With the beginning of 2018 as both India and Pakistan move closer to their parliamentary elections  Jingoism seem to be on a new high in the mainland South Asia.Shouting news casters, screaming analysts and out of control spicing up of war like rhetoric on the both sides seem to have re-alived the ‘Enemy across the border’ narrative of the 80’s and the 90’s.The efforts of bringing the two nuclear armed neighbours closer, once again seem to be going in vain.Establishment on the both sides of border seem to have understood that peace is not something any longer sellable to the electing masses.How on Earth can then any of the party show any restrain?

 

On both sides of 700 km long heavily fenced Line of Control claims of killing more “Enemy Soldiers” are being hurled at each other.India claims it killed 20 Pakistani soldiers since the beginning of New Year & Pakistan claims it killed a total of 25 since the start of January in “retaliation of India’s aggression”.In this day and age, when social media is the new tool and nothing can really be kept hidden the most that could be put under the carpet are the bodies of insurgents and non state actors not active military personals.Every time there comes a claim of causing heavy damages to the other side a video of downing of rival’s posts is attached as a proof of the authenticity of the claim and forgetting the fact that downing of post does not always mean loss of life, media on  the both side put the claim of death toll across as a trophy for their audience.

 

So where are we really heading? this is the question which really strikes the minds of sane citizens of the both countries, but before trying to reach a conclusion on that part we must first asses what are the options that both sides hold and what can really be militarily delivered? so that if suppose any of the two country’s decide to escalate it further the readers atleast know where the red lines lie.

Right Now if you believe the accepted loss of lives by each country, Both Pakistan and India are getting a body for a body.At some occasions Indians are  suffering slightly more toll since the number of their troops are greater in concentration and number.This is what in the military strategy is the new Status Quo.You have to teach Pakistan a lesson? kill some of its soldiers even if it means getting killed some of ours in return.You want to send the Kashmiri Militant across? provide a cover fire even if it means getting some of our soldiers killed in return.This equation of a body for body though is quite unfortunate but is the new norm in the line of control.The alarms will trigger only when there happens a further escalation which some of the Indian Analysts call for.

For the present Indian Hardline Government “a body for body” is not convincing enough for its voter.They want something concrete before the elections, to win back support.This is the only factor which can influence a further escalation, but to be honest on ground the cards for Indian Army are not that vast.

Escalation has already been tried after 2002 attack on Indian Parliament, they thought they could scare Pakistanis off, what in fact happened was an eye ball to eye ball  scenario in which both sides suffered “Equally” and no real military achievement was made.The sane voices in Indian Military Establishment understand their limitations.They can escalate, but escalations will mean nothing more than more bodies on both sides.Nothing short of war can “really pressurise Pakistan” and with conventional setup that Pakistan maintains and non conventional deterrent it holds, I don’t think Pakistan will be hesitant to go for it.

Some of the Indian Analyst think Pakistan Army is over stretched, Yes it might be true, but as far the equation with India is concerned they have their calculations done.This is the reason Pakistan continues to “retaliate strongly”, despite the Indian anticipation of “measured and soft” retaliation to any of their action.This confidence in Rawalpindi hints to the fact that for time being domestically it might suit India to go for an escalation, but in the long run it is Pakistan which shall benefit from it the most.Pakistan is calling for an escalation and an escalation suits it in the prism of its current International Affairs.Not only will it then be able to make an excuse for not being that active at the Afghan front toward its commitments to the international community but also it will be able to put new momentum in the Kashmiri Separatist Movement through it.Afterall What can be more likeable for Pakistan then to project Kashmir as a nuclear flash point?

Unlike As some of Indian Hardliners want to believe, Pakistan is not like weak arab states neighbouring mighty Israel which they can push to its knees and bully.Its military might not be as huge and as wealthy as is of India’s but it is comparable and quite capable of defending its borders.The only thing which can avert the continuous loss of lives of both sides especially of innocent citizen will come through table and if going to table yet does not suit India’s domestic audience let’s maintain the status quo.

Warning: No part of this editorial be copied or reproduced in anyway without the consent of the author. Remember that plagiarism is a crime according to Copyright Ordinance of 1962. {copyright (amendment) ordinance 2000}

About the editorialist:

Hamza Abbasi is a student and editorialist from Pakistan, He can be reached on Twitter at: @HamzaKhanAbbasi and email: hamza.abbasi45@gmail.com

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