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Huat Liao! ABNN INDIA <=> PAKISTAN trading Nuke Strike Threats! Serangoon Rd both sides will fight or not? Modi will nuke for Election?

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https://economictimes.indiatimes.co...other-reveal-sources/articleshow/68448836.cms

India, Pakistan threatened to unleash missiles at each other, reveal sources
At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes "three times over".
Reuters|
Updated: Mar 17, 2019, 01.03 PM IST
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BCCL
The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir.
NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: The sparring between India and Pakistan last month threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by U.S. officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events said.

At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes "three times over", according to Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington.

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the Kashmir region, which both claim and is at the core of their enmity, remains one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints.

The exchanges did not get beyond threats, and there was no suggestion that the missiles involved were anything more than conventional weapons, but they created consternation in official circles in Washington, Beijing and London.

Reuters has pieced together the events that led to the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, as well as the concerted diplomatic efforts to get both sides to back down.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

Videos of a captured Indian pilot, handcuffed and blindfolded, appeared on social media, identifying himself to Pakistani interrogators, deepening anger in New Delhi.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a general election in April-May, the government was under pressure to respond.

"NO GOING BACK"
That evening, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke over a secure line to the head of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asim Munir, to tell him India was not going to back off its new campaign of "counter terrorism" even after the pilot's capture, an Indian government source and a Western diplomat with knowledge of the conversations told Reuters in New Delhi.

Doval told Munir that India's fight was with the militant groups that freely operated from Pakistani soil and it was prepared to escalate, said the government source.

A Pakistani government minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad separately confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan. They did not specify who delivered the threat or who received it, but the minister said Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies "were communicating with each other during the fight, and even now they are communicating with each other".

Pakistan said it would counter any Indian missile attacks with many more launches of its own, the minister told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that," the Pakistani minister said.

Doval's office did not respond to a request for comment. India was not aware of any missile threat issued to Pakistan, a government official said in reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Pakistan's military declined to comment and Munir could not be reached for comment. Pakistan's foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

TRUMP-KIM TALKS
The crisis unfolded as U.S. President Donald Trump was trying to hammer out an agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi over its nuclear programme.

U.S. security advisor Bolton was on the phone with Doval on the night of Feb 27 itself, and into the early hours of Feb 28, the second day of the Trump-Kim talks, in an attempt to defuse the situation, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and the Indian official said.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also in Hanoi, also called both sides to seek a way out of the crisis.

"Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides," State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a briefing in Washington on March 5.

A State Department official declined comment when asked if they knew of the threats to use missiles.

Pompeo spoke to Doval, the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, respectively, Palladino said.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson told reporters in Singapore last week that he had separately been in touch with the Indian navy chief, Sunil Lanba, throughout the crisis. There was no immediate response from Lanba's office to a question on the nature of the conversations.

U.S. efforts were focused on securing the quick release of the Indian pilot by Pakistan and winning an assurance from India it would pull back from the threat to fire rockets, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and officials in Washington said.

"We made a lot of effort to get the international community involved in encouraging the two sides to de-escalate the situation because we fully realized how dangerous it was," said a senior Trump administration official.

The Pakistani minister said China and the United Arab Emirates also intervened. China's foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The government of the UAE said Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan held talks with both Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

India has not given details, but has said it was in touch with major powers during the conflict.

On the morning of Feb 28, Trump told reporters in Hanoi that he expected the crisis to end soon.

"They have been going at it and we have been involved in trying to have them stop. Hopefully that is going to be coming to an end."

Later that afternoon, Khan announced in Pakistan's parliament that the Indian pilot would be released, and he was sent back the next day.

"I know last night there was a threat there could a missile attack on Pakistan, which got defused," Khan said. "I know, our army stood prepared for retaliation of that attack."

The two countries have gone to war three times since both gained independence in 1947, the last time in 1971. The two armies are trading fire along the line of control that separates them in Kashmir, but the tensions appear contained for now.

Diplomatic experts said that the latest crisis underlined the chances of misread signals and unpredictability in the ties between the nuclear-armed rivals, and the huge dangers. It still was not clear whether India had targeted a militant camp in Pakistan and whether there were any casualties, they said. "Indian and Pakistani leaders have long evinced confidence that they can understand each other’s deterrence signals and can de-escalate at will," said Joshua White, a former White House official who is now at Johns Hopkins.

