Pakistan, India could slip into nuclear war, top expert warns as occupied Kashmir boils


WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (APP) A prominent political scientist and an expert on Pakistan and India has warned that the two countries could skid into a nuclear war that would be disastrous for them, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

” It could happen, and it would be catastrophic for both countries,” the report quoted Stephen P. Cohen, the author of ” Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum” as saying. Tension is on the rise in the valley since July when Indian security forces killed a young Kashmiri freedom fighter whose call for freedom on the social media has resonated with the Kashmiri youth disgruntled over the Indian occupation and ceaseless brutalities.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday made a strong case for Kashmir in the UN General Assembly, many saw as the boldest presentation thus far that alluded to the grave consequences if the issue was not resolved in line with the aspiration of the Kashmiri people.

He made it clear that peace and normalization between Pakistan and India was not possible without the resolution of the long-standing dispute.

The NYT report said that the escalating tension was presenting a challenge to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who needs regional peace to achieve his avowed goal of economic revival in his country.

The report quoted Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Indian-held Kashmir as saying that relative calm since 2010 in the valley led the Indian government to believe that the long-running unrest was over. But, according to the report, there were “warning signs” the unrest among young people was rising which eventually came to fore with a vigorous force after the killing of the young Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani in early July.

More than 100 people have been killed in protests over his death that now have turned into a strong voice for freedom from the Indian yoke. Thousands others are at the risk of losing their eyesight after Indian troops used pallet guns directly at protesters.

“Wani should have served as an alarm bell for the government system,” the report quoted Siddharth Varadrajan, a former editor in chief of the prominent Indian English newspaper daily The Hindu.

“Why would a young man, instead of taking up engineering, adopt a course that any reasonable person would tell him would end up in death?”

“Now the India-controlled section of Kashmir is engulfed in a crisis. Since the shooting, the Indian-controlled area has been shut down, with curfews and strikes forcing the closing of schools, offices and markets,” the report added.