report.

This would be “especially true” if a security vacuum emerges in Afghanistan that results in a civil war between the Taliban and its Afghan opponents, expanded freedom of manoeuvre for regional militant networks, or criminals and refugees flowing out of the country, it adds.

The report also hints that any outcome in Afghanistan would fuel political tensions and conflict in western Pakistan and sharpen the India-Pakistan rivalry by strengthening longstanding judgments about covert warfare in Islamabad and New Delhi.

“An abrupt US exit probably would also amplify concerns that the United States will lose interest in South Asia generally,” the report says.

The report also opines about the possible India, China conflict, if the armies of the two countries challenge each other on a critical part of the contested border.

The report puts the prospects for increased regional trade or energy cooperation in South Asia during the next five years as low, “due in part to the high probability of ongoing hostility between India and Pakistan". Trade within South Asia is already the lowest of any region in the world.

The US intelligence community estimates that India and China may also slip into a conflict that neither government intends, “especially if military forces escalate a conflict quickly to challenge each other on a critical part of the contested border”.

In June 2020, a short military exchange resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers, exacerbated the strategic rivalry between Beijing and New Delhi and sharply affected international perceptions of both countries.

The report puts the prospects for increased regional trade or energy cooperation in South Asia during the next five years as low, “due in part to the high probability of ongoing hostility between India and Pakistan". Trade within South Asia is already the lowest of any region in the world.

The report has also made assessment that Pakistan could face absolute water scarcity by 2025, given a combination of poor water conservation practices, rising temperatures, and decreased rainfall. Besides, it also points out that security threats have “undergirded popular support” for nationalist leaders, and these threats are likely to continue or worsen in some cases. For example, “military tensions between India and Pakistan are at their most contentious in many years, strengthening leaders in both capitals.”

The US intelligence community has also pointed out that in 2019, India “led the world in Internet shutdowns by a wide margin” — with several months-long crackdowns to suppress protests, including in Kashmir.

Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.

ACT NOW
MONTHLYRs 100
YEARLYRs 1000
LIFETIMERs 10000

CLICK FOR DETAILS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

KO SUPPLEMENTS