The specter of nuclear war haunts tensions between India and Pakistan and the disputed territory of Kashmir could “provide the spark that lights South Asia’s nuclear fuse”, a US think tank has warned in its report.
The report was published Saturday by Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform based in Austin, Texas. It also disputes the classification of Kashmir issue as India’s internal affair or a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
According to the report, the possibility of the conflict going nuclear has increased after Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement of abandoning India’s “no first use” doctrine.
It says that decades ago, the people of Kashmir were promised a plebiscite that never took place.
The report notes that Pakistan downed an Indian fighter jet and captured its pilot in February, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not acknowledge Islamabad’s return of the pilot as a gesture for peace.
“When Khan returned the Indian pilot on March 1, Modi did not acknowledge his conciliatory gesture,” it said.
“Nor has his government been willing to discuss Kashmir, whose people were promised a plebiscite on their future by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1947.”
The US think tank regretted in its report that the Kashmiri people are not being asked as to what do they want.
“That may be the only way to save them, and the world, from nuclear war,” it concluded.
Tensions between Pakistan and India once again flared up after New Delhi earlier this month controversially revoked the autonomous status of the part of Jammu and Kashmir it controls.
Hours before its move, India curtailed movement and shut down phones and the internet, bringing in tens of thousands of troops to turn the main city of Srinagar into a fortress.
Several Indian and Pakistani soldiers have since been killed in skirmishes along the heavily militarized Line of Control.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947.
They have fought two of their wars over the disputed Himalayan territory.