Is war on the horizon:A case study of Indo-Pak conflict
Followed by the deadly Pulwama attack that killed 40 paramilitary personnel in the Indian-occupied Kashmir,there has been a looming threat of war in between the two neighbors.
The media channels of both the countries are rife with hawkish rhetoric.The world is worried.Starting from the US,the calls for peace have been coming from China,Qata,UK,Saudi Arabia and other countries.However,when it comes to relations between these two historic foes,the sane voices mostly go unheard.
Thus,the two countries have fought 3 deadly wars:1948,1965 and 1971.In addition to the full-scale wars,many other conflicts go on brewing between the two.Siachen conflict,sir creek,the construction of dams,the runn of kutch arbitration,Kargil incident and cross-border terrorism are some of the many.Anyhow,the whole debate centers on one basic issue:the Kashmir conundrum.
Leafing over the pages of history,one finds that it is that unfinished business of partition that is yet to be resolved.The confusion over the instrument of accession led India to go to the United Nations Security Council.UNSC resolution number 34 created a commission over the issue that was ultimately wound up because of its failure to resolve the issue.Resolution number 47 that calls for a referenfum is yet to be implemented.
Unfortunately, UNSC cannot enforce its decision because the resolution falls under Chapter 6 of the UN charter thus not binding on the parties.
Again the burden falls on the two states to reslove the issue.The last resolution ie UNSC resolution 123 was passed in 1957 and since then the international community is more or less silent over the matter.
Jumping to the current sate of affairs,after the Pulwama attack,India sent its war plane across the Line of Control and dropped bombs on an alleged terrorist training center.
As per International law,a state has full sovereignty over its air space.So,India was at fault when it breached Pakistan’s airspace and violated Article2(4) of the Un charter which compels the states to refrain from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of other states.Internationl law allows use of force only in case of self denfence(article 51 of the UN charter) or on the authorization of the UN Security Council.
Not fulfilling these criteria,as per international law India’s act was not justified.
Pakistan responded in kind and shot two aircrafts of India catching one of India’s pilots.The pilot was released afterwards as a gesture of peace.However,going by the Geneva Accords,which apply not only to wars but also to armed conflicts falling short of war,Wingcommander Abhinandan was a prison of war who had to be released. However,International law is a soft law and a state abiding voluntarily is indeed a thing to be commended and Imran Khan should be applauded for his gesture.
Coming to the looming threat of war,all those familiar with the classical deterrence theory understood that war was quite impossible between the two nuclear powers.
The theory of MAD(Mutually assured destruction) stands correct here because in case of a war both sides might cross each other’s nuclear threshold that would lead to complete annihilation of the two.Both sides resorted to the decision-theoretic deterrence theory and after calculation of the costs of war that would definitely surpass the benefits,they are slowly moving towards de-escalation.
A sigh of relief indeed.
The story does not end here.Now ends the threat of war and begins the opportunity if diplomacy.Article 33 of the UN Charter explains the modes of settlement of disputes amicably.Now is the time to open the statute books and grab this opportunity to settle the long unsettled Kashmir dispute.May peace prevail in the long run!
Nishtar Medical Universtity
CSS 2018 qualifier