Report states there are minimal chances of general war between India and Pakistan but the crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle
The prospects of striking a peace deal in Afghanistan during the next year remain dim: report
Fahad Zulfikar Updated 16 Apr 2021
(Karachi) India is more likely to respond with military force to “perceived or real” provocations from Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a report released by US intelligence revealed.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in its Annual Threat Assessment report to the US Congress, stated that there are minimal chances of general war between arch-rivals, India and Pakistan. However, the crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle.
The report said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations, and heightened tensions raise the risk of conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints.”
The ODNI report transpired that tensions between the two nuclear states are a concern for the world.
It stated that the fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, violence between Israel and Iran, the activity of foreign powers in Libya, and conflicts in other areas including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have the potential to escalate or spread.
About the Afghan peace process, the report assessed that the prospects of striking a peace deal during the next year remain dim.
“The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan Government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support. Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory, it said.
“Afghan forces continue to secure major cities and other government strongholds, but they remain tied down in defensive missions and have struggled to hold recaptured territory or reestablish a presence in areas abandoned in 2020,” the report highlighted.
Regarding Iran’s role in Afghanistan, the report said: “Iran will hedge its bets in Afghanistan.” It added that Iran publicly backs Afghan peace talks, but it is worried about a long-term US presence in Afghanistan. As a result, “Iran is building ties with both the government in Kabul and the Taliban so it can take advantage of any political outcome,” the report mentioned.