"The fact that some of the most basic facts, intentions and attempted strategic signals of this crisis are still shrouded in mystery ... should be a sobering reminder that neither country is in a position to easily control a crisis once it begins."




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https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinio...ightmare-brewing-india-pakistan/#.XI52YoVS-Kk




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People in New Delhi celebrate news of Indian airstrikes on militant camps in Pakistani territory on Feb. 26. The fragile cease-fire between India and Pakistan is fraying. | REUTERS


Commentary / World
A nuclear nightmare is brewing between India and Pakistan
by James Stavridis

Bloomberg








NEW YORK - While India and Pakistan seem to have stopped bombing one another, the causes behind the cross-border tensions aren’t going away any time soon. The two nations are nuclear-armed; have large conventional armed forces; have had four serious wars since they became independent in 1947; and have enormous cultural and religious antipathy. This is a prescription for a disaster, and yet the confrontation is flying below the international radar — well below North Korea, Brexit, China-U.S. trade confrontations, Iran and even the “yellow vests” of France. A full-blown war in Kashmir is a very real possibility.
When I was the supreme allied commander of NATO, the most important mission of the alliance was dealing with terrorism in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, our Pakistani partners continued to support many of the radical elements of the Taliban. They were afraid of creeping Indian influence, and much preferred a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan to a more Western-leaning and independent Afghani government. I dealt often with Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of staff of the Pakistani Army. He frequently came to NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels to brief the combined military leadership of the alliance on the key threat Pakistan faced several years ago — internal terrorism. Yet always hovering over our conversations was the Pakistani military’s deepest concern: India.


The most recent crisis was set off in mid-February when a Pakistani terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, detonated a suicide bomb in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing 40 Indian soldiers. It was the deadliest attack on security forces since that insurgency began in earnest decades ago. While the Pakistani government denied involvement in the bombing, India believes it was aware of the incident, and therefore responded with significant airstrikes into Pakistan. Two Indian fighter jets were shot down and a pilot captured. There was an unmistakable echo of the 1947 and 1965 Kashmir conflicts, in which tens of thousands died.
The fragile cease-fire in place for two decades is fraying. Partly this is the result of domestic politics in India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected on a Hindu nationalist agenda, is up for re-election in April and May. After the Indian bombing of Pakistani territory, a popular hashtag in India became #Indiastrikesback. This is rare behavior, given that Indian armed forces have not otherwise crossed the so-called Line of Control between the nations since 1971. Former Indian Air Vice Marshall Arjun Subramanian told me, “At the strategic level, the strikes have signaled a heightened resolve on the part of the Modi government to change the response matrix in the aftermath of a confirmed jihadi attack from safe havens in Pakistan.”
Most worrisome, of course, are the significant nuclear arsenals of the combatants. Each has roughly 150 missiles, although only India has a submarine-based ballistic missile capability and thus a true nuclear triad (land, air and sea). Pakistan is developing sea-launched cruise missiles to counter that Indian threat. India has adopted a “no first use” doctrine, although Pakistan — which has smaller conventional forces and thus potentially the need for a more ambiguous doctrine — has not made an equivalent pledge. Paradoxically, the fact that both sides want to avoid a nuclear conflict has probably prevented an escalation on the conventional side during recent crises.
In past conflicts, the United States has played a mediating role. But today Pakistan is more inclined to work with China. India has strong relations with both the U.S. and Russia, but is unlikely to turn to either, so as not to appear beholden to any peer “great state.” This tracks with the tendency of the Trump administration to let nations work things out themselves. Other than National Security Advisor John Bolton’s sensible comment that the U.S. supports India’s right to self-defense, the administration is staying on the sidelines. Complicating the picture is that Washington is trying to enlist Pakistani aid in ending the long war in Afghanistan by reining in the Taliban.
What the U.S. can do most effectively is to quietly encourage both sides to step back from escalation — which Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan did by releasing the captured Indian jet pilot unharmed. We should also offer our intelligence capabilities to both India and Pakistan as each of them deal with the disruptive terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil — Jaish-e-Mohammad and the even more deadly Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. could also encourage other mediation by allies and international organizations, in particular Saudi Arabia, which reportedly was influential in the release of the Indian pilot.
As Hussein Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., recently pointed out, Pakistan in on the verge of an economic crisis. While the Khan government has tried to defuse the situation, in part by appealing to the International Monetary Fund, internal pressures are building. Make no mistake: With Pakistan’s economic plight and the upcoming elections in India, South Asia is in a situation in which a military miscalculation, perhaps even a nuclear one, is real possibility.
Bloomberg Opinion columnist James Stavridis is a former U.S. Navy admiral.




