Pulwama Incident: Impact on India-Pakistan Relations

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Image credit: Dunya News

Syeda Saiqa Bukhari 26 February 2019

On February 14, 2019, a deadly bombing attack happened in Pulwama district, in Indian occupied Kashmir, where 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) personnel were killed, which grabbed the attention of national and international media. This attack took place when a car rammed a bus carrying CRPF soldiers. A militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed the responsibility of the attack. Adil Ahmad a member of JeM, a local Kashmiri, was identified as the attacker.

Pulwama incident raised tensions between the historical rival India and Pakistan, which have fought two major wars, limited conflicts, and Pakistan faced cross border shelling by India along the Line of Control. Historical enmity between two states always cast dark shadow on regional environment in view of peace, security and economic cooperation. Soon after Pulwama incident, India abruptly accused Pakistan for having involved in the attack, which denied by Pakistani officials.

Pakistan responds rationally, offer full cooperation in any investigation in Pulwama attack. Pakistan further said that if evidence find against anyone from Pakistan, will take all necessary actions. Pakistan also warned that it will retaliate if New Delhi takes military action. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said India should ‘stop blaming Pakistan without any evidence’ and urged Indian authorities to share any ‘actionable intelligence’. These statements from Pakistan clearly shows that Pakistan is a responsible and peace loving state, who want to resolve issues on table rather than on battlefield.

But contrary, India not only accused Pakistan but also moved to impose trade restrictions and revoked the MFN status to Pakistan. In order to put pressure on Pakistan, India further said that it will build dams to reduce the flow of water to Pakistan.

DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor said that an incident like Pulwama happens only when there is something important going to happen. He further said that whenever there is an important event in Pakistan or when Pakistan is more stable, some sort of incident is staged in India or Indian Occupied Kashmir. India just wanted to create Pakistan image as a terrorist sponsoring state as Saudi Crown Prince Visit was scheduled after two days of Pulwama incident.

No doubt, India enjoys conventional superiority. India would like to keep its escalation supremacy because it has the conventional capability that is the one reason behind New Delhi claim of initiating a limited military conflict. Last month, India Army Chief General Bipin Rawat stated that Indian military is going to launch war games to test the validated of Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs). IBGs are the center of Indian offensive military doctrine Cold Start. After the acknowledgement of CSD in 2017, it was the first time India shows willingness to prepare them for future warfare through exercises. But initiating a war either limited or total against a declared nuclear weapons sates is a flawed strategy. Secondly, general elections are expected to be held in April and May, through this incident, aggressive stance towards Pakistan can be used as an effective tool to win the favor of people during elections. Furthermore, after BJP government, India adopted more aggressive policies against Pakistan. The ruling Modi government is keen to play the Pakistani card to win the majority in upcoming general elections.

Pakistan always thinks and responds rationally; which discourage Indian leadership from considering war as an option in a nuclear South Asia. Presently, chances of limited war between two states are very low because Pakistan TNWs successfully deterring India from starting an aggression against Pakistan. But intimidation of any conflict either limited or total will lead towards nuclear holocaust.