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February 27, 2019

Tit-For-Tat Bombing By India And Pakistan Could Escalate Towards A Nuclear War

Two nuclear powers are currently engaged in a tit for tat military exchange that could easily escalate into a nuclear war.

On February 14 a suicide car bomb hit a police convoy in Pulwama in the Indian controlled part of Kashmir. The suicide bomber was a local man. The Pakistan based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility and uploaded a video of the attacker.

General elections in India are due in May and the Hindu-fascist Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under pressure. The incident in Kashmir led to violence of Modi followers against Kashmiri people. Pakistan denied any involvement in the incident and called for a joint investigation.

After the suicide attack Modi immediately threatened to retaliate against Pakistan. He did so yesterday. In an elaborate operation Indian fighter jets released stand-off weapons, purchased from Israel, against an alleged JeM training camp near Balakot. India made explicit that it hit a "non-military" target.


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While the Indian jets did not enter Pakistan's airspace the target was within Pakistan's undisputed borders. Small scale ground combat between Indian and Pakistani at the line of control in Kashmir is nothing unusual. But the air attack exceed the limits both sides so far held to.

Pakistan saw the incident as a failure of its deterrence. India has about 140 nuclear weapons while Pakistan has about 100. Pakistan's conventional military is inferior to India's. It therefore follows a doctrine of asymmetric escalation which allows for nuclear strikes in response to conventional military attacks.

Pakistan could not leave the hit within its own borders without response. Not responding would have set a precedence and invite further Indian attacks. Earlier today two Pakistani J-17a jets flew into the airspace of Indian controlled Kashmir and released bombs against what its military claimed to be a "non military target":

We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight.

Two rather antique Indian MIG-21 jets scrambled to chase the Pakistani fighter jets away. They were lured into the Pakistan controlled air space and both were shot down. Pakistan published pictures of one of the downed jets and claimed that the other one fell into an Indian controlled area. An Indian pilot ejected from his plane and was captured by Pakistani troops who had trouble (vid) to keep the locals from lynching him. The captured pilot was blindfolded and interrogated (vid). He identified as Wing Commander Abhi Nandan, Service No: 27981, and did not respond to further questions. His father is said to be a retried Air Marshal of the Indian air force. The pilot now seems to be fine (vid). He thanked the Pakistani military for rescuing him from the mob.

Air traffic over Pakistan and west India was shut down.


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In a TV speech Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan offered talks with India and urged deescalation:

"The sole purpose of our action [today] was to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same. That was the only purpose of what we did," he said, referring to the engagement of non-military targets across the LoC.
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"It is important where we go from here. From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom," he continued.

"All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to. World War I was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years. Similarly, the US never expected the war on terrorism to last 17 years.

"I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford such a miscalculation? If this escalates, things will no longer be in my control or in Modi's," the prime minister continued.

"I once again invite you: we are ready. We understand the grief India has suffered in Pulwama and are ready for any sort of dialogue on terrorism. I reiterate that better sense should prevail.

"Let's sit together and settle this with talks," the prime minister concluded.

China, Russia and the United States have urged both sides to stand down and to deescalate the situation.

Meanwhile India falsely claimed that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet.

It will be up to Modi to take the next step. The captured pilot will complicate the issue for the Indian government. It must find a way to get him released.

That the Indian air force uses the antique MIG-21, which first flew in 1956, against state of the art Pakistani-Chinese F-17 again opens questions about Modi's corrupt deal to buy Rafale jets from France. As we discussed last September:

In short: The previous government signed a contract with France' Dassault to buy 126 Rafale jets for $10.6 billion. Thirty percent of the price would flow back from Dassault to the Indian state owned aviation manufacturer HAL, which would assemble most of the planes. Modi flew to Paris and changed the deal without the knowledge of his cabinet and the country's military. India will get only 36 Rafales but pay $8.7 billion for them. Thirty percent of the money would flow back to a private Indian company belonging to the largely bankrupt, privately held Reliance Group for unrelated projects and without any know-how transfer. How much Reliance, owned by the once very rich Ambani family, would hand over to Modi and his party is yet unknown. There are calls for Modi to step down which he is unlikely to do. The issue will escalate.

