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India's Navy Chief: Kashmir Airstrike Will Change Pakistan's Behaviour

Sputnik News

09:49 28.05.2019(updated 09:52 28.05.2019)

The former princely state has been at the heart of India-Pakistan animosity for decades. In February, the age-old conflict flared up once again following an Indian air raid on a suspected terror camp within Pakistani territory.

India's military believes that the February air raid inside Pakistan, which brought the two arch-foes close to the brink of a large-scale armed conflict, will force Islamabad to change its attitude toward cross-border terrorism.

"India's pro-active action (the air strikes) has changed the discourse and dialogue vis-à-vis Pakistan," Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff and head of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, said in an interview with The Times of India.

While Indian jets hitting alleged terrorist facilities in the first air raid across the line of control since 1971, the Navy "forward deployed" its warships and subs in the north Arabian Sea, which washes the southern shore of Pakistan, to deter and defeat any "misadventure" by Islamabad, the Navy chief said.

"It successfully worked," he was quoted as saying.

On 26 May, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan phoned Narendra Modi, who had earlier secured another five-year term as India's prime minister, and stressed the importance of creating trust and building an environment free of violence in the region.

Islamabad and Delhi have managed to keep tension under control, with speculation floating around that Khan is looking to appoint a national security adviser to revive backchannel diplomacy with New Delhi and pave the way for peace talks.

The most recent spike in tensions occurred in February, after India bombed a purported terror camp inside Pakistan on 26 February. It was the first time Indian jets had conducted an air raid across the Line of Control since it was established.

New Delhi stated that the strike targeted facilities belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based jihadist terror group responsible for the 14 February suicide bombing in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, which killed 44 Indian paramilitary police.

Jaish-e-Mohammad is also suspected of being behind an airbase attack in northwest India in January 2016, which left three servicemen dead.

Pakistan's military claimed that India had missed the target and bombed an abandoned wooded hilltop area, but New Delhi was quick to rebuff those allegations.

Pakistan retaliated by shooting down an Indian warplane in an aerial dogfight above Kashmir, and capturing a pilot who was subsequently released.

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since the very beginning of their existence as independent states. Both nuclear-armed rivals claim Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, and have fought three wars over it: in 1947, 1965 and in 1999 (the war of 1971 occurred during the liberation war in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh).

As things stand now, Indian- and Pakistani-administered parts of Kashmir are divided by the Line of Control, agreed to in 1972, which is not internationally recognised but serves as the de-facto border.


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