India and Pakistan have been drawn into border clashes after terrorist attacks killed Indian soldiers in their barracks. The Free Beacon reports:
When two large, powerful countries, each with well over 100 nuclear warheads, share a border of about 2,000 miles and have a deeply hostile relationship, the situation is inherently dangerous. The danger is not so much that conflict can break out at any time, but rather that the scale and intensity of such conflict could be catastrophic. So when tensions really boil, and each country launches military strikes against the other, there can come a tipping point at which leaders must work to deescalate the crisis, or the fighting will intensify and head toward the abyss, with a destructive war in sight. The current crisis between India and Pakistan is at that tipping point.
The crisis began with a terrorist attack. On Feb. 14, a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle with explosives into a convoy carrying paramilitary forces in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jaish-e-Mohammed, or JeM, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization based in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the car bombing, which killed more than 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel. Indian authorities immediately blamed Pakistan for the attack and promised to retaliate. Pakistan denied any role in the bombing, despite supporting JeM for years.
Less than two weeks later, on Tuesday, the Indian Air Force launched strikes in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The Indian government said it targeted a JeM training camp and killed several terrorists. “Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose,” Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said. “In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.”
Gokhale emphasized that the operation did not target the Pakistani military, describing it as a “non-military preemptive action.”
Tensions are high, but India and Pakistan have successfully forged peace after the 1999 Kashmir War. Will they be able to do it again, or will the local conflict escalate to a global or even nuclear one?