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Kashmir issue seen as fuelling threat of nuclear war: US think-tank

Kashmir issue seen as fuelling threat of nuclear war: US think-tank
August 25, 2019
WASHINGTON (Web Desk) – A US think-tank has warned that the specter of nuclear war haunts tensions between Pakistan and India, and the disputed territory of Kashmir could provide the spark that lights South Asia’s nuclear fuse. According a report by Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform based in Austin, Texas, also disputes the classification of Kashmir issue as India's internal affair or a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. “It isn’t. A potential nuc­lear conflagration cannot be anything other than a matter of international peace and security,” the report warns. According to the report, the possibility of the conflict going nuclear has increased after Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement of abandoning India's "no first use" doctrine. The report says decades ago, the people of Kashmir were promised a plebiscite that never took place. It points out that last February, Pakistan downed an Indian fighter jet but returned its pilot. However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not acknowledge Islamabad's conciliatory gesture nor his government has been willing to discuss the Kashmir issue, whose people were promised a plebiscite on their future. The report argues that with passions again running high in Kashmir, the stakes for the region and the world could not be higher. “Decades ago, the people of Kashmir were promised a plebiscite that never took place. Will they ever be asked what they want?” the report asks. It claims that both Indian and Pakistani armed forces possess both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, which local commanders could use on the battlefield in populated areas. “This would be the first use in war of atomic weapons since the US destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945,” the report adds. It also notes that while previous Pakistani governments had supported Kashmiri insurgents, the present Pakistani government, which came to power in August 2018, was “not involved in his predecessors’ interference in Indian-controlled Kashmir”.