US intel community fears increased India-Pakistan, India-China tension and conflict
WASHINGTON: The US intelligence community told lawmakers on Wednesday that there is a possibility of a clash between India and China amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan.
It also noted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to Pakistan’s provocations.
The assessment is part of the US Intelligence Community’s annual threat assessment, which is presented to the US Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during a congressional hearing.
Even as India and China engage in bilateral border talks and settle border points, relations will remain strained in the wake of the countries’ deadliest clash in decades in 2020, the report said.
Expanded military positions by both India and China along the disputed border raise the risk of an armed conflict between the two nuclear powers, involving direct threats to US persons and interests and calls for US intervention. Previous observations have demonstrated that persistent low-level frictions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have the potential to escalate rapidly, it said.
According to the report, the tensions between India and Pakistan are of particular concern because of the risk of escalation between the two nuclear-armed states. New Delhi and Islamabad are looking to strengthen the current calm in their relationship following the renewal of the ceasefire by both sides in early 2021.
“However, Pakistan has a long history of supporting militant groups against India, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations. “Each side raises the risk of conflict over heightened tensions, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a terrorist attack in India being potential flashpoints,” it said.
Responding to a question, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US-Pakistan Counterterrorism Dialogue “provides an opportunity for the United States to communicate our willingness to work with Pakistan to
counter terrorist threats and counter violent extremism.” Potential threats that cross the region and region.
“We have a shared interest in combating threats to regional security. The goal of a stable and secure South and Central Asia from terrorism depends in large part on the strength of our partnership with Pakistan. This dialogue is a testament to our shared commitment to a flexible security relationship and to countering all terrorist groups that threaten regional and global stability. It’s an opportunity for honest discussion about the steps we can take together,” he said.
“The United States seeks to expand our partnership to address these challenges. Any group that threatens regional and global stability is certainly of concern to us. That is something we have discussed in the context of this counter-terrorism dialogue,” Price said. PTI LKJ CK