https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/opinion/kashmir-india-pakistan-nuclear.html

Opinion
This Is Where a Nuclear Exchange Is Most Likely. (It’s Not North Korea.)
Tensions have cooled between India and Pakistan after a terrorist attack, but their nuclear arsenals mean unthinkable consequences are always possible.
By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.
  • March 7, 2019


CreditJames Yang

Image
CreditCreditJames Yang
The current focus on North Korea’s growing arsenal obscures the fact that the most likely trigger for a nuclear exchange could be the conflict between India and Pakistan.
Long among the world’s most antagonistic neighbors, the two nations clashed again last week before, fortunately, finding the good sense to de-escalate. The latest confrontation, the most serious between the two nations in more than a decade, gave way to more normal pursuits like trade at a border crossing and sporadic cross-border shelling.
But this relative calm is not a solution. As long as India and Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of Kashmir — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences.
The current crisis dates to Feb. 14, when a Kashmiri suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers in the deadliest attack in three decades in the divided region that both nations have claimed since partition in 1947. The militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad, which seeks independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan, took responsibility. While it is on America’s list of terrorist organizations and is formally banned in Pakistan, the group has been protected and armed by the Pakistani intelligence service.
Last week, India sent warplanes into Pakistan for the first time in five decades. Indian officials said they had struck Jaish-e-Muhammad’s “biggest training camp” and killed a “very large number” of militants, although those claims have been called into doubt. Pakistan counterattacked, leading to a dogfight in which at least one Indian jet was shot down and a pilot was captured by the Pakistanis.
The situation could have easily escalated, given that the two countries have fought three wars over 70 years, maintain a near-constant state of military readiness along their border and have little formal government-to-government dialogue.


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Adding to the volatility, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is waging a tough re-election campaign in which he has used anti-Pakistan talk to fuel Hindu nationalism.
With Pakistan’s Army most likely shaken by the Indian raid and unwilling to slide into protracted conflict, Prime Minister Imran Khan returned the pilot to India, in what was seen as a good-will gesture, called for talks and promised an investigation into the bombing. Mr. Modi took the opportunity to back off further escalation.
The next confrontation might not end so calmly.
Pakistan has never seriously cracked down on militant groups that attack India and the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. In recent days, Pakistani authorities said they detained 44 members of various armed groups, including a brother of Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Muhammad, and planned to seize assets of militants on the United Nations terrorist list. But Pakistan has rarely followed through on such promises.
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Without international pressure, a long-term solution is unlikely, and the threat of nuclear war remains.
China is a major ally and lender to Pakistan, and if it stopped blocking moves in the United Nations Security Council to add Mr. Azhar to the United Nations terrorist list, it would signal to Pakistan that it has to curb the militant groups.
While the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations aggressively worked to ensure that India-Pakistan confrontations in 1999, 2002 and 2008 did not spiral out of control, the Trump administration has done little but issue a few statements urging restraint. It’s hard to see a role as a mediator for Mr. Trump, who has shifted the United States more firmly against Pakistan and toward India, where he has pursued business interests.
But the United States needs to get involved. It could help India strengthen its counterterrorism capabilities to prevent future attacks, and it could encourage India to modify its approach to those opposing its rule in Kashmir, which the United Nations and other groups say involves widespread human rights abuses that simply spawn more militants. And while it’s good when India and Pakistan decide to walk back from the brink, as they seem to be doing now, the United States should be ready to assist if they cannot.
A solution to a conflict that touches so many religious and nationalist nerves must ultimately come from within, through talks among India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. It’s a long shot, and the protagonists have shown no serious interest, but that’s the reality nonetheless.
The two countries have crossed into dangerous territory, with India attacking Pakistan and engaging in aerial duels. The next confrontation, or the one after that, could be far more unthinkable.
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Paul Krugman did explanatory journalism before it was cool, moving from a career as a world-class economist to writing hard-hitting opinion columns.



