US leading newspaper The New York Times on Thursday (March 7) claimed that “a nuclear exchange” between Pakistan and India was “most likely” and that it was “not North Korea”. The paper in its editorial said a solution to a conflict that touches religious and nationalist nerves must ultimately come from within, through talks among India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. It said tensions have cooled between two countries but their nuclear arsenals mean unthinkable consequences are always possible.
“Last week, India sent warplanes into Pakistan for the first time in five decades. Indian officials said they had struck Jaish-e-Muhammad’s “biggest training camp” and killed a “very large number” of militants, although those claims have been called into doubt. Pakistan counterattacked, leading to a dogfight in which at least one Indian jet was shot down and a pilot was captured by the Pakistanis”, NYT said in its editorial.
“The situation could have easily escalated, given that the two countries have fought three wars over 70 years, maintain a near-constant state of military readiness along their border and have little formal government-to-government dialogue”.
“Adding to the volatility, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is waging a tough re-election campaign in which he has used anti-Pakistan talk to fuel Hindu nationalism”.
“With Pakistan’s Army most likely shaken by the Indian raid and unwilling to slide into protracted conflict, Prime Minister Imran Khan returned the pilot to India, in what was seen as a good-will gesture, called for talks and promised an investigation into the bombing. Mr. Modi took the opportunity to back off further escalation” The next confrontation might not end so calmly.
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