It all started in 1947, when British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan. The two newly independent states could not agree on how to divide disputed territories. Both countries were especially bitter about Kashmir, the region that still does not clearly belong to any side. Since their separation India and Pakistan have fought in three major wars and in the present time they keep showing mutual signs of animosity.
Perhaps animosity is a mild word to describe what is going on between these neighboring countries. While banning Pakistan from playing at Kabbaddi competition in India is unlikely to cause a war, actions such as the killing of 17 Indian soldiers in Kashmir surely do display and perpetuate violence. This deadly strike happened on Sept 18 when an Indian army base in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir was attacked by unknown terrorists. India immediately blamed Pakistan and India’s Home Affairs Minister, Rajnath Singh, was quick to call Pakistan a terrorist state.
According to The Guardian, in response to the attack the Indian army launched multiple nighttime raids to prevent militants from crossing the border from Pakistan to India, in the process killing two Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan refused any affiliation with the Kashmir attack and promised to destroy India with nuclear bombs if India launches a war against Pakistan.
Later in September, The New York Times cited Hillary Clinton’s quotes from a leaked audio-recording. Clinton described why Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons can bring disastrous consequences. She said:
“Pakistan is running full speed to develop tactical nukes in their continuing hostility with India. But we live in fear that they’re going to have a coup, that jihadists are going to take over the government, they’re going to get access to nuclear weapons, and you’ll have suicide nuclear bombers. So, this could not be a more threatening scenario.”
How did Pakistan even become such a nuclear threat? The U.S. has been pointing at China, accusing it of selling nuclear weapons to Pakistan. In 2009, The Washington Post stated that the U.S. knew about the Uranium transfer from China to Pakistan and tried to confront China about its support of nuclear proliferation multiple times. In 2015 The Washington Post issued another article about Pakistan’s growing nuclear power. Again, the U.S. “expressed concern” over Chinese involvement, but there are still no official sanctions against China.
Following the Kashmir attack, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Lu Kang, expressed condolences to India at his press conference. However, unlike Indian politicians, Lu Kang does not claim Pakistan and terrorism to be the same thing. Although he does not openly support Pakistan, he does not blame it for the attack either, and instead calls for a negotiation between the two countries in order to fight their common enemy.
In his statement, he said, “China firmly opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism. We are concerned about such rising temperatures surrounding the Kashmir region, and hope that all relevant parties can resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, enhance counter-terrorism cooperation and jointly maintain peace and security of the region.”
While the West considers China to be a Pakistani ally, Russia is known to be friends with India. As such, it is surprising that after the Kashmir attack Russian soldiers were sent to Pakistan for military training. Russian ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, reassured India that the anti-terrorism training did not change Russia’s stance on Kashmir. According to CNN News18, Kadakin also noted that Russia was the only country that straightforwardly stated that terrorists were from Pakistan.
The Indian/Pakistani relationships seem to be worsening and Kashmir is the center of the conflict. We can only hope that the two countries will find a compromise and eliminate the threat of nuclear war.
This article was written by Mira Yoo. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Gabriela Naumnik