Pakistan-India tensions set to keep rising over disputed Kashmir

Published 23.02.2019 00:28

Pakistan's military is preparing to defend against any attack by India, and would respond with "full force," the army's spokesman said on Friday, amid heightened tensions between the two nuclear armed neighbors. "We have no intention to initiate war, but we will respond with full force to full spectrum threat, that would surprise you," Major General Asif Ghafoor said. "Don't mess with Pakistan."

The military's reaction came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan authorized the country's armed forces to "respond decisively and comprehensively" to any Indian threat.

"We do not wish to go to war. If it is imposed on us, we have the right to respond," he told a news conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, a week after a radical group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitary policemen in the disputed Kashmir region. A vehicle loaded with 200 kilograms of explosives rammed into a convoy of Indian forces in the India-controlled district. A radical group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, claimed the attack. Following the attack, many countries offered their condolences, showing their solidarity with India. Moreover, rights groups and certain international actors made calls for a solution in Kashmir.

India stated that it is building dams to stop its share of water from flowing into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir as it seeks to punish its longtime rival. Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said that India will harness its share of unused water from three rivers to help Indian states. Pakistan, a country of 200 million people with a largely agriculture-based economy, fears that India may tamper with the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, brokered by the World Bank, which calls for the unimpeded flow of three other rivers through Kashmir and farther into Pakistan proper. The treaty has worked despite three wars between the two countries since 1947. India also withdrew the most favored nation trade status to Pakistan after last week's attack. India has vowed a "jaw-breaking response" to the suicide bombing. Since the partition of India by the British Mandate rule in 1947, Kashmir has remained as one of the most controversial areas in the world, posing a constant threat to the peace in the region. Following the partition of the whole country, into Pakistan and India, the sectarian conflict was crystallized. Kashmir, which is home to Muslims along with Hindus, remained an unresolved dispute. The claims that Indian soldiers are humiliating the local Muslims have allegedly caused the formation of radical groups. For instance, the suicide bomber in the last attack also suffered from Indian soldiers' brutality.

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