https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/world/asia/pakistan-terrorism-blacklist-sanctions.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
 
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Asia & Pacific

India strikes Pakistan in severe escalation of tensions between nuclear rivals














Muhammad Luthfan Fadhli, who is 19 and originally from Indonesia, recalled his time inside the mosque where a shooter unleashed gunfire on March 15. (Blair Guild/The Washington Post)


By Joanna Slater
February 26

[UPDATE: Pakistan shoots down two Indian aircraft in its airspace, captures pilot]

NEW DELHI — An airstrike launched by India on a target within Pakistan marks the most serious escalation in hostilities between the two nuclear-armed neighbors in decades and risks triggering a cycle of retaliation.

Early Tuesday, India sent fighter jets across the Line of Control, the unofficial border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, for the first time since 1971. The planes dropped bombs outside the town of Balakot, about 40 miles into Pakistani territory.

Pakistan said the strike hit an unpopulated wooded area, but India said the location was the site of a training camp used by Jaish-e-Muhammad, a Pakistan-based militant group that is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Jaish-e-Muhammad asserted responsibility for an attack on Feb. 14 that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. The attack was the deadliest in three decades of insurgency against Indian rule, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to respond.

[A history of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan]


The Pakistani village Balakot, pictured on Tuesday, the day an airstrike launched by India hit nearby. (Aqeel Ahmed/AP)

In the wake of Tuesday’s strike, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called an emergency meeting of top security and government officials. “India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing,” the group said in a statement released after the meeting.

It remains unclear whether the current clash will intensify. India emphasized that it had not struck any Pakistani military targets and called the strike a “preemptive action” specifically aimed at countering Jaish-e-Muhammad.

India’s strike reflects its deep frustration with its neighbor, which it has accused of sheltering and sponsoring militants, something Pakistan denies. The operation also came just weeks before national elections in India, where Modi — a hawk on matters of national security — is seeking a second term.

The relationship between the two rivals is nearly always tense. India and Pakistan often trade artillery fire across the Line of Control in Kashmir, the Himalayan region they both claim. India also says that it has carried out commando raids just over the border, most recently in 2016.

But India has not launched fighter jets across the Line of Control since it fought a war with its neighbor in 1971, experts said. The last time tensions were this high between the two countries was in 1999, when they clashed in a brief but intense conflict on a high-altitude battleground in the Kargil area of Kashmir.



For India, Tuesday’s strike represents “a significant departure from an earlier kind of restraint,” said C. Uday Bhaskar, a security expert and former Indian naval officer. The use of air power in a cross-border operation means that India is prepared to risk “possible escalation” by Pakistan, he said.

The United States has backed India in its quest to respond to the Feb. 14 attack. Two days after the suicide bombing, John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, said the United States supported “India’s right to self-defense.”

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his counterparts in India and Pakistan. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, told Pompeo that India had committed “an act of aggression” that could affect peace talks in Afghanistan, ostensibly because Pakistan’s focus would be elsewhere.

As tensions flared, India and Pakistan presented vastly differing pictures of what occurred in Tuesday’s strike. According to Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for Pakistan’s armed forces, the Indian fighter jets released their payload “in haste while escaping” from Pakistani aircraft.

The strike caused neither casualties nor damage, Ghafoor said. He posted a photo of what he said was debris from the strike and stated that the bombs had fallen “in the open.” Pakistan also denied that India had struck a militant training camp.

By contrast, India’s foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, told reporters that the strike “eliminated” a “large number” of militants at a Jaish-e-Muhammad training camp. He said the operation was based on “credible intelligence” that the group was planning more attacks.

The strike took place near the town of Balakot, just inside the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and not in the disputed Kashmir region. Initial reports from local police officials and residents who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that a strike took place in a mountainous area a few miles outside town, but they said they saw no signs of mass casualties.

Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow at Brookings India, said the Balakot area has been a center of activity for militant groups such as Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group India holds responsible for a 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting militants who fight against Indian rule in Kashmir and launch attacks elsewhere in India. Pakistan rejects such charges, but its intelligence services have long-standing links to such militant groups.

The Feb. 14 attack in Kashmir came as India prepared for national elections this spring. At a rally Tuesday afternoon, Modi did not refer to the strike directly. “Today, I sense a fervor in the crowd,” he said to loud cheers. “The country is in safe hands.”

Passions were running high in both countries. In Pakistan, the media portrayed the strike as a political stunt by Modi ahead of the upcoming national polls. Television channels repeatedly showed images of knocked-over trees and upturned earth shared by the Pakistani military to bolster their claim that nothing of significance was targeted.

“This action has been done for domestic consumption in an election environment, putting regional peace and stability at grave risk,” said a statement from the committee of Pakistan’s top security and diplomatic officials after their meeting Tuesday.

By Tuesday evening, Indian and Pakistani troops were exchanging mortar fire along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Riyaz Ahmad Khan, who lives in a village on the Indian side of the heavily militarized border, said it was one of the most intense bouts of shelling he had ever witnessed. An Indian army spokesman confirmed mortar fire along the Line of Control but said there were no civilian or military deaths.

In recent days, residents of Indian-controlled Kashmir stockpiled gas and groceries as they feared a possible outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan. Ayaz Khan, 55, who lives very close to the Line of Control in the district of Poonch, said residents of border areas bear the brunt of the animosity between the two countries. Families such as his are “scared for our lives,” he said.

Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad, Pakistan; Haq Nawaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan; and Ishfaq Naseem in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.

Read more:

Modi vows action after dozens die in deadliest attack on India in Kashmir

Indian-Pakistani relations were getting warmer — until the release of a postage stamp

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

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Nuclear-armed India & Pakistan vowed missile strikes during Kashmir standoff – report
Published time: 17 Mar, 2019 09:02
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India's Agni V missile during test launch © Defence Research and Development Organisation / Reuters; Pakistani Shaheen 1A missile © Inter Services Public Relations / AFP
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The latest India-Pakistan standoff over Kashmir was limited to a few aerial skirmishes and cross-border shelling, but the two nuclear powers were tempted to use their missile arsenals at one point, according to a media report.
At the height of the renewed hostilities in the contested Kashmir region, New Delhi threatened to launch its missiles at Pakistan, while Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes three times over,” Reuters reported, citing Western diplomats, as well as Pakistani, Indian, and American government sources.
Read more
WATCH: India tests guided rocket artillery system as Pakistan rolls out ‘smart weapon’

In February, Pakistani-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed bombed an Indian Army convoy, killing dozens of troops. India responded with airstrikes targeting the group’s hideouts in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir, triggering retaliatory strikes and a series of dogfights in which an Indian pilot was shot down and captured by Pakistan.
As tensions mounted, India vowed to fire six missiles on specific targets inside Pakistan. That intention was separately confirmed by a Pakistani minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad.
Predictably, Pakistan said it would counter any missile attacks with many more launches. “We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” an unnamed Pakistani minister told Reuters.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inadvertently confirmed that the worst-case scenario could have played out. “I know last night there was a threat there could be a missile attack on Pakistan, which got defused,” Khan told the parliament in late February. “I know our army stood prepared for retaliation of that attack.”
READ MORE: Who would win? India has army advantage over Pakistan, but nuclear stocks assure mutual destruction
Reuters’ sources said the release of the downed Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, helped ease the growing animosity between the arch-rivals. However, there were sporadic artillery duels in late February and early March, in which several civilians were killed on both sides of the border.
India has a sizeable strategic force with short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles able to hit any location in Pakistan. Likewise, the Pakistani military has an array of rockets enabling retaliatory strikes if all-out war breaks out.

Two weeks on, both nuclear powers continue to flex their military muscle. Earlier this week, India showcased the Pinaka Mk II, the newest version of a guided rocket artillery system. The Indian test coincided with Pakistan showing off a new domestically developed extended-range air-to-surface projectile mounted on a JF-17 Thunder, a Chinese-Pakistani fighter jet.
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