Not responding to today's attack will let Modi look weak and may well cost him his reelection. Responding with a new attack on Pakistan will gravely endanger both countries.

Posted by b on February 27, 2019 at 08:44 AM | Permalink

Comments
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@bevin 14 Follow the money. Both guys need a major distraction from their financial shenanigans. Modi has single-handedly destroyed the Indian economy, discriminating against the very people who elected him, and Netanyahu's personal greed will be his downfall.

Posted by: kula | Mar 1, 2019 2:36:48 AM | 101

India got its backside whooped and in almost a funny manner. Fake claims of a 'surgical strike' (which they literally did in 2016 as well; hit nothing, claim to have destroyed tens of hundreds of terrorists) with no evidence offered such as cockpit videos etc (but videos of random PAF jets from years ago given lol) and then next day Pakistan floors 2 Indian jets. 2 as far as I know. Proves it, demonstrates through video evidence.

All Indian bluster for nothing!

Posted by: Agha Hussain | Mar 1, 2019 2:53:49 AM | 102

Wendy Davis @100

As you state the law you refer to was in place before Modi so your argument doesn't make Modi any more of fascist than, e.g. Gandhi or any leader of India since partition or, for that matter, the British Empire.

There is nothing that Pakistan or India can do other than make peace because the alternative is annihilation and the way to make peace is face-saving. Calling Midi a Hindu-fascist is the language of war and obscured the JEM attack

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 1, 2019 4:20:55 AM | 103

@103 cont.

Should have said "Calling Modi a Hinu-fascist is the language of war and obscures the JEM attack, which India have every right to be upset about and which very much looks like a provocation. In my view, both Khan and Midi are being manipulated."

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 1, 2019 4:28:50 AM | 104

Agha Hussain @102

So the version you wish to see propagated is that the JEM, which has known links to Pakistan's ISI, killed 44 Indian soldiers, that India responded with a pointless attack which hit nothing, and India had 2 jets shot down. In other words that India has been humiliated 2 or 3 times over? This just guarantees further actions by India.

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 1, 2019 4:47:37 AM | 105

I doubt you will see this comment, but b, I have an observation and a question. By some accounts, India was prepared to launch missiles on Karachi,there was an ultimatum, and Imran Khan responded with the curious speech.
If the target was military facilities near Karachi, targeted from sea, the implications are profound.By some accounts, (as revealed during the seige of that naval base few years ago, Pak stores nukes there. India never said anything publically, being a democracy. But someone like Kim, or Putin will say these things. Can US protect the nukes at Incerlik from ballistic missiles launched from the Mediterranean? Are there nukes in South Korea? If this report is true, then nukes must be seen as a liability for the host country, and not a deterrent at all.
Comments? Thoughts? What am I missing here?
(sorry for poor formatting, my phone is misbehaving)

Posted by: Iva | Mar 1, 2019 6:12:22 AM | 106

@Agha Hussain

India did not gain anything from the "strikes." As far as facts go, and not "fake news"/accounts from the Hindu fascist government of Modi, nothing substantial in Pakistan was hit. And it could not be, for the risk would be all out war. Rather, India got its two jets shot. They got their ass whooped indeed, and I doubt handing over the pilot would make much difference.

Posted by: Fez Schon | Mar 1, 2019 7:04:38 AM | 107

Iva it's a target but it doesn't matter, it's not like anyone keeps all their nuclear weapons in one place or only on one type of delivery system or solely within their own borders. The basic logic is that all-out retaliation is guaranteed which in turn means that an all-out attack is the only option if any such attack is to take place.

Nothing would remain of India and Pakistan.

If that was all, if it stopped at their borders, then I guess some significant percentage of humans might not care much although a lot would be sad, dismayed, and horrified.

But of course at a minimum it would be felt far outside their borders even if the following is mistaken.

