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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/16/17

India again threatens military action to take Pakistan administered Kashmir

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Indian's Minister of state for home affairs, Hansraj Ahir, said on Thursday (Nov 16) no one can stop India if it wanted to wrest, what he called "Pakistan-occupied" Kashmir, from Pakistan, and stressing that the territory was a part of India.

"I say Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir is a part of India and due to the mistakes of the previous governments it has been with Pakistan. If we try to get PoK back, no one can stop us because it is our right," Press Trust of India quoted Ahir as saying.

He said India would make efforts to get the territory back from Pakistan, PTI reported.

Ahir's comments came a day after Kashmir National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah said Pakistan would not allow India to take that part of Jammu and Kashmir, which is under its control.

Reacting to Ahir's comments, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah asked what was stopping the government from taking back PoK. "I don't understand the 'if we try'. What is stopping you from getting it back? Prove Dr Abdullah wrong with your actions rather than with hollowed out words," Omar posted on Twitter.

Indian threats not unusual

This is not the first time India has threatened to capture Pakistan controlled Kashmir by force. A few years back Indian Defense Minister also threatened to seize Pakistan controlled Kashmir by force. However, many observers believe that it was not practical for nuclear-armed India to implement its Cold Start and launch any military operation against nuclear-Pakistan.

Cold Start is the Indian operational plan for rapidly mobilizing infantry and armor to launch lightning strikes across the plains and deserts of Pakistan. The aim is to break into Pakistan before its defensive formations can prepare and occupy defensive positions along the border.

Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, in January 2017, became the first senior official to publicly confirm the existence of India's so-called Cold Start doctrine.

Indian policymakers and officials have always downplayed Cold Start, partly because it may prompt Pakistan's army into relocating defensive formations close to the Indian border, and into developing "tactical nuclear weapons" (TNWs) -- small-yield, nuclear bombs, delivered by short-range ballistic missiles like the Nasr (Hatf-IX) -- to halt a Cold Start strike.

According to David Woof of the Huffington Post, Pakistan already is a major nuclear weapons power with well over 100 warheads and the missiles to carry them. And it is racing to expand its arsenal of short-range tactical weapons meant as a deterrent against India, its larger and more powerful neighbor, and its blood enemy. India is thought to have around 100 nuclear warheads of its own. (North Korea is estimated to possess enough fissile material to make several warheads.)

But it's not the numbers of weapons between India and Pakistan that most worry analysts and diplomats. It's the instability of their nuclear stand-off and the possibility that an accident, a miscalculation or a terrorist attack could ignite a catastrophic nuclear war, David Wood said adding:

"Bitter and distrustful, the two countries have fought four wars since 1947 and skirmished in numerous border clashes that continue to this day. Analysts now warn of a growing risk that another border clash could swiftly escalate into a nuclear crisis. The pressure in the region to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons has been intensified by India's adoption of Cold Start. In response, Pakistan has deployed short-range Nasr missiles to its own border region, which can carry nuclear warheads and hit targets about 35 miles away. There are some reports that the country is developing nuclear artillery shells and land mines as well. If war were to break out, Pakistan would have to use these weapons quickly, before their locations are overrun by Indian troops."

Congressional Research Service Report

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan, a report by Congressional Research Service (CRS) said adding: "but Islamabad's expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called "full spectrum deterrence" have led some observers to express concern about an increased risk of nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India, which also continues to expand its nuclear arsenal."

The Congressional report titled "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons" was released on January 14, 2016. It is written by Nonproliferation experts Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin. Congressional Research Service (CRS) is the research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports by eminent experts on a wide range of issues so as to help lawmakers make informed decisions.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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