The reality of the India-Pakistan conflict


 

A daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border. Source: Al Jazeera

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the years since India became independent from the UK in 1947 in order to decide wether Kashmir should be part of one country or another. The tension between them hasn’t disappeared, but increased, leading to some violent events in the past months. The latest news are the expulsion of diplomats from both countries, who were accused of espionage and terrorism, and the murder of over ten Indian soldiers in Pakistani territories.

Since both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons, even thought they are not allowed to, the conflict becomes more dangerous and definitely relevant for the international community. If any of them shot a missile, the other one would answer with the same move to defend itself, starting a nuclear war with devastating consequences. Nuclear pollution doesn’t understand about borders among states, therefore this would be a global issue. The sequels could be noticed right away or even years after the detonation, leaving a huge environmental impact behind and causing diseases among humans. The world couldn’t handle this chaos since we are already dealing with the worst climate situation ever. Plenty of lives would be lost behind, and a global lack of order would appear because of the fear. Furthermore, states would need a huge amount of money in order to repair the damage of infrastructures and to pay the medical care of the injured. The world isn’t and will never be prepared for a nuclear war, so we need to avoid any kind of issue that could lead into this tragic end, always regarding at the worst-case scenario.

Furthermore we feel that the global community should intervene in the conflict because the region has become a nest for terrorist groups. The various Muslim extremist groups active in the area have united under the name Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent in 2014. We saw in 2001 what Al-Qaeda is capable of doing, and the terrorist attacks have not stopped since then. These organizations don’t vanish without action. The phrase “the world is in war with terrorism” is what you hear so often these days. To the leaders who have inserted these words in their speeches we would like to say: put your money where your mouth is.

Next to the international threats because of this conflict, the governments also affect the local people of the region. Since the beginning of November, the conflict has escalated once again and innocent locals find themselves in a warzone where daily casualties are nothing special anymore. On both sides the number of victims has dramatically increased and therefore a lot of people are on the edge of leaving the region. According to local officials the number of refugees could reach an astonishing amount of 500.000 when the shelling continues on such a large scale. It is obvious that both governments value the region a lot, but shouldn’t they be more worried with the well-being of their own citizens? One of the people who fled from his house is Hussain; “Like thousands of others, I’m lying here under the open sky with five children and my wife, with no arrangements for food and shelter.” “At least we don’t have to fear being killed by the constant Indian shelling.”

In conclusion, we think that the international community needs to take part on this conflict since it is already affecting innocent people and it is located in such a hot spot for international relations. If it all got worse somehow it would be terrible for every single state in the globe and we couldn’t probably recover from it. An issue as big as this one should be world-known and should really concern people, but media doesn’t seem to give it the importance it actually has. It might be a political strategy to keep the public’s eyes somewhere else, but it could also be a huge mistake to think it is an internal conflict that has nothing to do with the international community.

Carla Martín, Felix van Broeck, Philippe Felix, Sajeda Massoud

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