The most dangerous place in the world right now is not in the Middle East or Russia, but rather the Indian Subcontinent. The nuclear armed countries of India and Pakistan are divided by a border spanning thousands of kilometers, and guarded by tens of thousands of soldiers. While in most places this border is well defined, at its most dangerous point, in the mountainous region of Kashmir, it is highly disputed between the two countries, and the scene of numerous clashes. The latest manifestation of this tension was an attack just yesterday on Indian troops inside an artillery outpost in the ‘Uri’ sector of the border. According to information released by the Indian military, at least 6 militants cut through the fence surrounding the outpost and then proceeded to open fire on the soldiers within the compound. After a lengthy firefight involving machine guns and RPGs, the militants were eliminated, however 10 Indian soldiers were also left dead.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) December 5, 2014
Concurrently, militants also launched 3 other attacks in the area, including a grenade attack which killed 2 civilians. While the exact nature of the militants are unknown, the area has a long history of terror attacks by Islamic militant groups which are accused by the Indian government of being backed by Pakistan.
Indeed the Indian media has been reporting that the fighters involved in yesterday’s attack were found to have food, information and munitions on their person which had clearly originated in Pakistan. Speaking on this issue, Reuters quoted the Home Minister Rajnath Singh as saying: “These terrorists keep coming from Pakistan, [...] Pakistan should make an effort to stop them."
— Military Studies (@ArmedResearch) December 5, 2014
Given this, the attack on the Indian military which resulted in the army’s largest personnel losses for 6 years, is sure to ratchet up tensions between the nuclear-armed states. Over the past year cross border incidents have killed tens of people, with one particularly bad incident in October killing at least 15 people over a 3 day period. In addition to this, a massive bombing on the Pakistani side of the border at Wagah last month killed 60 people, and left countless more injured.
Clearly, there is a trend towards increasing escalation along the India/Pakistan border. With new politicians on either side not willing to compromise in terms of security, all that the region needs is single incident which could throw both sides into an escalating series of reprisals leading to all-out war. While the world’s attention is distracted by events in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, the most dangerous place in the world, isn't getting safer...