In­dia wants to con­tain ten­sions with Pak­istan

New Delhi wants to fo­cus on econ­omy

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW DELHI: In­dia wants to limit ten­sions with Pak­istan af­ter what it said was a suc­cess­ful cross-bor­der strike on mil­i­tants shel­tered there, ac­cord­ing to two top of­fi­cials, who sought to al­lay fears of a broader con­flict be­tween the nu­clear-armed na­tions. One of the of­fi­cials, who are both part of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s gov­ern­ment shap­ing a new, more ro­bust strat­egy to­wards Pak­istan, said In­dia re­mained fo­cused on rapid eco­nomic growth, and any con­flict would de­flect it from that path. “War is not in In­dia’s in­ter­est at this point,” the of­fi­cial said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause re­la­tions with Pak­istan re­mained tense af­ter In­dia an­nounced the Sept 29 strike in­side the part of Kash­mir con­trolled by Pak­istan. “We want to build com­pre­hen­sive na­tional power - eco­nomic, mil­i­tary and diplo­matic. We need time, but if we stay on this path, the power dif­fer­en­tial with Pak­istan will be­come so high by 2025 that you don’t have to fight a war,” the of­fi­cial said.

Modi’s gov­ern­ment, break­ing with a tra­di­tional pol­icy of mil­i­tary re­straint, said last month it sent spe­cial forces across the mil­i­ta­rized fron­tier in Kash­mir to kill an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of mil­i­tants in re­tal­i­a­tion for an at­tack on an In­dian army base. Pak­istan said it had noth­ing to do with the at­tack on the base and has de­nied any In­dian strike took place across the Line of Con­trol, the de facto bor­der in Kash­mir. It said it would re­pel any ag­gres­sive ac­tion from In­dia.

Yes­ter­day, Pak­istani For­eign Min­istry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said New Delhi was try­ing to di­vert at­ten­tion from a crack­down on vi­o­lent protests this sum­mer against In­dian rule in its part of Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity Kash­mir. “Pak­istan has al­ready re­jected the base­less claims of sur­gi­cal strikes. As we em­pha­sized ear­lier, In­dia is des­per­ate to di­vert at­ten­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity from grave hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions,” Zakaria told a news briefing.

More than 80 civil­ians have been killed and thou­sands wounded in the worst un­rest in the dis­puted Hi­malayan re­gion for six years. At least two po­lice of­fi­cers have died and more than 5,000 se­cu­rity force mem­bers have been wounded. In­dia has not of­fered any ev­i­dence for the cross-bor­der raid in Kash­mir, al­though mil­i­tary of­fi­cials have said there is footage from hel­met-mounted cam­eras on the raid­ing party as well as from drones. US diplo­mats and an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial in New Delhi and Wash­ing­ton have con­firmed there was an In­dian ac­tion across the Line of Con­trol di­vid­ing Kash­mir be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan, but de­tails were not avail­able. Pak­istan’s mil­i­tary de­clined to com­ment for this ar­ti­cle. Soon af­ter the army base at­tack which killed 19 In­dian sol­diers, some of­fi­cials in New Delhi said the gov­ern­ment would act with re­straint to­wards Pak­istan, with which In­dia has fought three wars, two of them over Kash­mir. The sub­se­quent an­nounce­ment of a cross-bor­der strike reignited fears of an es­ca­la­tion in ten­sions be­tween the coun­tries, but the sec­ond In­dian of­fi­cial said they were overblown.

— AP

NEW DELHI: In­dian po­lice of­fi­cers de­tain an ex­iled Ti­betan youth ac­tivist hold­ing a Ti­betan flag dur­ing a protest out­side the Chinese Em­bassy yes­ter­day. The protest was held against the Chinese gov­ern­ment’s plan to de­mol­ish part of a revered Bud­dhist monastery in Larung Gar and against the visit of Chinese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping to at­tend the 8th BRICS Sum­mit in In­dian state of Goa to­day.

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