India, Pakistan tensions mount after Indian cross-border airstrikes

India, Pakistan tensions mount after Indian cross-border airstrikes

The body that oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will convene today to discuss rising tensions with nuclear-armed India. India yesterday launched

tensions india pakistan airstrike

Photo: Indian Express

The body that oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will convene today to discuss rising tensions with nuclear-armed India.

India yesterday launched predawn airstrikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, purportedly targeting the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group that New Delhi says was behind the February 14 Pulwama attack. Indian authorities insist that Pakistan has done little to clamp down on its activities.

India’s foreign ministry reported that the strike killed a “very large number” of militants, while Pakistan says no casualties were reported and that the claims made against Islamabad are “self serving, reckless and fictitious”.

While it’s still too early to tell whether tensions will escalate further, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has suggested that Islamabad would “give a befitting reply”.

It is worth considering the context of New Delhi’s airstrikes. With India less than two months away from an election, Hindu nationalist PM Narendra Modi is under concerted pressure from an economically disaffected rural base. A limited and successful strike against a historic enemy is likely to stir nationalism among these voters at a time Mr Modi needs a boost in the polls—but entering into a prolonged and bloody tit-for-tat skirmish would do the opposite. Therefore, it is likely that the Indian government will seek to contain tensions; whether Pakistan accedes is another question entirely.

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