Hawaii’s ballistic missile attack on Saturday turned out to be nothing more than fat-fingered "fake news" by State officials. However, a far more significant threat of nuclear war is growing on the border between India and Pakistan, called the Line of Control (LoC), which continues to be generally ignored by Western media outlets.
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said Friday his military was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and carry out aggressive military operations across the border.
"We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff," Gen. Rawat warned, responding to a question during a press conference on the “possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear weapons in case the situation along the border deteriorates,” said the Hindustan Times.
On Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif unleashed a Tweetstorm denouncing Rawat’s comments as “very irresponsible. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”
“Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief,not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter.If that is what they desire,they are welcome to test our resolve.The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) January 13, 2018
“The threatening and irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief today is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability,” he tweeted.
“These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on miscalculation. Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself,” he added.
The spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office Mohammad Faisal also criticised Gen. Rawat’s comments as very “irresponsible.” Further, the Pakistani army said its nuclear weapons have deterred India from launching another full-scale conventional war, as both nuclear superpowers are playing chicken.
Escalating the war of words, Pakistan army spokesman Asif Ghafoor said on state-run television, “should they wish to test our resolve, they may try and see it for themselves. We have a credible nuclear capability, exclusively meant for threat from east. But we believe it’s a weapon of deterrence, not a choice.”
The Line of Control (LoC) refers to a heavily militarized zone in Jammu and Kashmir, in which it splits some of the India-Pakistani border. In 2017 alone, the Indian Army killed 138 Pakistani troops in tactical and retaliatory operations along the LoC. In the same period, 28 Indian soldiers perished. In late December, we reported on an intense battle between Indian and Pakistani forces leaving 4 Indian troops dead, where it was believed that Pakistan was the aggressor.
Both countries have a long history of skirmishes on the LoC, and have even fought multiple wars on the border since India gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947. And as the beat of nuclear war gets louder between India and Pakistan, the LoC is one region which should be carefully monitored as conditions continue to deteriorate in 2018.