ISLAMABAD: Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary (WB) have heightened tensions between Pakistan and India, but experts believe that there were little chances of increased confrontation escalating out of control.
At a seminar on `India’s Aggressive Posture and Dangers of Escalation’ organized by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) defense and strategic experts analyzed the factors behind India’s aggressive attitude, the skirmishes along the LoC and WB, and the chances of a cascading incident that could trigger full-scale hostilities or a nuclear conflict.
The speakers feared that India would continue with its coercive attitude in an attempt to be more assertive in the region.
Former Defense Secretary Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, speaking at the seminar said: “India is not likely to escalate beyond manageable levels till US presence in the region.”
India, he said, could, meanwhile, further increase its influence in Iran and Afghanistan to add pressure on Pakistan.
The former defense secretary suggested that the government should pursue active diplomacy for improving relations with the United States and the neighbors particularly Iran and Afghanistan; and complete counter terrorism operations in tribal areas.
Dr Adil Sultan, an expert with Strategic Plans Division (SPD), too believed that the present crisis on the LoC and WB may not lead to conventional or nuclear confrontation.
He said increased posturing by India could have been because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi strategy to project himself as India’s strongman.
Dr Sultan said past history of crises between India and Pakistan suggests that nuclear deterrence has worked well.
The SPD expert worried that continued rhetoric could, at some point in future, push Indian Prime Minister Modi into a “commitment trap” that might compel him commit a major mistake.
Dr Zulfiqar Khan, who heads Department of Strategic and Nuclear Studies at the National Defence University, said: “India is postured to a strategy of deliberate escalation as an instrument of foreign and security policy in order to enforce its primacy over the region, in particular over Pakistan.”
Uncertainty in the region and “escalatory contours of their bilateral relationship”, he opined, could hurt rationality and strategic stability.
Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Director School of Politics and International Relations Quaid-e-Azam University, called for engaging India in “a constructive, calculated and vigilant” manner.
He warned that any uncalculated move, based on the whims of a politician, to embrace India would hurt the country’s interests. “When nations pursue the policy of appeasement they end up in trouble,” he added.
He said India’s domestic policies would dictate its geo-strategic policies.
Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema emphasized on resolution of Kashmir issue for normalization of Pak-India ties.
President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema, while opening the discussion, said though there was no immediate threat to Pakistan, but the implications of Modi’s aggressive policy towards our country needed to be studied.
Chairman SVI, Ross Masood Hussain in his concluding remarks said the take away from the seminar was that we would have to put our own house in order to deal with the challenges confronting by the country.