A report submitted to the United States Congress on Tuesday, 13 April, details India’s border stand-off with China as well as nuclear tensions with Pakistan, suggesting that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is likely to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in its Annual Threat Assessment report to the US Congress said that while a war between India and Pakistan is unlikely, crises between the two are likely to become more intense.
The report supports the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), as part of a protocol of submitting providing regular threat updates to the American public and the US Congress.
ON INDIA-PAKISTAN RELATIONS
The report suggested that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is likely to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations.
“Although a general war between India and Pakistan is unlikely, crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle,” the report said.
"“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, and heightened tensions raise the risk of conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints.”" - US Intelligence Report
In February, 2021 both India and Pakistan decided to re-implement the ceasefire agreement of 2003 to maintain peace at the borders.
To navigate the enforcement of the agreement, the respective brigade commanders met on Friday, 26 March, and discussed peace along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
ON INDIA-CHINA RELATIONS
The report noted that China-India border tensions remain high, adding that “China’s occupation since May 2020 of contested border areas is the most serious escalation in decades and led to the first lethal border clash between the two countries since 1975”.
“As of mid-February, after multiple rounds of talks, both sides were pulling back forces and equipment from some sites along the disputed border,” stated the report.
It further said, “Interstate conflicts will also flare, ranging from border sparring, such as that between China and India, to potentially more sustained violent confrontations.”
India and China have been engaged in diplomatic and military talks after tensions began rising along the high-altitude border in April 2020. The situation escalated when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a physical clash in mid-June at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
The two neighbouring countries held the 11th round of Corps Commander-level talks on Friday, 10 April, at Chushul-Moldo border to discuss disengagement from patrolling points of the remaining friction points such as Gogra heights, Hot Springs and 900 square km Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh.
The dialogue held is to negotiate the next steps, after the disengagement of the military forces of both countries from both northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake in mid-February.
WHAT ELSE DOES THE REPORT SAY?
The US intelligence report noted that internal and interstate conflict and instability “will continue to pose direct and indirect threats to US persons and interests during the next year.”
“Competition for power and resources, ethnic strife, and ideology will drive insurgency and civil war in many countries,” it stated.
Apart from mentioning India, China and Pakistan, the US intelligence report also addressed other regional conflicts which “continue to fuel humanitarian crises, undermine stability, and threaten US persons and interests”, which have direct implications on US security.
The report, therefore, touches on the fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, as well as the violence between Israel and Iran, the activity of foreign powers in Libya, and conflicts in other areas, including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
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