If the Toba catastrophe theory is correct (the Toba event itself is undeniable, it left behind lake Toba) or alternatively any of the conclusions linked to earlier by Perimetr (towards the start of the comments) then the whole world follows into death soon enough simply due to the ash clouds alone regardless of anything else like radioactive fallout. Everyone except let's say (yet again) between 3 thousand and 10 thousand individuals who were extremely "lucky"/unlucky finding themselves figuratively transported back in time 75 thousand years (and they would be lucky on random ie. not clinging to life in any damned bunker/coffin but living in some geographic location which happens to avoid the worst ramifications).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory

And if this happens then good riddance to all of us for our combined stupidity (and according to some the following opinion of mine would be a great example thereof). I'm not actually against nuclear weapons but I sure am against any use of them: so far they've been wonderful at stopping people from using other kinds of weapons, some of which are much worse, and perhaps some that are nearly unimaginable.

From this point of view and in my opinion for whatever faults he is sure to have (like we all do whatever it might be) Imran Khan was not at all curious but enlightened about the outcome.

It is 2019, no matter what we do we won't survive anything similar to a repeat of the violence of the last century anywhere for any reason no matter how "righteous".

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 1, 2019 9:23:32 AM | 108

Modi is Bolton's bedfellow,
enuff said.

fukusI,
partners in crimes.


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-16/bolton-calls-india-s-doval-to-express-outrage-at-kashmir-attack

Posted by: denk | Mar 1, 2019 11:35:02 AM | 109

First: the Indian MiG 21 is a Bison version, which is anything but "antique". It is deadly at short ranges, especially when equipped with the R 73 missile, as in this case.

Second: as far as can be ascertained, only one Indian plane was shot down. I have no information about whether an F 16 was shot down or not but the Pakistanis already backtracked about having two Indian pilots in their custody. And a MiG 21 Bison is more than capable of taking down an F 16 D.

Third: that Modi would try to create a casus belli for a military confrontation in early 2019 in order to win an election he would otherwise lose was so obvious that I predicted it...in 2013.

Fourth: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has already been released.

Fifth: cross border firing continues, and if, as is likely, Modi does not get any electoral boost from this crisis, he will start an actual war in the coming days.

In other words, you needed to do a little, you know, research, before writing this article.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayastha | Mar 2, 2019 3:51:02 AM | 110

There is still a question of whether an F16 was taken out by a Mig21. Things are starting to look like it really could have happened...
It is certain that F16s were used, but the various pics of the apparent F16 wreckage are questionable. Almost impossible to verify, as if it did go down, it went down in Pakistan.
I would not be so quick to write off the Indian version.

Posted by: dan | Mar 2, 2019 4:30:21 AM | 111

Russia Today:

Amid rising tensions between the two countries, accusations have been kicked back and forth. Pakistan’s World News Observer reported on Friday that Lockheed Martin – the F-16’s manufacturer – was planning a lawsuit against the Indian government for falsely claiming to have shot down the Pakistani jet “for political gains.”

Lockheed Martin India said it “has made no such comments.”
https://www.rt.com/news/452849-us-pakistan-f16-india-kashmir/

Posted by: comedy time | Mar 2, 2019 7:06:35 PM | 113

AFSPA is also a dirty word in Naga lsnd, aka 7 sisyers, South Tibet that occupied by india, killing & raping with impunity shielded by AFSPA.

Btw, that crow killed by IAF 12 Mirage2000 name is 300JeMs, so Indians didn't lied. Trust me, Indians never lied. You can read all the shits in indiantimes,three chiefs from IAF, Army & Navy together holding a piece of metal scraps claimed its F16 shot down, when none participated. Its China developed JF17(specially for PAK airsuperiority purpose in South Asia) that shot down IAF two Mig22(another story said one of its SU30MKI that fell in India LOC) with China made AAM.

The 3 captured pilots was reduced to one, because some told the other 2 were found to be Israelis. So PAK had to change the number, return one, and get a bargain from Israel for remaining two.

Posted by: DrTT | Mar 3, 2019 12:55:19 PM | 114

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