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In recent days, the conflict between India and Pakistan has revived, leaving international concern and dozens of people dead
Attacks on civilians and demolition of airplanes are two of the events that have been occurring between India and Pakistan. On February 27, it was confirmed that there was a clash between Indian and Pakistani planes, a situation that occurred after India launched air strikes on Pakistan. According to CNN, "it is the first incursion of this kind by Indian military aircraft since 1971."
Leer en español: 3 claves para entender el conflicto indo-paquistaní
However, the tensions occurred after an attack was perpetuated in the city of Srinagar, south of Kashmir, where the territory is under Indian protection; Kashmir has been in dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947. Being a suicide attack, "46 people died when an Indian police convoy was traveling through an area near the capital of the region, Srinagar", according to the BBC.
Since then, both countries, which are nuclear powers, have been in constant tension due to military crossings. With the above, the civilian population has been affected because several airports have been closed. These closures also affected countries outside the conflict. In Thailand, for example, more than 20 flights to Pakistan and India were canceled, and around 4000 tourists are stranded, as El Comercio recalls.
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Three keys to understanding the situation
1. It is a historical conflict
As mentioned, the problem is nothing new. When India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947, and Pakistan was formed to house the Muslim minority living in India, Kashmir was in dispute. It is at that time that the first war between India and Pakistan occurs, since, as the Indian Independence Act says, Kashmir is free to annex to either of the two nations.
According to El Periódico, at that time the local ruler chose India and generated the first great discontent: "since then, the disputed territory is divided into three parts: the one controlled by India, the one under the Government of Islamabad and a small Northeast region that belongs to China".
Then, two other major wars took place: one in 1965, after the degree of independence granted by India in its Constitution decreased, on that occasion both the Soviet Union and the UN intervened.
On the other hand, the third war occurred when India collaborated with separations movements; achieving the independence of East Pakistan. Pakistan took this intervention as a direct attack, which was resolved in 1972 through peaceful means.
However, over the years, relationships have presented their ups and downs, but without a doubt, what happened recently cool them down more.
2. The Attacks
As already mentioned, the suicide attack, which is attributed to the jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), was the major trigger of this crisis. To this, it is added that India accuses Pakistan of "allowing armed groups to operate in its territory," according to the BBC. At all times, the second country has stated that they have no connection with what happened or with the militias.
Also, the words of the Minister of Government, Arun Jaitley, added fuel to the fire, saying that India will take "all possible diplomatic steps" to isolate Pakistan from the international community, according to the same media.
This is how Indian planes entered the Pakistani airspace to carry out a "pre-emptive strike" in front of an alleged camp against the "JeM group in a border area of Kashmir," according to El Espectador.
As AFP explains, the response was to send fighter jets, which "crossed the border of Kashmir and bombed in open territory". According to the Pakistani government, two Indian planes were shot down, "of which one would have fallen on the Indian side of Kashmir and one on the Pakistani side and an Indian pilot would have been captured," according to the same media.
Through his Twitter account, Pakistani army spokesman Asif Ghafoor said the Indian pilot, Wing Comd Babe Nandan, "is being treated according to the rules of military ethics". As a measure of peace, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said they would release the pilot, according to CNN.
There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wing Comd Abhi Nandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics. pic.twitter.com/8IQ5BPhLj2— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) 27 de febrero de 2019
3. Is a new war with nuclear powers ahead?
The two countries are characterized as nuclear powers, which undoubtedly has worried the international community, including the Indian Prime Minister, Imran Khan, "We can afford the minimum false step with the type of weapons we have and have (. ..) if the climb starts here, how far will it go? ", in statements collected for DW.
However, the dispute is unlikely to escalate to war, even nuclear war. In dialogue with The New York Times, Jacob Happymon, professor of diplomacy and disarmament studies at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University of India, states that "since no one has declared war and Pakistan has not carried out air strikes through of the international border but from within the Line of Control, this suggests that both parties are exercising a certain restriction".
Similarly, the Pakistani Information Minister, Fawad Hussain, made a call where he states that, if a war occurs, "the world could be destabilized."
World must realize Pak-India conflict ll destabilise region and later the World at large, world ll be more divided and extremism at new peaks.... extremism ll be ultimate winner ... Pak,India and the World ll loose.... lets work together to avert this situation— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) 28 de febrero de 2019
While the end of the conflict is not near, it is expected that at least it will not aggravate and become a major event. It is also necessary that India respond to the call to resolve the conflict peacefully because otherwise, it would not be the first time that powers outside the conflict intervened.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "3 claves para entender el conflicto indo-paquistaní"