Indo-Pakistan tensions from a Sri Lankan perspective - EDITORIAL

1 March 2019 03:13 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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he Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) showed its grave concerns about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan and called for the two neighbouring nations to act in a manner that ensures security, peace and stability in the entire region. 
The strikes by the Indian Air Force on a so-called terrorist camp in Pakistan days ago highlight the Indian Government’s readiness to showcase its military power in the Asian region and also its unhappiness about its neighbour doing little or nothing to curb terrorism in the Asian region. 
Pakistan has denied the existence of a terrorist camp in the area selected for the airstrikes; Balakot. 
From an Indian perspective the strike is her response to the attack carried out by the terrorist outfit which operates under the name Jaish-e-Mohamed. The Pakistan based terrorist group took responsibility for the attack carried out in the Indian control Kashmir Border where as many as 40 security guards perished due to triggering off of a suicide bomb. Pakistan attracted severe international criticism following the bombing incident. 


However the Government of Pakistan can gain some respite from the fact that it took a decision in 2004 not to allow it soil or territory to be used for terrorist attacks against India. 
But its nuclear neighbour had continued to echo the fact that Pakistan has done nothing to combat terrorist activities inside its country. 
India has more or less celebrated infiltrating Pakistan’s airspace and carrying out the attacks. Pakistan on the other hand has aired its concerns over the conflict and shown the will to engage in talks with India; the aggressor in this series of attacks. Pakistan too claims having carried out air attacks inside India’s airspace. 
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has wisely said that if there are miscalculations in the event both nations decide to use weapons in their possession there could be little or no control thereafter. Khan has affirmed that both nations-armed with nuclear weapons- can’t afford to engage in a war in this region. 


It was only days ago that members of the European Parliament urged India to put on hold all atrocities in the Kashmir region. 
Critics point out that India has been engaging in acts of aggression at whatever pretext they wish on any given day for the past few years. 
On the other hand Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to gain the upper hand in these altercations with Pakistan given that his party is gearing for elections. But it’s wellknown that Modi’s thinking would not support a full scale war between the two nations which could destabilize the region. 
Right now the altercations between the two nations have given an opportunity to them to showcase their airpower. The Times of India however reports that India has more jet squadrons than Pakistan, but about one third of the jets in the Indian squadron stay under repair or maintenance at any given time. 


The ongoing tensions have caused ripples in the region with Pakistan going to the extend of shutting off its airspace temporarily. Sri Lanka too has felt the pinch as a result of the tensions and was forced to cancel flights by its national carrier to Karachi and Lahore. 
From a Sri Lankan perspective it might have some bias towards India because of the latter’s claim that it’s air strikes targeted a terrorist location. Given that Sri Lanka finished off a three-decade old civil war against terrorist rebels it could see Pakistan having the potential to house terrorists. Hence Colombo making its call clear in condemning the terror attack in Pulwama district in Jammu, Kashmir in India, in February this year. 
Given that India is now Sri Lanka’s business partner, Colombo would most likely side with the decisions taken by the Modi Government in this conflict, even if Pakistan suffers outwardly or in silence. 

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