For more than five decades, the strategic situation in the South Asian region continues to be dominated by the strained India-Pakistan relationship. While the intensity of the tensions between the two neighbours has varied, the current decade has witnessed escalation in tension levels, increasing mistrust and inability to communicate between the two nations.
Recently, General Joseph L Votel, Commander US Central Command, in his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, raised concerns about the tensions between the two countries.
He said: “India remains concerned about the lack of action against India-focused militants based in Pakistan and even responded militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this year. We assess that these types of attacks and the potential reactions, increase the likelihood for miscalculation by both countries.”
Commenting on India’s stance on Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation, General Joseph said: “India’s public policy to ‘diplomatically isolate’ Pakistan hinders any prospects for improved relations. This is especially troubling as a significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that both are nuclear powers.”
General Joseph’s statement caught ample media attention which was not unexpected. No doubt, the situation in the region is risky with two nuclear states sharing a hostile relationship. The question here is: Is New Delhi expected to absorb continued terror attacks without any response?
The writer is a senior fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.